Like TCM Lite : Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

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The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Source: GoodReads

Okay, the blurb completely ruins the book because it pretty much reveals the entire plot of the book. And that is annoying.

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Sigh.

Also, is it just me or was it annoying that this book got all these You’ve Got Mail comparisons when a good chunk of the book deals with old movies and in turn the comparison should’ve been made to The Shop Around the Corner-which for all you non-classic film buffs, is the movie that You’ve Got Mail based itself on.

In fact, it’s sort of referenced in the movie.

Okay…so I probably watched that movie and too many old movies way too much but oh well.  I’ll have to say reading this book and all its old film references, was exciting to me.  It was like finally meeting with someone who shared your weird old hobby and this book did with its love for old films.  And wasn’t even TCM  snobby about it which was great.

As far as The Shop Around the Corner reduxes go, this one is pretty good.  Both characters are surprisingly well fleshed out and have imperfections.  I also liked the sleepy beach town setting for the novel.  I thought it fit appropriately with the tone of the novel, and the town had enough quirks about it where it was sort of a character of its own.

The romance is so of slow burn, and it really worked for me.  It takes awhile for Porter and Bailey to tolerate each other, let alone like each other and the growth of the relationship is enjoyable to see with its gradual evolution.   On the flip side, we also get to see how their online relationship grows as well.  And I’ll be honest I sort of love the hate to love trope when done right.  Especially when they finally admit that they want to be together despite all the  obstacles.

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One thing that did annoy me, was that the dad character wasn’t at least a little freaked out about the fact his daughter had a quasi boyfriend online.  Given all the shit that happened to Bailey in the past, you would think he’d be at least skeptical.  And for that matter, maybe it’s one too many Lifetime movies (for yours truly) AND being an extremely paranoid person I would really have issues if I had a teenage daughter who randomly met some dude who was trying to get her to fly across the country online.

I mean, that’s reality talking.  And normally, I would sort of give it a pass.  But given the ultra dramatic back story that this book has, it sort of had me raising a couple of eyebrows.

Another problem I had with this book was the random dramatic backstory.  It felt a little bit out of place, and in all honesty I felt like it served no purpose other than to describe why the main character was scared of guns.

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Um, because they’re guns. That’s why.

But really, that and a couple of the dramatic side plots could’ve been cut out and the book may have been better for it.  Honestly, I was sort of on the fence about it.  Which is why I rated this book lower than five stars on GoodReads.  Still though, it was a very enjoyable read.

Overall Rating: An A-

It’s Like You’ve Got Mail Sans Product Placement: PS I Love You by Kasie West

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds thatsomeone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mysteryand juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Source: GoodReads

My mom is in love with the movie, You’ve Got Mail and I’ll admit I like it too.  But because of her I have seen it maybe one too many times, but whatever.  Still seeing the premises of this book gave me a nice flashback to the day’s of 90’s product placements, where Meg Ryan didn’t have bad plastic surgery, and Tom Hanks was…well, Tom Hanks.

I like that movie and I like this book.  Was it the best book ever-well, no.  But it suited it’s perfect now and rather than directly being a blow by blow to the movie, like A Week of Mondays was to Groundhog Day, I was pleasantly surprised.

The main characters were decent enough.  Lily was memorable enough with her song lyrics, I guess and I liked that it wasn’t obvious who the male lead was going to be at first.  That was one of the best changes made from You’ve Got Mail.

The one thing that annoyed me, if anything in this book was Lily’s family. This if anything solidified the fact that if I ever have children I don’t want more than two tops.  I hated how irresponsible these parents were having all these kids-though to be far it’s only four hardly Duggar level-and then not having stable and sustainable jobs where they can’t buy their fucking daughter a spool of thread.  Plus, the brothers getting into her room and not really even getting reprimanded for it and Lily being told to forgive and all that bullshit without even having them having to compensate her for her damage property….

Bad parent central.

Though, maybe it’s not bad parents so much as my parents raised me to understand personal and private spaces.  This just really annoyed me.

That aside though, fun book.  I did think after the reveal that the book did drag a bit, but other than that and the annoying family I say give it a try.  If you like that movie or like any story where there’s a mystery romance this will be a fun read.

Overall Rating: An A- very enjoyable with minor flaws that are mostly personal.