Yours and Mine by Christine Duval

Yours and Mine is the long-awaited sequel to Positively Mine. They are both books in the Freshman Forty Series.

yours and mine

Picking up from the dramatic ending of Positively Mine, Yours and Mine continues the Freshman Forty series as we meet Danny Santoro, Laurel’s baby’s father, for the first time.

It’s been almost a year since he last saw her, that sultry morning she walked off the beach before dawn had even cracked the August sky. It seemed from her silence, she was out of his life forever.

But Laurel’s timing couldn’t be worse to tell him he’s a father. The last year hasn’t been easy. Danny’s own father was arrested for a DUI, his mother moved out, and Danny started sleeping with his brother’s old high school, drug-abusing girlfriend.

After Laurel shocks him with the news, she attempts to relinquish Danny of any parental responsibility leading to a heated custody battle. In an unorthodox arrangement, an eccentric judge orders Danny and Laurel to spend alternating nights with each other for the upcoming school year.

Told from Danny’s point of view, Yours and Mine explores the second chapter of a romance that never got off the ground, the challenges of young parenting, and the hope of rekindled love.

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I am so excited that Yours and Mine has finally been released! I have been periodically checking back on the author’s goodreads profile for a couple of years with no luck, only to find out this time that it was released at the end of last year! It was also pretty surprising that the entire book is written from Danny’s perspective, a character that we had barely met before.

But as surprising as this was, it worked. I like how the author planned it out.

This is a story of a custody struggle between two young parents. Its a story of growing trust and coming of age and working out relationships. It is the pinnacle of a new adult novel, and a fairly clean one. Yours and Mine starts the same way that Positively Mine ended, with Laurel telling Danny that they have a three month old daughter together.

Something that really stood out to me in this novel is that the characters stay very true to themselves.

Laurel is 3-4 years younger than Danny and has had much less responsibility throughout her adolescence, and certainly more financial privilege. Her experiences of being emotionally estranged from her father and of burying her mother as a pre-teen shaped her to be secretive and withdrawn. She has a difficult time sharing and recognizing other’s feelings. Especially since find out she was going to become a mother herself, Laurel relied only on herself and has a difficult time letting Danny into her and their daughter’s lives.

Danny has been working a fulltime job for years, and is now juggling that job with a Masters program in Homeland Security and adjusting to the news of fatherhood. He also has to worry about his mother and help her to recover from his father’s alcohol and gambling addictions.

Although Laurel is a good person and a good Mother, her relative immaturity is apparent. She often fails to communicate with Danny, and clings to the idea that she can be a normal college girl on the nights that Danny has physical custody of their daughter. When things don’t work out the way she had dreamed, she is initially heartbroken and doesn’t know how to move forward and make it right. Although changed by mommyhood, Laurel clearly has less experience in relationships and less confidence in herself. Her go-to move is to hunker down and completely withdraw.

I loved reading Yours and Mine from Danny’s point of view, but at times I wish we could have also had Laurel’s. It was a little funny to not be in her head at all, after the first book was entirely from her perspective.

At the end of the day I loved this book, but I can’t give it 5 / 5 stars because I felt that it was too short and that their problems were resolved too easily. I was expecting the same format as the first book, which covered the entire academic year, but Yours and Mine resolves by (American) Thanksgiving. The ending was also fairly predictable but I loved the happily ever after fans were left with so I can’t really complain about that.

I hope that the author writes another book, and that this time the wait isn’t so long!

Edit: I also love this cover! It is perfect in its simplicity and represents the story and characters wonderfully.

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Teen Mom 2 Returns

Teen Mom 2 returns tonight with the premiere of season six!

Teen Mom OG and 2 are the only MTV shows I like, but they are favourites of mine. I think most people have that one (or more) guilty pleasure television show(s) that they’re addicted to, and these are mine.

