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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Dec
22

Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Published: June, 2015 by Soho Teen
Pages: 300
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Final Thoughts:
It’s hard to decide which camp I’m in on this one. The first hundred pages seemed to drag on with so much set up. And the characters, I just didn’t feel connected to them. Each time I’d put the book down, it left me with no desire to continue. However, I kept going, and once I got past a certain point things just clicked and I raced through the rest of the book. I felt like I was running on minimal sleep so that I could fit in as much reading time as possible. With a twist that gripped me, I ended up loving the book, but with the wringer it put me through, I’m torn over whether I’m in a better mindset for having read it.

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Dec
10

Title: Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Published: August, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 308
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Luis Fuentes is a good boy who doesn’t live with the angst that his big brothers, Alex and Carlos, have always lived with. Luis is smart, funny, and has big dreams of becoming an astronaut. But when he falls for the wrong girl,

Luis enters a dark world he’s never known, and just when he thinks he’s got life all figured out, learns some disturbing news about his family that destroys his positive outlook on life. Will that Fuentes bad boy streak come out with a vengeance and lure Luis to live on the edge like his new girlfriend and his own father?

Final Thoughts:
The spark seemed to have left with this one. It wasn’t boring, but it just felt like more of the same. I didn’t get all that invested with these characters as much as I did with Alex and Brittany or Carlos and Kiara. They just didn’t seem well rounded this time. Aside from the pregnancy scare, Nikki didn’t have much else going on in her life, and for Luis, it all led back to the gang stuff for him. I still enjoyed Chain Reaction, but found it much harder to find time to read it. I just didn’t have that pull making me want to pick it up.

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Oct
09

Title: All Wrapped Up (Geek Girl #1.5)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: November, 2015 by HarperCollins
Pages: 220
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Harriet Manners knows a lot about Christmas.

She knows that every year Santa climbs down 91.8 million chimneys.

She knows that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was almost definitely a girl.

She knows that the first artificial Christmas trees were made out of goose feathers.

But this Christmas is extra special for Harriet, because four days ago she had her First Ever Kiss.

Now she just needs to work out what’s supposed to happen next…

Final Thoughts:
Harriet is addicted to Christmas—that’s pretty much what this novella tells you from the get go. There’s even a gift receiver’s checklist included for rating Harriet’s Christmas gifting prowess. I’d missed that kind of wackiness as it seems to have dissipated in the later books. Still, it was weird stepping back in time, trying to remember where everybody was at. Set earlier in the series, Harriet is enthralled with her Aussie model boyfriend, Nick, waiting to hear from him about their first date. If you ship Nick/Harriet, you will eat this up. I’m not their biggest supporter, but even I enjoyed this.

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Aug
26

Title: Demon Road (Demon Road #1)
Author: Derek Landy
Published: January, 2015 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
Pages: 507
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Full of Landy’s trademark wit, action and razor sharp dialogue, DEMON ROAD kicks off with a shocking opener and never lets up the pace in an epic road-trip across the supernatural landscape of America. Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in…Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.

Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…

Final Thoughts:
Initially I thought I’d found plenty to love about this one, but with just over five hundred pages, I found my interest lagging midway, not feeling the pull to devour it. I think it comes down to the structure. Basically a road trip story, a bunch of mini plots were compiled together, leading towards the main issue plaguing main character, Amber. New characters kept being introduced at each different town they visited, and then dropped as they went on to the next. It got to the point where I just wanted the main plot resolved so I could move on to something different to read.

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Aug
13

Title: Loathing Lola
Author: William Kostakis
Published: 2008 by Pan Macmillan
Pages: 346
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Fifteen-year-old Courtney Marlow didn’t exactly think it through. She thought the offer to have her life broadcast on national television was the perfect solution to her family’s financial troubles.

She was wrong.

Mackenzie Dahl, the show’s producer, promised to show Australia a real teenager. Courtney was going to be a positive role model, someone on television without a boob job and an eating disorder.

Soon, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame via a little bit of Courtney – especially her conniving friend Katie, and her stepmother, Lola. And Courtney is just beginning to realise that ‘ordinary’ does not translate to ‘entertaining’…

Final Thoughts:
Perhaps having read Will’s later published books first left me at a disadvantage going in to this. It was hard not to compare the differences and notice how much he has grown since this book. Loathing Lola, while not feeling as polished, did still have a fun plot. It was kind of like Degrassi in its tone, along with the high school setting taking the forefront, but very much Australian. Had we gotten to know the characters a bit better, to see what made them tick, I think I would have enjoyed it more. Although, taking it for what it was, it had more than enough humour and angst to keep me turning the pages.

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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.

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