Jul
23

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Published: June, 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 513
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
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Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Final Thoughts:
It’s strange thinking back on this one. I loved it to an extent, but I didn’t fall in love with it. Perhaps it’s the time it took me to finish it. I wanted to read it all the time, but I kept procrastinating each time I went to pick it up. Still, once I did, I’d find myself lost in the pages. Monty was a riot. He’s one of those protagonists that just amuses you from start to finish. His personality reminds me of all of the snark and quick witted humour filled books that hooked me on YA six or seven years ago. Except this one, it was set in the 1700s. Though don’t let that keep you away—anything but stale, many of the phrases turned read as though they’re in a contemporary.

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Jul
07

Title: It Looks Like This
Author: Rafi Mittlefehldt
Published: September, 2016 by Candlewick
Pages: 336
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

A new state, a new city, a new high school. Mike’s father has already found a new evangelical church for the family to attend, even if Mike and his plainspoken little sister, Toby, don’t want to go. Dad wants Mike to ditch art for sports, to toughen up, but there’s something uneasy behind his demands.

Then Mike meets Sean, the new kid, and “hey” becomes games of basketball, partnering on a French project, hanging out after school. A night at the beach. The fierce colors of sunrise. But Mike’s father is always watching. And so is Victor from school, cell phone in hand.

Final Thoughts:
This little book held me hostage. I went from loving it to wanting to strangle it and break free. With tears threatening my eyes, I read this book during my lunch breaks this week, surprised by how many emotions it managed to bring out of me. Mike’s story, while tragic, gave a refreshing (and angering) view into what it’s like growing up gay in a religious family. I don’t know if I would have wanted to read this back when I was figuring things out in my teens, but I could handle it now.

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Jul
02

Title: Girl In Between
Author: Anna Daniels
Published: May, 2017 by Allen & Unwin
Pages: 320
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise …who are her parents. She’s also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old …kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents’ new next-door neighbour …well, maybe just a little …

As the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, Lucy is facing some awkward truths – like her mum’s obsession with Cher, her father’s unsolicited advice, and the probability there’s more cash on the floor of her parents’ car than in her own bank account.

Thank goodness for Lucy’s crazy-but-wonderful best friend, Rosie, who’s around to cushion reality with wild nights at the local Whipcrack Hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London. But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life – and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, funny, charmingly Australian story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

Final Thoughts:
Lucy is a flake. I get that she’s at a crossroads, but she has absolutely no direction in life. She would pick random career ideas out of nowhere and drop them barely a page later. About the only thing she seemed to want for in life was to have a baby, but even that wasn’t really a goal of hers. She wasn’t out looking for a husband, she wasn’t doing much of anything—it didn’t feel like she had any kind of mission, she just let things happen around her. Plus, the overdose of Aussie culture littering the pages of this book…I could probably write an entire review just about that.

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Jun
15

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: February, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 294
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Final Thoughts:
I don’t know why I did this to myself again. That’s not to say that this isn’t a good book—I felt immersed in Griffin’s grief, and loved all of the character building, both in the present and the flashback chapters—but there is a definite depressing undertone. I had to pick up another feel good book mid-way through this to give myself a break.

With chapters alternating back and forth between the past and the present, I struggled initially trying to find a balance. Having something interesting begin to happen in one time period, then being sent back to the other became frustrating. I would have preferred if the ‘history’ chapters were spaced randomly so you didn’t know when to expect one.

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May
23

Title: How To Not Fall In Love, Actually
Author: Catherine Bennetto
Published: January, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 512
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).

So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.

Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.

Final Thoughts:
Oh, this book cracked me up so much. With such strong personalities, these characters lit up the pages. It was hard not to love even the annoying people as their idiosyncrasies brought Emma’s disastrous world to life. Pregnant, broke and getting nowhere in life, Emma’s up shit creek, but watching her wade her way through it was just so heart-warmingly awkward and fun.

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Apr
29

Title: The Upside Of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April, 2017 Penguin
Pages: 340
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful. Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess.

Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Final Thoughts:
Oh my…gah—why does it have to be over? Though honestly, I felt like it ended perfectly. I lived for these characters. Reading well into the early hours of the morning, I forwent sleep in favour of some extra time with Molly and her family and friends. Randomly bursting out laughing, I felt like this was exactly the book for me. Suffering from anxiety, a lot of the struggles were in her head, which I found immensely relatable. I really appreciated finding a book like this. I just clicked with her from the get go and got so absorbed in her world.

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Apr
23

Title: Seven Days Of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse
Published: March, 2017 by Hachette Children’s Group
Pages: 304
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

It’s Sophia’s last week in Tokyo, and she’s going to make it count…Sophia has spent her life ping-ponging between different countries and schools, so, in theory, saying goodbye should be easy. But now she’s leaving Tokyo – the place that finally felt like home. The only way she can get through this is to make her final week perfect. Then Jamie Foster-Collins shows up, just in time to ruin everything. Jamie and Sophia used to be friends …and his return stirs up feelings she thought she’d forgotten. Suddenly, hours and minutes become meaningless. Only time spent together, exploring the hidden streets of the city they love, is real.

Final Thoughts:
Fun at times, and at others, a bit of a snore, this one took me three weeks to finish. I was drawn to the idea of reading about Tokyo, and got a bit of that in the beginning, but eventually it became all about the romantic drama. I’m usually down for that. If the characters strike a chord with me, the book could be about anything and I’d still devour it. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel connected enough to Sophia (Sofa to her friends), Jamie or David to get on board with either of the pairings the book tried throwing at me. Basically, I just wanted to be in Japan and leave these people behind.

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