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May Wrap Up

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Wonder By R. K. Palacio • The Virgin Suicides By Jeffrey Eugendies • Love Letters to the Dead By Ava Dellaira

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Some Girls Are By Courtney Summers • The Girl in 6E By Alessandra Torre • Yours Truly, Taddy By Avery Aster

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Since You’ve Been Gone By Morgan Matson • Fortunately, the Milk By Neil Gaiman • Wonder: The Julian Chapter By R. J. Palacio

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Model Position By Kitsy Clare • Coin Heist By Elisa Ludwig • We Were Liars By E. Lockhart

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Tease By Amanda Maciel • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan • First Term at Malory Towers By Enid Blyton

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Saga Series Volume 1, 2 & 3 (Issues #1 – #18) By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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Ms. Marvel Volume 3 (Issues #1 – #3) by G. Willow Wilson

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My Little Pony: Friends Forever Volume 1 By Alex de Campi • Black Widow & The Marvel Girls By Paul Tobin • Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art From the Underground By Matthew Chojnacki

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Face Time By S. J. Pajonas • Eric, the Boy Who Lost His Gravity By Jenni Desmond

I received (advanced) review copies of Wonder: The Julian Chapter, Model Position, Coin Heist, Face Time and Alternative Movie Posters: Film Art from the Underground c/o the publishers via Netgalley. I received Eric, the Boy Who Lost His Gravity c/o the publisher via Edelweiss. I received Yours Truly, Taddy c/o the publisher via Xpresso Book Tours.

Yes, really. I really read 25 books in the month of May.
And yes, I am aware there are 31 days in May.

Safe to say May has been the best reading month of my entire life. I don’t know what caused me to read so much all of a sudden, but I think it has to do with the amount of amazing books I read this month. I got quite a bit of books off Netgalley (along with Edelweiss and Xpresso Book Tours) this month and I still have more books off Netgalley I’ve yet to read. They’re taking me a while to read, namely because one of the books put me in a bit of a slump and I tried to read non-review books to de-stress. (Yikes, review books have started to stress me out! Too many, too much?)

I read a good variety of books this month and many were very compelling and some were certainly life changing. I read a lot of graphic novels this month and I’m absolutely loving it. Its really nice to look at pictures after a long day; they are so great for unwinding. Also, how addictive is the Saga series? I hasn’t expected to love them as much as I did. I’m planning to write reviews and/or mini reviews for the graphic novels I’ve read, depending if I have much to say about them. We’ll see.

I’m quite proud of how much I managed to read this month and also for having reviewed almost all of these books! It has been EXTREMELY crazy trying to keep track of what to read next. Yikes! I’ve somewhat recently started scheduling the books I need to read first — I never imagined I’d have to schedule what books I read next. I’m planning to take it easy in June, seeing how my first Uni assignment for the semester is coming up and I’ll be going on vacation somewhere in the middle of June.

I’ve got a lot in store for June, including some book blitz, promotional stuff and projects. Am constantly looking for new projects to participate in, so if you know of anything I should be participating in, do let me know!

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Face Time By S. J. Pajonas

Face Time By S. J Pajonas
Love in the Digital Age #1
Published April 25th 2014 by Onigiri Press

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the Publisher via Netgalley.

Goodreads

Summary: After the best first date ever, Lee thought Laura was funny, intelligent, and impulsive; a whirlwind of bright laughter and happiness. Laura loved Lee’s sweet smile and the way he expertly filled in every awkward pause. He held her hand and then pulled her in for the most perfect kiss she’s had in years. What could possibly be wrong? Just the 7000 miles that separates them the next day.

Even though Lee has gone home to Seoul, Laura can’t stop thinking about him. What starts as an innocent text thanking him for their dinner date becomes something much more: someone either of them can’t live without. But Laura’s got a live-in mother going through a midlife crisis, and Lee’s stressful traveling schedule means they’ll be apart for some time. Life, family, and a complicated past also get in the way, and they’re both going to need actual face time to figure it out.

