Book Review: Aix Marks the Spot by S.E. Anderson

Posted 15/04/2020 by Isabelle MBTL in review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Aix Marks the Spot by S.E. AndersonAix Marks the Spot on June 16, 2020
Cover Design: Sarah Anderson
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 291
Format: digital e-book
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

Jamie has been dreaming of this summer forever: of road trips and intensive art camps, of meeting cute boys with her best friend Jazz. What she didn’t count on was the car accident.

Exiled away from her family as her mother slowly learns to walk again, Jamie is sent to Provence and trapped in an isolated home with the French grandmother she has never met, the guilt of having almost killed her parents, and no Wi-Fi. Enough to drive a girl mad. That is, until, she finds an old letter from her father, the starting point in a treasure hunt that spans across cities and time itself. Somehow, she knows that the treasure is the key to putting her shattered family back together and that whatever lies at the end has the power to fix everything.

Armed only with a high-school-level of French and a map of local train lines, she must enlist the aid of Valentin, her handsome neighbor who’s willing to translate. To save her family, she has castle ruins to find and sea cliffs to climb; falling for her translator wasn’t part of her plan…


Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

First Person, female-POV

This is a standalone book with HEA.

They say the opposite of love is hate, but it really isn’t. It’s indifference.

by Jamie

Addictiveness: 3/5  This was an ok read. Lots of mixed feelings. I’ve enjoyed so many aspects, but I have disliked a few others. As addictive as popcorn!!!

Cover: art 4/5, title 5/5, color-font 5/5, buy 4/5  I’m obsessed with book covers. I love to find snippets of the stories within the art. This one was a great one. It was what attracted me first to read this book. The art was cute and fun. It sort of told me it would be a YA read. After reading it, this art became even better, because it is so spot on and such a huge part of the story. I would definitely buy this book by its cover without needing to read the blurb, because of the art and gorgeous title.

Freshness: 4/5 This was UNIQUE!!! The concept of this story was fresh and new. It was not something I have seen out there yet. It felt like a one-of-a-kind book. As fresh as ice cream in a very hot summer day!

Plot: believable 2/5, conflict 3.5/5, dialogue 3.5/5, ending 3/5, enjoyment 3.5/5, opening 4/5, pace 3/5, setting 5/5, subplots 4/5, twists 4/5  Awesome opening and rushed ending. Not very believable plot, with cute dialogues and ok pace. Superb setting, enjoyable subplots with a great twist at the end. Good level of enjoyment!

This book had an amazing setting, that was superbly described and very well detailed. It felt like I was in Provence on a treasure hunt with Jamie and Valentin. I could still “taste” every cheese and crepe they ate!!!

The author had a great twist at the end, I was pleasantly surprised.

Romance: believable 3.5/5, chemistry 3/5, description 3.5/5, development 3/5, steam 0/5  This was a cute, sweet friendship with the beginning of what could become a love story. Jamie and Valentin created a beautiful friendship while looking for the treasure and surfing through a lot of teenager angst. They were sweet together and I would love to read a follow up and see their love grow. Sweet LOVE!!!

Writing Style: 3/5 Ms. Anderson painted such a beautiful backdrop for her story, giving the readers a wonderful portrait of Provence and its luxurious food. The writing was solid in this aspect, but there were a few too many unanswered questions or rushed answers by the end of the story. Ok writing!!!

Character: hero 3/5, heroine 2.5/5, secondary characters 2/5, growth 3.5/5, real 2.5/5 I’m a character reader. I need to feel a connection with at least one character to really be invested in the story. I had a hard time connecting with them because there was not enough background on them.

Jamie was a hard to follow heroine. She had been going to some problems and she had a lot of misplaced guilty inside her. She needed parental guidance in a moment her parents didn’t have time to really help her. It felt like she was put on as second choice in the midst of the family problems, and as a mother, I have a hard time accepting that.

At the same time that I felt Jamie pain it was hard to understand it fully because she kept saying throughout the story how she had messed up in life, but we never really got the full story behind all these feelings. The lack of a full view of her past, made it harder for me to connect with her. Some of her actions felt too immature and very childish. Finally we had a chapter to understand her at the end of the book, but it was a bit too late to form a true connection.

Valentin was a cute hero. Even though he also didn’t have a great character development, he was easier to love and connect. He was a good son, a very patient friend and a sweet boyfriend-to-be.

Secondary characters… my favorite were mostly part of the Valentin bandwagon. His mom, his friends… Oh, I also loved Jean-Pascal.

Villains/antagonist I have to say the grandmother. I think I understood what the author tried to do here, but it didn’t work for me. The grandmother was a mean spirited, sad human being, that would rather be alone than get over herself.

I have to mention Jamie’s parents here. If they hadn’t been able to have any sort of relationship with the grandmother for 17 years, why would they sent their child to her during such a crucial and painful moment? It felt unrealistic and a HUGE mistake. I was mad with these parents for Jamie. It looked exactly like she felt…. abandonment!!!

Characters and their development were my biggest problem with the book!!!

Plot: The ending!!! Everything was solved quite abruptly at the last couple chapters. It felt rushed and I wish we could have a second book.

Worry about what you can change and stop getting mad at the things you can’t.

by Valentin

A lot of mixed feelings from my part.

I had trouble connecting with characters.

I did completely disliked the grandmother and the fact that she is part of the happy ending is mind boggling for me.

I work with teenagers and I love their struggles and angst. I was looking forward to understand Jamie and Valentin, and I missed a more complex development of their feeling and emotions.

At the same time I loved the concept, the setting and I could even connect with the bilingual story.

I felt like the love story was cute and would love to read its progression. I think Jamie and Valentin had some good foundation for it to become a true inspiring love.

A beautiful friendship that could be a good foundation for an everlasting love!

23/35 STARS –  3 STARS (between 21 stars and 24 stars)

Addictiveness: 3 Character: 2.5 Cover: 4 Freshness: 4 Plot: 3 Romance: 3.5 Writing Style: 3

Action 1/5 Angst 4/5 Darkness 0/5 Humor 3/5 Romance 3.5/5 Suspense/Mystery 3/5

Would I recommend? I think so.

Would I re-read this book/series? I don’t know.

Would I read more from the author? Yes, I would love if she wrote a follow up with Jamie and Valentin’s love story.

You MAY read this because you enjoy YA reads; you SHOULD read this because the romance is sweet; you MUST read this because this is story is a journey through Provence and part of France’s culture!!!!!


About S.E. Anderson

S.E. Anderson can’t ever tell you where she’s from. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because it inevitably leads to a confusing conversation where she goes over where she was born (England) where she grew up (France) and where her family is from (USA) and it tends to make things very complicated.

She’s lived pretty much her entire life in the South of France, except for a brief stint where she moved to Washington DC, or the eighty years she spent as a queen of Narnia before coming back home five minutes after she had left. Currently, she is working on her PhD in Astrophysics and Planetary sciences in Besançon, France.

When she’s not writing, or trying to science, she’s either reading, designing, crafting, or attempting to speak with various woodland creatures in an attempt to get them to do household chores for her.  She could also be gaming, or pretending she’s not watching anything on Netflix.

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