May
23

Title: How To Not Fall In Love, Actually
Author: Catherine Bennetto
Published: January, 2017 by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 512
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).

So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.

Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.

Final Thoughts:
Oh, this book cracked me up so much. With such strong personalities, these characters lit up the pages. It was hard not to love even the annoying people as their idiosyncrasies brought Emma’s disastrous world to life. Pregnant, broke and getting nowhere in life, Emma’s up shit creek, but watching her wade her way through it was just so heart-warmingly awkward and fun.

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Aug
06

Title: After You (Me Before You #2)
Author: Jojo Moyes
Published: September, 2015 by Michael Joseph
Pages: 407
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. And when an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

In a church basement, with the motley crew of the support group Moving On, Lou attempts to kick-start her life again. And when she meets strong, capable Sam Fielding things seem like they are going in the right direction. This is until a figure from Will’s past appears out of the blue . . .

Final Thoughts:
I went into this expecting too much. Or something different. I’m not quite sure. It IS about Louisa moving on with her life, but much of the book is taken up, or rather, derailed, by Lily, a teenage daughter of Will’s, unbeknownst to him at the time of his suicide. And yes, that gets brought up, throwing around blame, that the knowledge of her existence could have possibly changed his mindset. The book really comes across as the Lily story, with Lou on the outside, having the occasional life problem of her own as she tries to bend to Lily’s whims. This is pretty much where my problem with the book lies.

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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.

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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.

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Mar
25

Title: Grift
Author: Jason Mosberg
Published: March, 2015 by Smashwords
Thanks: Jason Mosberg
Words: 74,930 (ebook)
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Smashwords

Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

Final Thoughts:
This was such a refreshing read. What starts out as a simple kidnap scenario escalates into a gripping plot of greed, betrayal and Las Vegas. And the protagonist is seventeen!—which I thought was fantastic. Sure, there are plenty of adult themes that require an older character for it to be somewhat inoffensive, but to be perfectly honest I was just so glad to have a YA caper/noir where the leads weren’t filthy rich, irresponsible early-to-mid teens pretending to be responsible and mature twenty-somethings.

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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.

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Nov
13

Title: Witches of the East (The Beauchamp Family #1)
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Published: June, 2011 by Little, Brown Book
Pages: 273
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Freya, Ingrid and Joanna Beauchamp love their sleepy life in the East Hamptons. A new engagement, promotion at work, a happy home – its all going perfectly. And, to top it off, no one’s come close to discovering the secret of what they can really do in hundreds of years. But throw a few accidental love potions in the mix the Beauchamp girls are going to need more than a broomstick to clean up this mess…

Final Thoughts: This review is arriving a bit late to the party – I finished the book in early August just so I could watch the TV series without the risk of spoilers. Now season one of the series has ended in Australia and I still have yet to write about the book itself. Witches of the East (or Witches of East End depending on the edition), would you believe it or not, was the first book I’ve read about witches – WHAT?! – but I think it was an excellent intro to the genre. Part of my liking it had to do with the fact that the main characters are not teenagers, nor are they whiny or self-obsessed. Rather they are a mother and two daughters, each with secure jobs, stable friendships, and positive attitudes, and who’re in complete knowledge and command of their supernatural powers.

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