Jul
10

Title: Me Before You (Me Before You #1)
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published: January, 2012 by Penguin
Pages: 480
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Final Thoughts:
Such an engrossing story—and it all comes down to the characters. I felt so involved with them. Not just main characters, Lou and Will, but their family members as well. With almost five hundred pages spent with them, I well and truly felt as if I’d become a part of their lives. So much seems to take place, the personal growth really surprising me. I loved it for that. There were struggles and struggles, and more struggles, whenever something good happened I think I appreciated it all that bit more never knowing how long it would last.

Jul
03

Title: Remembrance (The Mediator #7)
Author: Meg Cabot
Published: February, 2016 by William Morrow
Pages: 388
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

You can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

Final Thoughts:
Having only just read the original series for the first time, I didn’t go into this with the nostalgia glasses on so I felt like some of the things that irked me were harder to overlook. Suze was the main culprit. With her now in her mid-twenties, I just couldn’t get over how immature she came across. And Paul, the main villain of series, he’s back, and trying to force his way into Suze’s pants again. Ugh. I thought this plot had been wrapped up, albeit hurriedly, in the previous book. But no, this angst pretty much drove the book. Chapters and chapters of Suze hiding things from Jesse, all the while, wondering why he wouldn’t give up his pre-marital chastity vow and sleep with her already.

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.