Jun
23

Title: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel
Author: Sara Farizan
Published: October, 2014 by Algonquin Books
Pages: 304
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. As an Iranian American, she’s different enough; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when beautiful new girl Saskia shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual.

Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

Final Thoughts:
Having just had to put another book aside, I was so glad to find this one so devour-able. With my lunch breaks stretching longer and longer, I found it quite hard to put this one down and get back to work. Leila’s story drew me in and really got me feeling like I was back at high school again, worried about when or how to come out. It really is a coming out story, but I liked that Leila knew she was gay and had already had a fling with another girl before the start of the book. That left the book for a different kind of angst and plenty of time to focus on the struggles and triumphs of relationships.

May
28

Title: Who’s That Girl?
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: April, 2016 by HarperCollins
Pages: 535
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

Final Thoughts:
How can her books be so good? I just want to live in them forever and ever. While the plots have differed, they’ve all managed to draw out that elusive, yet familiar, ‘magical romance’ feeling in me. Sometimes I just feel like I must have become jaded, like the book couplings I’m reading are bland stick figures being pushed together for the sake of it, yet then Mhairi brings out a new book and I’m back. I actually want to stop everything and READ. Edie’s adventure just kept going and going and going. With so much emotion packed into this book, I couldn’t help but struggle through the pain she felt and cheer for her too.

May
07

Title: Tell The Wind And Fire
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: April, 2016 by Clarion Books
Pages: 368
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Final Thoughts:
Nobody seems to like this book. I don’t know why. Before I hit Goodreads to check the ratings, I was dashing madly through this one, relishing each lunch break when I could get back into it. Sarah Rees Brennan is one author that just gets characters right. Regardless of whatever the plot may be, she hooks you with the people. I think it’s why I loved the Demon’s Lexicon series so much even though each book took on a different POV. Here, the main cast is kept quite small—just Lucie, her boyfriend, Ethan, and his doppelganger, Carwyn. Told through a single perspective, Lucie really shines as the lead in this story. While she may have had magic rings on her fingers, she didn’t spend the book doing spells. It delves much deeper, getting political with topics such as class, racial discrimination and feminism.

Apr
30

Title: Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1)
Author: Danielle Paige
Published: April, 2014 by HarperCollins
Pages: 452
My Rating: ★★½☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a road of yellow brick—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. And—Dorothy must die.

Final Thoughts:
Amy’s home life back in Kansas pretty much sucked. She was being bullied by a pregnant girl that seemed to think Amy wanted her guy, and her mother, she was checked out to say the least. I was glad the book didn’t drag things out before escaping to Oz. I found the earlier chapters spent exploring this new take on a classic fictional world to be one of the better aspects of the book. As it progressed, my interest started to wane, taking the better part of a month to get through it. I did enjoy where it ended but found that it took too many detours to get there.

Mar
30

Title: The Sidekicks
Author: Will Kostakis
Published: February, 2016 by Penguin
Pages: 256
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Booktopia

The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.

Final Thoughts:
Divided into thirds, each one housed a different perspective of the remaining friends of Isaac, showing us how they coped with life as a teenager after his sudden death. Without having seen the four of them together, initially it was hard picturing how they’d been friends. Although, it was pointed out a few times that they weren’t—that the three of them merely orbited Isaac, getting along with the others merely a part of being in Isaac’s life. And with him gone, their quasi-friend group quickly fell apart. I think seeing that happen felt quite realistic. Pretty much all of it did. Reading Sidekicks took me back to what is was like being young and insecure, making the wrong decisions but feeling like there were no other ones to make.

Mar
26

Title: Rapture (Fallen #4)
Author: Lauren Kate
Published: June, 2012 by Delacorte Press
Pages: 448
My Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The sky is dark with wings….

Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.

Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this — live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies…and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.

And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her — and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

Final Thoughts:
There was so much wrong with this book. I don’t think I’ve hated reading something so much in my life. The characters went nowhere—yes, they flew across the world using Daniel’s mighty angel wings—but their personalities just felt flat. Luce was so overdramatic, practically unable to function whenever anybody was injured or died, regardless of whether she’d just met them a few pages ago. I guess it was meant to make her seem compassionate, but it just felt hollow. And the plot holes—oh, the plot holes. I was immensely angry at this book whenever something just didn’t make sense. There were so many moments where it was like, ‘Forget we’re all here, only Luce can do this…’.

Mar
13

Title: Proposal (The Mediator #6.5)
Author: Meg Cabot
Published: January, 2016 by Avon
Pages: 97
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The last place Suze Simon expects to find herself during Valentine’s Day is a cemetery. But that’s what happens when you’re a mediator – cursed with the “gift” of communicating with the dead.

That’s how Suze has ended up at the graves of a pair of NCDPs – Non-Compliant Deceased Persons – whose drama didn’t end with death. It’s Suze’s job to make sure they move on—for good.

But the NCDPs aren’t the only ones with problems. The reason Suze is spending her Valentine’s Day with the undead instead of her boyfriend, Jesse, is because he’s having so much trouble adjusting to life after death . . . not surprising, considering the fact that he used to be an NCDP himself, and now his girlfriend busts his former kind for a living, while he tries to cure his kind of what used to ail him.

Can Suze use her mediating skills to propose a mutual resolution, and bring all these young lovers together – including Jesse and herself – especially on the night Saint Valentine declared sacred to romance?

Or will she end up alone—and possibly undead—herself?

Final Thoughts:
No longer in high school, Suze is now in her early twenties and living in a dorm. Being away from her family, we only learn of what’s been happening in their lives through Suze’s internal musing. Even Father Dominic, who had such a big presence in Suze’s life throughout the series, is only mentioned in passing. While it was a short story, the other books were quite short as it was, so it didn’t feel that different pacing-wise. The ghost plot actually got a bit more focus with the lack of supporting characters. Still, there was Jesse, no longer dead, apparently succeeding in life, and with his old-school beliefs, driving Suze crazy.