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review 2018-07-19 23:01
Review: The Girl They Both Loved by Francine Pascal
The Girl They Both Loved - Kate William,Francine Pascal

When April's boyfriend Michael becomes obsessed with trying to beat his former best friend Artie in a dirt bike race, April vows to find out what tore the two former friends apart. She must bring them together again--before the feud leads to tragedy. (from Goodreads)


Series: 80 in Sweet Valley High

Rating: 3 stars


This title is kinda wrong. It fits in with the reason, but not the actual plot. 


This book follows new character April Dawson, a female dirt-biker, as she battles her boyfriend Michael Harris' (yes that Michael), dirt-bike obsession. He never wants to do anything else. Instead of dates, he wants to stay and fix both his bike's and April's bike brakes and gears... Constantly. He's also fixated on beating his ex-best friend, Artie. The Michael's grandmother gets sick, which is the end of the world. Not because he cares about his grandmother, no because it means he has to miss a race. That is more like training then an actual race. Because he won't be able to beat Artie. Yeah, I'm starting to understand why Michael's engagement to Maria Santelli never worked out.


Michael leaves and April goes to this movie festival (Stars Hollow flashbacks) she asked Michael to go with her to (which he said no to in order to check her brakes) alone. And who does she meet there? Artie. (If you guessed Burn Gorman, if only...)


They start talking, watch the movie together, and everything is set up so you think that they're going to start to like each other. But literally nothing comes of it. They go for pizza, Artie brings up Michael, then avoids all topics of Michael and his feud. 


Michael comes back, then Artie and April meet up again at the same movie festival while Michael is babysitting his little sister and April gets the full story: They both like a girl (hence the title), they raced to see who was the better dude, Michael got injured, became convinced that Artie somehow sabotaged him. And neither of them got the girl because she was at the races to watch her boyfriend.


Artie drives April home, where Michael is waiting and blows up, challenging Artie to yet another race, where this time Artie gets hurt. April refuses to speak to Michael, starts mothering Artie in the hospital. Michael brings Artie food from the Dairi Burger, they talk make up, and Michael offers to give up dirt-biking because of his dumb decisions. Artie tells me what a stupid idea that is and tells him to race for the two of them the next day. He does. His partner, Roy, turns out to be April in disguise. The three of them live happily ever after.


Subplot 1: features Jessica as she gets into the world of dirt-biking. Not the racing, just the cheering on, watching part of it. She meets a gorgeous boy named Sam Woodruff (who I've read about in other books when I was a kid so it should be interesting to read his full storyline). She tries to hide the fact that he's a dirt-biker from her parents because of what happened to Elizabeth 74 books before (I did the math, it's been that long). Her parents meet Sam when he comes over when she's not home. The Wakefields love him! Jessica is not punished for lying.


Subplot 2: features Elizabeth as she becomes feisty feminist yet again (I'm loving this) and challenges Todd to a battle of the sexes. She gives him three tasks that are stereotypically female (grocery shopping, sewing an apron and cooking dinner, including chocolate chip cookies) while he gives her three stereotypically male tasks (changing a tire, putting up a shelf, changing a faucet). Both fail, everyone's happy.


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-17 03:18
Review: The Long-Lost Brother - Francine Pascal
The Long-Lost Brother - Kate William,Francine Pascal

Looks can be deceiving ...

It's no secret that pretty, popular Sara Eastborne has a twin brother named Tim. Sara had told her friends at Sweet Valley High that Tim chose to live with their father on the East Coast when their parents were divorced. But she didn't tell them that Tim was in reform school!

Now Tim's out of reform school and ready to start a new life in Sweet Valley with Sara and their mother. Sara desperately wants Tim to keep his criminal past a secret. When Tim becomes friends with Elizabeth Wakefield and starts dating Sara's best friend, Amanda Hayes, Sara is afraid that the truth will come out and her social life at Sweet Valley High will be ruined.

Tim has betrayed her before, and she isn't going to let him do it again, no matter what. (from Goodreads)


Get ready for some rage reviewing. 


I had a lot of issues with this book, all of them named Sara Eastborne. When a book is literally based around the shame of a family member and that character's stubbornness to not let go of it, it bothers me. A lot.


The Long-Lost Brother follows Sara as she struggles with her brother Tim's arrival in Sweet Valley, and the fear that everyone will learn about his past of drinking, drugs and stealing a car.