It is interesting to see the different paths that the girls have followed through life. I’m not a teen mother, but I find it inspiring watching them continue to struggle to overcome hardships and persevere. I have had more trouble that a lot of my friends to find my way in life and find schooling and a career and relationship that made me feel happy and fulfilled, so I can identify with many of the growing pains these ladies experience.

I was so happy during the previous season of teen mom 2 to see that Jenelle, who had been the “problem child” of her cast-mates for four seasons, has matured so much since then. She had gotten clean before but it seems she has stayed clean this time and went back to school and did well, studying all the time and spending time with Jace and then Kaiser, and realizing that she did deserve better and so do her sons.

I think the defining moment of season five was when she approached her mother about reclaiming custody of Jace. I expected this to turn into a train-wreck of a discussion between Barbara and Jenelle, particularly since Nathan was present, but it was a calm and heartfelt discussion between the two women. In that moment, you could clearly see how much they loved Jace and wanted to work together to create the easiest transition possible for him.

That situation was so charged, it was almost inevitable for confrontation to break out so it was surprising and gratifying that it didn’t. Even though I only know them through my television screen, I was so proud of their family at that moment and hope that they can continue to keep Jace as their focus, because that little boy deserves the world, and he deserves his Mom and Grandmother to work together towards a stable and happy future for him.

Excited to watch tonight and catch up with the other girls as well! Are we finally going to meet Chelsea’s new man on the show???

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Positively Mine – a review

mineFrom the cover:

It is four weeks into her freshman year of college, and Laurel’s first test was unexpected. Discovering she’s pregnant isn’t exactly what she had planned for her first semester, and while she intends to tell her emotionally-distant father, being away at school makes it all too easy to hide.

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret.

Positively Mine is the first – and so far only – book by author Christine Duval. I had never heard of the author beforehand but having read this book, I have started following her online to keep up with future releases. Her book was excellent!

Duval’s first book reads as anything but. I am floored by her debut, even more so due to the fact that the ‘young woman has baby while still in highschool/uni and tries to keep it a secret’ idea isn’t exactly original, and yet, this is likely the best book I have read in the subgenre. Her pacing throughout was exceptional and there was back-story to frame the main character’s state of mind. Even if I, as the reader, didn’t agree with her decisions, she didn’t annoy me.  I generally find that you want to leap into the pages and shake the main character for continuing to follow a path that will go nowhere, but I thoroughly enjoyed her journey, without losing patience.  Pacing I tell ya, it makes all the difference.

It was easy to put myself into Laurel’s position and understand her decisions, whether you have ever found yourself in that position or not. Whether due to a coincidence of personality traits between myself and Laurel, or to the exceptional writing of Duval, I related to the character and found myself believing that in many ways, I would act the same way. I don’t want to expand on this point too much because of spoilers, but I will say that Laurel’s tendency to keep quiet, to keep her head down and work on a specific path almost with blinders on, not looking too far ahead because its overwhelming and feeling that if I can just survive this course of action and finish it I’ll deal with ‘come what may’ afterward … well, that’s is generally my coping mechanism for similar situations.  I’m doing it now, in my own way. This really allowed me to mentally jump into the story and feel as if it was happening to me.

This book has been on my to-read shelf on goodreads for awhile, I added it sometime in 2014. I can’t remember exactly how I found it, but I think I was searching genres and lists on the website looking for books and added to my shelf a whole bunch which sounded good, but didn’t quite fit my mood that day. So last Friday evening when I was home sick and looking for a way to pass the evening, I rediscovered this book and found a new series to love. I’m almost thankful for that monster headache that cancelled my plans.

After finishing Positively Mine, I did some research and found out that a sequel is expected sometime in Autumn 2015, but no title has been announced yet. If this sounds like its up your alley, you could also try searching for the Freshman Forty series. The author seems active in responding to questions on the book’s goodreads page, so I started following her there and hopefully will get a reminder closer to about the sequel.

I highly recommend this book for any teen or young adult!

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