Jun
27

Title: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: June, 2015 by HarperCollins
Pages: 560
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong. When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault. When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault. And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

Final Thoughts:
I’ve come to crave Mhairi’s writing. Her characters are just so engaging. I’ve gotten to the point where I baulk at most books over 400 pages now, wondering if I have the time to commit to it, but not with this one. I lapped every page up, not wanting that feeling of belonging—the connection to these characters—to end. The world that she has created here was realistic, full of moments of hilarity, angst and tough decisions. Of course, it was a romance too, but I found it more a case of Delia’s journey to find out who she was again rather than attaching herself to the next man to come along.

Read Full Review?

Jun
07

Title: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April, 2015 by Penguin
Pages: 303
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Final Thoughts:
This book grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. After weeks of searching bookstores, trying to spot a copy, I finally gave in and just ordered it online. I don’t know if it’s because it’s got a LGBT main character that none of my local stores were ordering it in, but they definitely should be stocking this. It’s one of the best contemporaries I have come across this year. Keeping you emotionally invested with its wide berth of characters locked in Simon’s orbit, this quickly became one of those “just one more chapter” books that keep you up long into the night.

Read Full Review?

Mar
08

Title: Here’s Looking At You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: December, 2013 by AVON
Pages: 432
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

What if the last person you wanted to see was the person you needed?

Here’s Looking At You is, in essence, an ugly duckling tale. Our heroine Anna returns to school after fifteen years for a reunion. School doesn’t hold happy memories for her, as being a roly poly Italian (known as the Italian Galleon), and always armed with a Tupperware full of pungent Mediterranean food, she was bullied incessantly throughout her years there.

Now in her 30s, Anna wants to put the past behind her once and for all and face up to the bullies who made her life hell. But she is much-changed from the girl she once was – all curves and because I’m worth it hair – and no one recognizes her when she arrives. Losing her cool, she backs out on her plan for revenge and slinks off, hoping never to be reminded of her years at school again.

But fate gets in the way, and after the reunion her path keeps crossing with James – major hunk and Anna’s major crush back at school. But alas, as a crony to the bullies, Anna to this day believes that his beautiful exterior hides an ugly interior. As they continue to cross paths a love/hate relationship ensues until eventually something shifts, and they both start to discover what the person underneath is really like…

Full of laugh out loud humor, Here’s Looking At You is a novel about facing your demons and being happy with who you really are.

Final Thoughts:
After struggling to read the first hundred pages of an angsty teen-sci-fi over the course of a month, I eventually gave in and picked this up instead. I instantly cracked up, the first chapters leaving bursting out fits of laughter earning me strange looks from my co-workers. Worth it, though. It may be a stray from my usual YA outings, but I by no means found it hard to connect with the characters. Anna was easily relatable, and James, by including his perspectives, it added that extra depth to his persona, shaping him into something more than his teen self.

Read Full Review?

Feb
13

Title: Sacrifice (Elemental #5)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Published: September, 2014 by Kensington
Pages: 324
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick understands pressure. He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way.

His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She’s got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s ‘bad luck’. Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war.

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.

Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?

Final Thoughts:
This is the book I’ve been waiting for. It’s no secret that Michael’s been my favourite of the Merrick brothers throughout the series, so coming into his book I was ready for it to hook me, and it did. Actually, I think I’ve been hooked since Spirit, but with this being the final instalment, it just brought so much more to the table. Whereas the books teetered around their troubles with the Guides—assassins sent to kill them—tending to focus more on the romantic struggles of the main couple each book, Sacrifice slammed right into an angsty mess of constant danger as Michael tried to keep everyone he cared about alive.

Read Full Review?

Dec
09

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: February, 2013 by Orion
Pages: 325
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Final Thoughts:
I left this one until last, the first chapter not exactly drawing me in a few months ago compared to that of Attachments and Landline. Since finishing those, I’ve had my paperback staring at me, telling me to hurry up before Rainbow has another book squashed in on my wobbly shelves beside it. Now, after closing the last page on Eleanor & Park, I couldn’t see why I’d put this one off for so long. Even though I’ve thoroughly loved all of her books, something about this one just sparked something in me that made me want to read and read and read.

Read Full Review?

Sep
09

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: August, 2014 by Usborne
Pages: 375
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Final Thoughts:
I expected to love this, and I did. Jumping on the Stephanie Perkins bandwagon late in the game, I’d only recently read the first two in this addictive contemporary romance trilogy. I don’t know how so many others did it, waiting so long for this final instalment. Each book is separate—with its own couple at the focus—so you’re not exactly left hanging, but they all fit together in a way that has you invested in all of their lives. It’s hard for me to pick a favourite because with each read, I got hooked again and again. Anna, Lola, Isla—they were all great. But I definitely loved that we got to go back to Paris this time around with Isla.

Read Full Review?

Aug
05

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July, 2014 by Orion
Pages: 310
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Final Thoughts:
I stopped mid-way through another book when this one arrived. It was calling to me. Rainbow Rowell and her magic phone…I couldn’t put it off. Her books warm me up in a way that not many others do. I just find myself immersed in the characters, really caring about their struggles, bursting out in fits of laughter at the wit, tearing up—all of it. The fact that the characters here were in their late thirties played no bearing on how well I could relate to them. No matter what age bracket, all of Rainbow’s characters have managed to strike a chord with me.

Read Full Review?