She's also struggling with an egotistical lovechild of Bruce Patman and Scott Trost named Bob Hillman. He's her boyfriend. For some reason she thinks it's a really good idea to date him, even though he's openly a jerk, openly flirts with other girls, and treats her as if she were created to be a puppet under his control. All in all, my least favourite type of person.


Sara is shocked that Tim wants to tell people about his past, because how dare he ruin everything she has worked so dang hard to establish. And then everyone finds out when a van is stolen and he's arrested yet again. This book relies on way too many coincidences. Honestly, it's worse than Captain America: Civil War.


At the end of the book, Bob and Sara breakup, Amanda (Sara's best friend and Tim's crush) stops talking to both of them only to start talking to them again and send Tim home covered in her lipstick... Elizabeth Wakefield acts as everyone's best friend and is the only person who doesn't hate Sara. Sara decides she's happy being single and with her family just the way it is.


There are two subplots in this one, the main focusing on Elizabeth Wakefield as she writes an article based on the shelter for abused women and children and all the meetings that can go with it, like AA. There it ties into the main plot, where she meets Tim and is able to get Sara to go to a meeting for teen family members. 


The second subplot is featured around Jessica Wakefield, who is 100% done with her duties as Miss Teen Sweet Valley, as she keeps having to turn down dates. She coerces Elizabeth to take her place so she can have fun, because Jessica never has to deal with consequences. 


The set up for the next book features April and her boyfriend Mike as they prepare for a dirt bike race. 


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review 2018-07-16 22:02
Review: The Dating Game by Francine Pascal
The Dating Game - Kate Williams,Francine Pascal

Neither Jean West nor her friend Claire Middleton has had a date in ages. So when they each receive a passionate love letter, they're thrilled. But when the girls compare the letters, they discover something horrible: The letters come from the same guy-Scott Trost! Jean and Claire confront the handsome, arrogant Scott. Instead of apologizing, he suggests a dating contest with him as a grand prize.
Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Jean and Claire agree to the outrageous plan; her twin sister, Jessica, sees nothing wrong with a little romantic competition. But what neither Elizabeth nor Jessica knows is that their friends are secretly plotting to use the contest for revenge. Everything goes as planned, until the unthinkable happens. It looks as if Jean is falling in love with the enemy. (from Goodreads)


I wanted to review this yesterday, but it wasn't on BookLikes. Now that I have found my secret superpower (that all of you also share, so whatever) you will be spammed with even more reviews!



Okay, so this book was based around the characters of Claire Middleton, who was the first female in Sweet Valley High history to try out for the football team, and Jean West, a cheerleader. Claire has never had a date while at Sweet Valley High (she's a new student so it's not that big of a deal) and Jean, according to the summary, hasn't had a date in ten years when in reality she literally just broke up with her boyfriend like 4 books ago. 

Any who, Claire and Jean both receive love letters from the same dude, but we only follow Jean's perspective (I don't think the ghostwriters know how to write Claire, because if my memory serves me correctly (which isn't the greatest but whatever) I don't think we got a point of view from her in her book). 


Claire and Jean compare letters and realize that one of the quarterbacks, Scott Trost, has sent them both. They confront him and he sets up a game, he takes them both on a series of dates and chooses his date to the upcoming dance the day before in front of the entire cafeteria. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), Jean and Claire accept. There's only one problem: Jean has fallen for Scott, and fallen hard.


The rest of the book is her dealing with her feelings, battled with Scott's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities, where he's a sweetheart with her and a jerk with his friends. Scott chooses Jean. Jean rejects him. Scott apologizes (*gasp*) and they go to the dance and live happily ever after.


The subplot featured Jessica's obsession with dreams where she's convinced that The One for her is a dude named Jackson who lives in Hawaii. She becomes a dream interpreter and ruins a couple of lives, only to realize that her honey bunny Jackson was a model in a travel magazine she was looking at for her English project.


The set up for the next book features new character Sara, as she struggles with the pain of memories of her twin brother, Tim. 


This book wasn't terrible, by Sweet Valley High standards. I feel like I say that a lot, but there are a lot of books where I want to kill Jessica or something, but I didn't feel that way toward anyway except for Scott and that was my inner feminist speaking. It normally feels that way.


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review 2018-07-16 18:35
The Secret Life of Violet Grant - Beatriz Williams

This book was everything I didn't realise I was looking for, and more! Totally blew me away. The style, the plot, the end, everything. I know I'm gushing a bit but I really loved how Vivian's story was told and how Violet's played out beside hers. Can't recommend this enough.

