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.

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Jul
06

Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Published: August, 2014 by Swoon Reads
Pages: 247
My Rating: ★★★★½ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

Final Thoughts:
Not going to lie, I picked this book up purely because one of the POVs is a squirrel, and my RPT (Random Page Test) landed me on the squirrel telling us how his friend’s tail got trodden on one summer and has never been the same since. That was all I needed. I bought it, took it home, and got stuck right into it. By the end of the novel I was in love. A Little Something Different is not only hilarious, and romantic, but as the title suggests, it provides us with a new way of experiencing the YA contemporary/ romance: from the perspective of basically everyone except that of the target ‘couple’.

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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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Apr
04

Title: You Had Me At Hello
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: December, 2012 by AVON
Pages: 436
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

What happens when the one that got away comes back?

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.

It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

From the moment they met they’d been a gang of two; partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is definitely not. In fact, the men in her life make her want to take holy orders…

Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Final Thoughts:
While not as addictive as her second book, I still found plenty to love in You Had Me At Hello. Work drama, friendship drama, love drama, life drama—there was lots of drama. Like Mhairi’s other book, this was really the kind of thing you’d want to see made into a big-screen romcom. My only qualms came from the overuse of flashback chapters. I kept finding myself wanting to get back to the present and see what was going to happen next. Still, there were some good moments and depths added to characters that those trips to the past added in.

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May
26

Title: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published: January, 2010 by Penguin
Pages: 416
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Anna has everything figured out – she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere… Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he’s taken – and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-missed end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?

Final Thoughts:
I loved the book. I mean, really…never-wanted-to-put-it-down kind of loved it. I kept finding myself reading extra chapters even after I’d told myself I needed to sleep. It was that kind of book. Although it came out years before Fangirl, I found it gave me a similar kind of giddy rush while reading. I was immersed within their world, really caring about their lives and desperately hoping they would just get things together already. This is a relationship in a book—the good, the bad, all of it. I wasn’t even finished reading it and I was already online ordering the companion novels. I NEED more of Stephanie Perkins. She made me believe in YA romance again.

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Apr
07

Title: Timestorm (Tempest #3)
Author: Julie Cross
Published: January, 2014 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 358
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The battle between the Tempest division and Eyewall comes to a shocking conclusion in this final installment of the Tempest trilogy, where the need for survival stretches the boundaries of history, both past and future, and the world Jackson once knew is a place forever marked by the detrimental effects of time travel.

As Jackson recovers from his brush with death, he’s surrounded not only by the people he loves most—his dad, Courtney, and Holly—he’s also amongst a few of the original time travelers. As he learns more about their life and how this world began, it becomes apparent that they need to put a stop to Thomas and Doctor Ludwig’s experimenting at Eyewall Headquarters. What starts out as an escape plan becomes a war between time and humanity, between freewill and peace. It’s the battle Jackson was born to fight and he’s not about to back down. Not for anything. Not for anyone.

Final Thoughts:
What was with that ending? No, I’m not going to give it away, but seriously…I didn’t like it. Timestorm was all over the place for me. There were moments where I was in love with the book, where it managed just the right balance of time-traveller stuff and the romance, but at other times, the book had a tendency to drag. It was the final book, so I expected a back and forth battle between the series-long antagonist, Thomas, and our hero, Jackson, but unfortunately that played out as more of a side issue to the Jackson/Holly love saga.

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