Told from both Lee and Laura’s point of view, FACE TIME is a funny, romantic, modern-day story about two people who connect across the world.

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Face Time is a little difficult for me to rate. As I’m writing this review I’m leaning towards a three-star rating for the simple fact that I did enjoy the first half of the book. I wanted to like Face Time, and I really tried my best to try and get into it but it just wasn’t for me.

There are two main factors why I couldn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped:
  1. The plot
  2. The repetitiveness of said plot
Face Time was a compelling read at the start. I enjoyed getting to know Laura and Lee and seeing how they tried to make this whole long-distance relationships worked. I’ve been in two, and I found it somewhat relatable and I understood the struggles behind LDRs. I struggled with the plot line, namely because I was expecting different struggles/plot, wherein distance played a part in their relationship and not the difference of culture. I hadn’t expected a vast majority of the plot to be so culture-centric and focused on the struggles of being in an interracial relationship.
Lee is Korean-American, but he acts more American than he is Korean and yet somehow this becomes a spiderweb of problems and drama. To me it felt that Laura was obsessed with the fact that Lee is Korean, and slowly I felt that the relationship was very superficial in that sense. Needless to say, it stopped being cute. I absolutely understand why Lee’s mother behaved the way she does but Laura’s mother, I just don’t understand. She seemed to be kind of a bully and I don’t think I fully grasp why she’s so nasty to her own daughter.
It seemed that to the end, Laura is like an onion. She keeps shedding so many layers of herself and seems to consistently keeps part of herself closed even though she loves him so much. I don’t know, maybe my idea of being in a relationship is to bare your soul to your partner. Is it just me? I’d say my problem lies more with Laura and her seemingly desperate need to fit in into the Korean culture. It’s not a bad thing, but I just wanted her to love herself enough to see that people accept her for who she really is. There isn’t much I can say about Lee. He does come off like a robot sometimes but there’s nothing particular I want to talk about with him.
It became very apparent throughout the book that the problems seem to stem from being of a different culture, making the plot somewhat stagnant and repetitive.
Overall an okay book, but probably not the book I’d recommend to someone.

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First Term at Malory Towers By Enid Blyton

First Term at Malory Towers By Enid Blyton
Malory Towers #1
Published Sept 1st 2006 by Egmont Books (UK) (originally published in 1946)

Goodreads

SummaryDarrell and her friends grow together as they share their school days. There are new students to induct, sporting matches to be won, tempers to control and tricks to play on teachers.

This work presents stories about life at boarding school as readers follow the girls’ lives through 6 years at Malory Towers.

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Oh Malory Towers, how I adore you so.

I’ve grown up reading Enid Blyton, and though I know of the issues when it comes to Blyton’s work I have to say I read Malory Towers without any of that in mind. I’ve never read Malory Towers before growing up, so this was fairly exciting for me. I’m a huge fan of boarding school books so naturally I went into this with a lot of expectations and Blyton delivered.

Malory Towers is a boarding school and it centers around a group of classmates in their first term at Malory Towers. It revolves namely around Darrell, Sally and Gwendoline who are the three new students at the school. They’re later met by other colourful characters such as Alicia, Jane and Mary-Lou.

I really loved the different characters in the book. I thought that the characters were very relatable even now despite it being written in 40’s. There’s a lot of snarky and sharp girls, mean girls, misunderstood girls and ones that are painfully shy.

There is a lot that happens in the first term: cliques, test of friendships, jealousy, revenge and pranks. Darrell and Mary-Lou, specifically were wonderful characters. I liked that Darrell was a strong character but at the same time she recognized her faults and corrected them without anyone asking/telling her to. She was one of the three characters that showed a lot of growth throughout the book. Mary-Lou went from someone lacking in confidence into a very bright character and is stronger than she was before.