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review 2018-07-15 01:54
Take it on vacation...good beach read.
The Summer Wives - Beatriz Williams

The Summer Wives, Beatriz Williams, author; Kristin Kalbli, narrator

In 1930, on Winthrop Island, off the coast of CT, Bianco Madeiro and Hugh Fisher fall in love and have a secret affair. Both are in their teens. Both swear their eternal love for each other, but there is a catch, Hugh is from the upper class and is about to be married to Abigail, a young woman also from the upper crust. Bianca happens to be an orphan. She is being raised by her working class, shopkeeper aunt and uncle. Their worlds do not intersect. Bianca thinks that Hugh loves her enough to give up Abigail, but when he tells her about his impending marriage, and the way things simply are, she realizes he will jilt her. However, he loves her and wants her to remain his mistress forever. She does not tell him that she is pregnant, and instead, she makes a play for her sister Francesca’s betrothed and steals him away from her. They wed soon after, so her son will be legitimate. When he is born, she gives him her husband’s name, Vargas, not Fisher, which is his father’s name. On the night she delivers her son, her sister Francesca drowns in a tragic accident, on the way to see her. Because of what she has done to her sister, she is blamed and rejected by everyone. She and her husband Pascal Vargas, move into the lighthouse where he is the new light-keeper. He is also a lobsterman. Although she has trapped him, he loves her enough not to care at all about being isolated or rejected. After all, he, too, has betrayed her sister Francesca. He is a homely, but hard-working man. He raises Joseph as his own.

In 1951, Miranda Schuyler travels to Winthrop Island for her mother’s marriage to Hugh Fisher, at his estate called Greyfriars. He and his first wife Abigail have divorced. Miranda’s father died during WWII. He was motivated to volunteer to serve because of what was happening to works of art under Hitler’s rule, and was killed at sea. When Miranda arrives at the island, she meets her stepsister, Isobel, and they bond immediately, although Isobel is a bit of a snob who is very comfortable with her wealth and very aware of the differences between the classes. She schools Miranda in all the ways the rich are different.  

One morning, while looking out the window, Miranda witnesses a near drowning. A young man jumps into the water and saves an old man. That young man was Bianca’s son, Joseph Vargas. Miranda does not know Joseph’s history, nor does she know that her mother was about to be married to the man who fathered Joseph. It has been a well kept secret. She does not know that Isobel, her stepsister, is also Joseph’s half sister.

Suddenly, after her mother returns from her honeymoon, death comes to Greyfriars. Miranda’s involvement in the tragedy causes her to be rejected by her family and the community. The people on Winthrop Island are very insular, and they close ranks against her. Isobel’s mother Abigail, however, takes Miranda to Europe to escape, where she remains for almost two decades.

In 1969, Miranda, now Miranda Thomas and a famous actress, leaves Europe and her husband. With nowhere else to hide, she returns to Winthrop Island. She had been in a terrible accident, and she was pregnant at the time. She was severely injured and lost the child in her womb. She blames her husband who was angry that night and was driving although he was quite drunk. He was abusive when his “demons” possessed him. When the reader learns that Joseph has been in prison for murder for the past 18 years and has recently escaped; the coincidence of Miranda’s return at the same time will not be lost. It seems that Joseph’s mother, is quite alone and very ill. She refuses medical treatment and also refuses to cooperate with the authorities who are searching for Joseph. None of the islanders will help them either, in fact. As Isobel states, they protect their own. They all have their secrets and have all made foolish choices for which they must repent. In this, the classes unite.

If you are looking for a beach read that is a bit mindless, a bit repetitive, but also fast moving, this is a good choice, although the dialogue can be trite sometimes, and the choices many of the characters make seem so foolish, they even defy reality. The action takes place on an island off the coast of CT, loosely based on Fishers Island, New York. It reads, kind of like a fairytale, especially at the end. Most of the characters are flawed and fairly unhappy with their lives, regardless of whether they are upper or lower class. The choices they have made have caused terrible conflicts, some of which can never be resolved happily. The rich seem to lounge around a lot, drink alcohol, and make statements as facts about the way they live that have very little moral value, but explain their shallow beliefs; meanwhile the townspeople labor on and hustle, without the luxury of leisure. They live in separate bubbles.

The times are different and sexual activity of any kind, even kissing, is viewed as forward. Morality has an entirely different meaning than it does today, when it seems like anything goes. Their secrets were well hidden without the gossipy social media informing the world about their behavior. The story jumps from 1930 to 1951 to 1969, and finally to 1970. It is sometimes difficult to tell immediately that the tale has moved on or back. Perhaps a print book would make it more obvious than the audio.

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