Dec
01

Title: Forever Geek (Geek Girl #6)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: March, 2017 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Pages: 400
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

My name is Harriet Manners and I’ll be a geek forever…

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

Modelling isn’t a sure-fire route to popularity. Neither is making endless lists. The people you love don’t expect you to transform into someone else. Statistically, you are more likely to not meet your Australian ex-boyfriend in Australia than bump into him there.

So on the trip of a lifetime Down Under Harriet’s to-do lists are gone and it’s Nat’s time to shine! Yet with nearly-not-quite-boyfriend Jasper back home, Harriet’s completely unprepared to see supermodel ex Nick. Is the fashion world about to turn ugly for GEEK GIRL?

It’s time for Harriet to face the future. Time to work out where her heart lies. To learn how to let go…

Final Thoughts:
Harriet Manners has been an interesting one. It felt like these books could go on forever, but it feels good to finally have an ending. While Forever Geek was fun, I don’t think it will go down as my favourite of the series. Set in Australia, Harriet’s adventures predominantly involve Nat (not that the extra time with Nat is a bad thing), as the bulk of the cast were left behind in England. With the plot focussed on making Nat a success, avoiding/trying to run into Nick, and causing havoc along the way, there’s a good chance fans of the series are going to eat this up.

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Nov
23

Title: There’s Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: September, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Pages: 289
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Love hurts…

Makani Young thought she’d left her dark past behind her in Hawaii, settling in with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska. She’s found new friends and has even started to fall for mysterious outsider Ollie Larsson. But her past isn’t far behind.

Then, one by one, the students of Osborne Hugh begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasingly grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and her feelings for Ollie intensify, Makani is forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Final Thoughts:
I expected to love this book, but nope. Whatever magic had taken over during the Anna, Lola, Isla trilogy was missing for Makani’s journey. Supposedly horror focussed, but actually romance focussed, it failed to really scare me. A lot of the background characters that you barely know get killed, but there’s no real shock to it. Whenever the POV switches from the main character, you know the new POV character is about to bite it. If you’re like me, and usually get freaked out by horror, you’ll be fine with this. I was more annoyed by the characters putting themselves in danger than anything else. They should have just stuck to having sex in the cornfields.

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Oct
30

Title: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
Published: October, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304
Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Final Thoughts:
I don’t know if this book helps with anxiety or makes it worse. Having just started meds for my own anxiety, this struck a chord, making me question my own thoughts at times, wondering just how many were my own and which ones were the anxiety talking. Aza’s condition seemed to be on the extreme side, having arguments with herself, trying to fight the impulses convincing her to do things she didn’t want to do. It was hard to read, becoming very disturbing the deeper I got, still, it does a great job at highlighting just how hard it is living with mental illness. The missing billionaire mystery helps bring in some levity, with the friendship between Aza and Daisy stealing the show. Sure, there’s a romantic sub-plot with the billionaire’s son, but the two main girls and Aza’s own issues are where the heart of the book is at.

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Oct
20

Title: In Other Lands
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Published: August, 2017 by Big Mouth House
Pages: 432
Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

“What’s your name?”
“Serene.”
“Serena?” Elliot asked.
“Serene,” said Serene. “My full name is Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle.”
Elliot’s mouth fell open. “That is badass.”

The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else. Don’t try to smuggle a phone or any other piece of technology over the wall that marks the Border—unless you enjoy a fireworks display in your backpack. (Ballpoint pens are okay.) There are elves, harpies, and—best of all as far as Elliot is concerned—mermaids.

Elliot? Who’s Elliot? Elliot is thirteen years old. He’s smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands.

It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there’s Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there’s her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There are lots of interesting books. There’s even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world.

Final Thoughts:
With a wisecracking mouth, an air of superiority and little regard for other people’s feelings, I know Elliot was someone I wouldn’t want to be around. Yet, I couldn’t help but want to be more like him. His ‘no apologies’ attitude towards life and stupid people was one that I secretly wish I could adopt, or get away with adopting. Set in a magical world, with no hint of magic, instead filled with war training, politics and angsty teen romance, this quickly became a whole lot of fun.

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Oct
04

Title: Sunny Side Up (Geek Girl #4.5)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: June, 2016 by Harper Collins Children’s Books
Pages: 224
Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.

A brand new summer story from the no. 1 bestselling and award-winning GEEK GIRL series!

Harriet Manners knows many facts.

And she knows everything there is to know about Paris… except what to do when you’re the hottest new model at Fashion Week.

Can Harriet find her je ne sais quoi or will it be sacré bleu! on the runway?

Find out in this hilarious summer special GEEK GIRL novella from the no. 1 bestselling author Holly Smale.

Final Thoughts:
Surprisingly, this time around, I don’t think Harriet managed to annoy me. Actually, I found myself really enjoying this novella, and can’t wait to get straight into the final book next. Ditching the majority of the cast, it’s just Harriet and Wilbur off in Paris for fashion week, and honestly, that worked for me. It gave Harriet more time to unravel all by herself. Finding mayhem with practically everything she does, this was a blast. And despite its short page count, it somehow manages to pack into it not one, but three modelling misadventures.

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Jul
31

Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Published: July, 2017 by Pan Macmillan
Pages: 224
Rating: ★★½☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee and having his choice of colleges. They do not include falling head over heels for his best friend and next-door neighbour, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do . . .

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong . . .

Final Thoughts:
With characters so vanilla, I kept wondering why I was reading this. It wasn’t inherently bad, I mean, I got through it in a few lunch breaks, but there was just no meat to it. Occasionally, some issue would arise and get my hopes up that there’d be some drama, something to invest in, but every time an easy out would appear to solve the problem. It seemed like all of the characters were made simply to be likeable, rather than to be real. Sure, it was sort of romantic, watching best friends realise they like each other, but it was just fluff.

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Jul
23

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Published: June, 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 513
Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

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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