Malory Towers is a good book, and having read it for the first time as an adult I can only imagine how useful this would have been in my childhood years. I’m excited to continue reading the series and see what the girls are up to next!

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Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore By Robin Sloan
Published Oct 2nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Goodreads

SummaryA Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

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Mr Penumbra’s is so much fun!

I knew going in that there was going to be a mystery element to the book, but I didn’t expect it to be this much fun. Who knew a bookstore mystery could be so compelling? Mr Penumbra’s is so whimsical and funny. It’s definitely a book that everyone, especially booksellers or bookworms could really enjoy and relate to.

I really enjoyed Clay — he’s a fantastic narrator. He’s funny and charming but most importantly, his friendship with Mr Penumbra is just wonderful. Having once worked for former Googlers, and being quite tech-savy, he’s really quite “modernized” in comparison to Mr Penumbra and the way the bookstore works. Having Clay work in the bookstore really allowed you to see how things have changed in our modern world and the things you could really do with technology.

I loved exploring Google. It was quite fascinating just thinking about the different gadgets they have and its capabilities like the scanning tool, which was really exciting and cool. I also really fell in love with the characters; I think they’re all wonderfully written and it felt that I could really see them existing in our real world.

Mr Penumbra’s is an adult book, but I think its an adult book that can be enjoyed even if you’re slightly younger. As someone who reads predominantly Young Adult, this is a book that isn’t daunting or difficult to get into if you don’t read much Adult fiction. It’s definitely one of those books that everyone can enjoy and appreciate regardless of age.

I devoured this book from cover to cover and I could definitely see myself re-reading this in times to come. I know there is a short companion book to this which follows Penumbra’s journey as a book-lover and how he discovered the 24 hour bookstore. I think it’ll be interesting to read about how this all started and learning more about Penumbra, so I’ll definitely check this book out soon.

Mr Penumbra’s is a must read for everyone who love books!

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May Library Haul

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may library haul:

actors anonymous by james franco • burial rites by hannah kent • juvie by steve watkins • this song will save your life by leila sales • mr penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore by robin sloan • in the woods by tana french

Yes, I went to the library despite having a bunch of books existing left to read but y’know how it is. Right? Right? I’ve been reading a lot of the books I got off Netgalley and its taken a toll on me. I’ve gotten into this state of mind where I worry that the books I got will go unread and unreviewed, so I’ve binged-read them. Hence my trip to the library to just relax and calm myself. They will get read, don’t worry — I’ve gotten some fantastic books (read and reviewed!) off Netgalley this month!

I’m already halfway through Mr Penumbra’s and I am absolutely in love with it right now. I’ve also read a few pages of Juvie but didn’t manage to finish it the last time I check it out of the library. The boyfriend and I almost bought Actors Anonymous at the book sale the last time, but the overwhelming amount of bad reviews made us decide otherwise. Nevertheless, I decided to check it out just to see what I think of it. I’m excited for In The Woods and This Song Will Save Your Life — I’ve heard nothing but good things about both of these books and yes, that is the large print of Burial Rites. Why do I need large print? Who really knows….

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Tease By Amanda Maciel

Tease By Amanda Maciel
Published April 29th 2014 By Balzer + Bray

Goodreads

SummaryFrom debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it’s all Sara Wharton’s fault. At least, that’s what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma’s shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who’s ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she’ll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.

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Tease is a powerful and gripping book that will keep you engaged from the first page.

Tease is so hard to review, and even as I write this I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. The main character, Sara, isn’t a likeable character. She’s horrible, mean and tries too hard to justify her actions. She comes across as a child, ignorant and cruel. But I think that’s the point of Tease. It’s not supposed to be compelling, and it sure doesn’t want you to feel sorry for Sara.

In many ways, Tease is powerful. Perhaps even powerful enough to deter someone from bullying or recognize what they may think is harmful teasing could lead to bigger and more awful consequences.

