Book Review: The Anti-Relationship Year: A Friends to Lovers Romance (The Pact) by Katie Wismer

The Anti-Relationship Year: A Friends to Lovers Romance (The Pact) by Katie Wismer

A New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel published by Ahimsa Press (03/30/21)

Summary:

“Just tell me this isn’t going to ruin everything,” she whispered. “Tell me this isn’t a bad idea.” Katie Wismer. The Anti-Relationship Year (Kindle Locations 2870-2871).

Johanna is a fresh-faced freshman – ready to take on the world of college. Jo meets Grey the first time she and her party-ready roommates and some of the boys from across the hall go to a local club. Jo can’t ignore or say no to his allure. Three years later, Jo is starting her senior year. The boy from across the hall, Miller, has been her best friend. He’s seen her ups and her downs. He’s been there when some of the more awful college experiences have taken away her optimistic innocence. He’s always been there for her… as a friend. Jo’s never considered him as anything more than that, but this last year has its own slew of surprises, not all of them pleasant and he’s still there for her and she will have to acknowledge her new feelings eventually.

Keywords:

Freshman Year, Senior Year, Party, Alcohol, Friendship, Dating, Gossip, College, Fraternity, Photography, Relationships, Emotions

My Review:

This story follows two timelines – the beginning of Freshman year chronologically from the first days at college through March and of Senior year chronologically from March through May. I really enjoyed these two timelines and the way the friends to lovers romantic storyline was told through two stories – Jo as a Freshman and Jo as a senior.

I really appreciated that this was a standalone in the same universe as the first book in the series. You don’t have to read the first book to enjoy the second and vice versa, although there was a nice little cameo of book one’s Meredith in this second book.

If you ever wanted a realistic portrayal of college life, then this book will give it to you. From endless nights of junk food to pre-gaming before parties to relationships. From the emotional ups and downs of navigating the first year away at college to navigating the end of college with some of the stress of graduation. This book realistically portrays the college experience (not everyone’s college experience but an honest one).

While Miller appears perfect, Jo is a slew of issues. She is both a product of her environment and upbringing and a consequence of her own actions. For a lot of the book, I didn’t like her. I really didn’t like the fact that Miller quietly adored her and did whatever to make her happy, without judgment. Why does Jo get a perfect friend like Miller? Why does Jo get a perfect boyfriend like Miller? But also – why do people turn on her for no reason? I felt sorry for her for the way people treated her and the judgments they passed on her while simultaneously disliking her for the way she acted and the way she treated Miller. She takes him so much for granted as a friend and most of the time it seems like a one-sided relationship until she starts to take him seriously as a romantic interest. Why does Miller stick with her when so many others have abandoned her? Why does he even like her so much?

Jo seems to get overwhelmed easily. Perhaps her reactions are exaggerated, but at the moment a lot of the situations she faces can have this effect on someone. This book really does show the realities and ugliness of relationships, the pettiness of so-called friends who will make fun of you behind your back while pretending to be your friend to your face, and how difficult it is to navigate being an adult in college.

This book was an easy and fast read and I’m really enjoying Wismer’s effortless writing style and can’t wait to read her next novel – be it YA, NA, romance, or something else entirely.

This novel was published by Ahimsa Press 03/30/21 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Katie Wismer’s Website

Goodreads

Online Courses Review: Yale’s Science of Well-Being, TESOL, Budgeting Boot Camp and Productivity Boot Camp by FunCheapOrFree

I love trying out new things. I found the Science of Well-Being course offered by Yale free through Coursera and decided to give it a go. I took the course simultaneously with thousands of others. The course is 10 weeks long and the instruction portion is not overly tedious in length. I found that most of the content was familiar to me as I had taken many psychology classes in college (my area of concentration was psychology) and though none of the psychology classes I’ve taken centered on happiness, much of the science behind well-being is backed by psychological concepts and studies I am familiar with. It was nice to get the refresher, though, and to learn a few new tidbits. For the layman and those who didn’t study psychology, this course is an excellent survey of psychology centered on personal growth. This is especially true if you are taken with the concept of self-care that has been so very popular recently. I would highly recommend this structured take on scientifically understanding happiness and how to incorporate more aspects of well-being into your life. Some of the takeaways are not so obvious! And you will have homework to do! I highly recommend this particular course and really enjoyed the lecture style of Laurie Santos – the Yale professor. The homework was reasonable to accomplish and relevant. There were quite a number of recommended books to supplement the short to-the-point lectures if you want even more subject matter knowledge.