Tease goes into the mind of a bully, or rather, into the mind of a mean girl who unconsciously bullies. Sara isn’t a mean girl, not really. She’s heavily influenced by her best friend Brielle and she’s desperate to keep up. Sara keeps up with fake appearances and goes to the extent of giving up her virginity just to have a conversation with Brielle.

Tease unravels the harsh reality of bullying. How it affects the families of both the bully and the bullied, how harmful teasing can be. Tease briefly discussed rape and the idea of consent though it was glossed over. There is a lot of slut shaming and victim blaming and it all comes with consequences.

Tease is one of the most powerful and compelling books I’ve read this year. It is so realistic and having it written in Sara’s POV made it even more powerful. I finished the book feeling unsettled, wishing she got more of a punishment but on hindsight, having to live with the regret of what you’ve done to another person is punishment enough.

Compelling, gripping and painful, Tease is a must read.

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We Were Liars By E. Lockhart

We Were Liars By E. Lockhart
Published May 15th 2014 By Hot Key Books

Goodreads

SummaryA beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

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We Were Liars blew me away.

We Were Liars is one of my mot anticipated reads of 2014. And undeniably, it is one that is talked about with such glowing reviews.

We Were Liars is hard to review without giving anything away. You mostly go in blind: the summary doesn’t tell you much and neither does anybody else. And perhaps that element of mystery helped to propell We Were Liars. That, coupled with such beautifully written proses. I am not familiar with Lockhart’s writing, but I have to say that it is so poetic and lyrical it reminded me of Eugendies’ The Virgin Suicides and McNamara’s Lovely, Dark and Deep. I am so drawn in by its writing that it keeps me flipping through pages without me realizing it.

The plot. The plot was so captivating. The air of mystery that was built around our protagonist was excellent. There’s not much that can be said without spoilers, so to avoid that I’ll leave you with this: the narrator really helped to sell the story. There’s something beautiful about the Liars. The characters were different yet complements each other very well.

We Were Liars is just a book that needs to be read to really grasp why it’s so good. There is so much more to it than what the summary suggests. There’s more depth and issues being discussed and they’re executed beautifully. One of the best books of 2014. Highly recommended.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

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Since You’ve Been Gone By Morgan Matson

Since You’ve Been Gone By Morgan Matson
Published May 6th 2014 by Simon & Schuster

Goodreads

SummaryThe Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

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Since You’ve Been Gone is worth the hype.

And if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know I’m not one to read hyped books right off the bat but Since You’ve Been Gone is so fun and easy to read, no wonder its been a crowd favourite.

Emily is shy and never does anything out of her comfort zone until she met her best friend Slone. Sloane is your typical fun and flirty best friend, and naturally, Emily depends on Sloane to help her get out of her shell and be brave. But when Sloane leaves unexpectedly without a word, Emily is left with nothing but a list of things to do from Slone.

Since You’ve Been Gone isn’t a road trip book (most of the events happens in her city), neither is it adventerous: the list of things to do are rather tame and seemingly ordinary. But for Emily who is painfully shy and filled with fears and doubts, these tasks are no easy feat. I could relate easily to Emily, in which I lived vicariously through her adventure.

The characters in this book were so charming, even Sloane, who we meet through Emily’s flashbacks. There wasn’t much of a character development; they’re minor and easy to miss, but they developed nonetheless.

Since You’ve Been Gone isn’t supposed to be complex. It’s really about a girl who learns to be independent and to be brave, without her safety net and its about friendship, the woes and joys of being in one.

One of my favourite aspects on the book were the playlists/mixtapes. I really loved seeing bands I loved/listen to (and getting excited) and discovering new bands and songs.

I loved Since You’ve Been Gone. It’s an easy to read contemporary, which will be great to read in the Summer. Highly recommended.

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Coin Heist By Elisa Ludwig

Coin Heist By Elisa Ludwig
Publication Date: 10 June 2014 by Adaptive Studios

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the Publisher, via Netgalley. 

Goodreads

SummaryThe last place you’d expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint – which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes – an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore.

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies – the slacker, the nerd, the athlete, and the “perfect” student – band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. The diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist is a fun, suspenseful, and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that could change all of their lives for the better—if they can pull it off.

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Coin Heist was a solid action booked that kept me interested from the start.

Coin Heist follows four unlikely group of kids who attempts to create fake coins from their local Mint in order to save their school. I was really surprised at how good Coin Heist was. I loved books like this, but I was a little wary about how a bunch of teenagers would attempt to pull it off.

I enjoyed how diverse these group of friends are. They defied all status quo and really found themselves depending on one another for comfort. I could see myself a little in all of these characters; I was able to identify with the struggle of social status, the pretense of keeping it together and certainly with being a minority. The characters were very much enjoyable and well developed; there were a lot of character growth, each learning how to accept themselves and the circumstances they’re in.

The plot itself was wonderfully executed. It was a good blend of colourful teenage characters, humourous banter and action. The heist itself was well organized and was well thought of. It was interesting and a lot of fun being able to see the heist itself being organized and later put into play. In my head it made for such a good heist movie. My only issue with Coin Heist was the ending (of the heist). I wanted it to be something the kids saw through till the end on their own without help from adults (though I understood the rationale of having an adult coming to their rescue).

Overall, Coin Heist is a great book that delved into many social issues despite its focus being about a heist. Coin Heist is well rounded and also well written and worth reading. Highly recommended if you enjoy heists and action books.

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Model Position By Kitsy Clare

Model Position By Kitsy Clare
Published February 20th 2014 by Inkspell Publishing

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the Publisher via Netgalley.

Goodreads

SummaryFor Sienna, love and art are perilous games. Is she ready to take that gamble?

Sienna is a beautiful, talented artist poised on the precipice of soaring into the glamorous, yet cutthroat Manhattan art scene.

Dave Hightower is a hooked-up, handsome heir to the hippest gallery in NYC, Gallery Hightower.

Erik is the live drawing model with his sizzling green eyes fixed only on Sienna.

Three’s a crowd, so Sienna must make a choice: date Dave and ride the fast track to landing a show at Gallery Hightower and hobnobbing with the art glitterati, or follow her heart and take a chance with Erik, the stunning male model who’s stealing her heart. But Erik has some worrisome secrets, and who in their right mind would make live modeling their career? 

Dare Sienna throw away her chances of hitting it big to follow her heart?

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I’m always surprised when I find a good New Adult book. I’ve always been so wary of New Adult; not a lot of them are of my taste. But Model Position blew me away.

The first thing that captured me was the writing. The writing was intelligent and I’m glad that the characters were equally intelligent. I’m very fond of the characters: they weren’t silly or busy trying to get themselves laid (only). They were goal oriented and were self-aware of their decisions and its outcomes. They were smart and had charming conversations. It was never mentioned how old the characters are (or was it? Correct me if I’m wrong), though I’m assuming they’re around their twenties.

I haven’t read any books set in grad school nor art courses so Model Position was a breath of fresh air. It was interesting to read about art galleries and talking about Artists I didn’t even know about. Model Position was a good mix of chasing dreams and falling in love, two components which made for a great book.

There is a little bit of insta-love, or rather, insta-lust, but seeing how Model Position is a novella, it does work in their favour. The romance between Sienna and Erik moved at a slow pace, so despite the immediate connection, there was much room for the relationship to blossom. I really enjoyed seeing them chase after each other and the way they called each other their muses.

I loved the ending, it was so sweet and passionate; going into such detail wasn’t even necessary. The connection between Sienna and Erik is enough.

Overall, Model Position was a great book. The romance wasn’t overdone and there was a good balance in between being a student and all that entails with it. Would recommend this for anyone who likes contemporary romance!

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