I now have my TESOL certificate – Teaching English as a Second Language. Why? Because I might want to teach English as a second language… I love languages, the study of languages, the nuance of learning a new language, etc. TESOL is one possibility for remote work as you can do it simply with a computer and high-speed internet connection. I took a simple TESOL certificate course online through International Open Academy that was recommended by one of the Youtubers (Katie Wismer) I watch. She has taught English as a second language with Qkids for over a year. I thought the course was fast and easy but not useful other than getting the certificate upon completion.

One of my other favorite Youtubers FunCheapOrFree offered her Budgeting Boot Camp and Productivity Boot Camp for free and I had to check them out. I love her channel. She is creative in her budgeting and productivity and I enjoy her well-edited videos. I did not, however, not either of her courses. It felt like she (and her husband) were reading a book in front of a camera. The two courses are divided into sections with videos that are around 10-15 minutes each. I liked all the stories where she related the information and instructions to her own life, but felt like I would rather just read the book version of these courses than sit through the videos in the course. I didn’t think this course was improved by telling the information in video format versus an audiobook or podcast for example. I also felt like the information wasn’t novel, especially to me with my current knowledge and since I’ve already watched many of the videos on Youtube already. I would not recommend paying for either course unless you’re completely new to budgeting or productivity and you prefer to watch videos in sequence than reading a book or simply subscribing to her channel. I would highly recommend instead to read the book “I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works” by Ramit Sethi as a step-to-step guide to crush debt and build wealth.

Book Review: The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer

The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer

A YA Coming of Age Novel published by Ahimsa Press (06/17/20)

Summary:

‘Once people have decided you’re a “quiet one,” they never let it go.’ Location 391

Meredith has lived 18 years as the preacher’s dutiful daughter. They’ve never had to give her a curfew because she’s never been out late. She’s never had a boyfriend. Even thinking about being the center of attention makes her anxious. In her last year of high school Mare drunkenly signs an ‘anti-virginity pact’ with her best friend Johanna and promptly forgets about it. Until it resurfaces as copies spread all over school. Pushed into the spotlight, Mare doesn’t know what to do, but she wishes she was still invisible. All the attention – most of it negative – threatens her reputation, her standing with her family, and even her new romantic relationship.

Keywords:

Coming of Age, Teenagers, High School, Senior Year, Seniors, Party, Alcohol, Introverted, Anxiety, Bullying, Preacher’s Daughter, Atheist, Friendship, Dating

My Review:

I absolutely love an emotional coming-of-age story and this book did not disappoint. The strongest emotion I felt while reading was anxiety. I consider myself an ambivert and experience shyness and anxiety when I’m at the center of attention sometimes, but Meredith takes this to an entirely different level. Wismer so specifically describes all aspects of anxiety so well that not only could I empathize with Mare, but I could sympathize. I think anyone reading this novel could understand what anxiety actually feels and looks like if it’s unfamiliar to them.

This book unpacks so many teenage dramas and it packs quite a punch. The bullying felt real. The anxiety felt real. The home and church life of a preacher’s daughter felt real. The religious abuse felt real. The homophobia felt real. The nastiness of the in-crowd felt real. The only over-the-top drama subplot that didn’t feel as real was the animal abuse.

I absolutely loved how this book tied romance and a romantic relationship with a strong friendship angle and the relationship between siblings. I loved the story of Meredith and her relationship with Johanna, her relationship with Sam, and especially her relationship with her sister.

This novel was published by Ahimsa Press 06/17/20 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

Links for more information:

Katie Wismer’s Website

Goodreads