Posted in book reviews

Serious Moonlight – Jenn Bennett


After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

SOMEBODY PINCH ME, IS THIS BOOK REAL? I’ll count my fingers to make sure this wasn’t some dream…

I loved this. Before I would’ve said oh thats unsurprising, as I loved both [book:Night Owls|25327818] and [book:Alex, Approximately|34927042]. But after reading [book:Starry Eyes|35297469] with my book group, A Book Nirvana a few months ago, I had apprehensions about this. (I’ve also been debating if I’d have liked Starry Eyes if I wasn’t fast to a) lead a discussion and b) avoid awkward spoilers!! Sometimes people make mistakes. It happens).

Ultimately, everything Starry Eyes got wrong, Serious Moonlight got right. The parents in this aren’t always present – there’s a mixture of different family structures. Single parents, to being raised by grandparents and ‘aunt’s’. And it was beautiful. Where as in Starry Eyes it all felt very cheap and eh, in this it felt real. Authentic. Seeing that people aren’t always there but forming new connections with others and learn working to build bonds. Honestly, I cried.

THIS BOOK MADE ME CRY A LOT.
(Also I’m reviewing this as an ARC so I can’t use quotations BUT WOOW!).
So yes. The parental/family aspect was great. It showed blended families and how people work to build their bonds and dealing with guilt and grief and anxiety and it was wonderful and felt real and JUST GREAT.

Also the mental health aspect was very well done. I cried (again). The way they made it clear that this was a process, and that they don’t believe in the ‘love heals all’ mantra, but that it certainly can’t hurt, I liked it. I did. It was just two people coming to terms and understanding themselves. They were getting better for them. And they encouraged and supported each other and it was honestly beautiful.

THEY WERE JUST GREAT COMPLEX CHARACTERS. With Daniel’s partial deafness and other life issues, and Birdies sleep issues and life issues, there was some greatly done representation. The characters weren’t always PC in their thoughts but it was done in an inoffensive way that just showed an ingrained bias that people have and how to healthily challenge those thoughts and overcome a prejudice in a calm, respectable manner. I loved it.

As always, this is something Bennett seems to always do well in her books, is the positive representation of sex.

Anyways this book is great for so many reasons and I really liked it. It was cute, while a bit out there, but it managed to stay grounded in an authentic representation of reality – not just for those who are teens, but for everyone. While it embarked on ‘heavy’ subject manner, it did not patronise the reader or feel like it was pushing an agenda on you, but it was able to communicate the importance of listening and it demythologised the stigma and addressed many modern day fears we have surrounding public image/mental health/invisible diseases. These kids weren’t made out to be special snowflakes because of their illnesses, but at the same time it didn’t dismiss them in the fact that the way they experience some things in life are different from the ‘normal’ person & how they work around these obstacles.

The plot was well done. Usually in YA’S I can predict the plot twists etc but I DID NOT. I audibly gasped and was like NO. And then I immediately messaged Emer whose also read this, and promptly was like !!!! SHOOK. (She was too)

Also. WE NEED TO FREE OCTAVIA AND THE GOLDFISH.

I am just very happy with this book.
It doesn’t quite reach the four stars because sometimes I got fed up with the stalker-y aspects of it, and sometimes it felt a bit disjoined on where exactly this book was aiming to go and the point of it.

Anyways this is not an eloquent review at all but basically I have the FEEEEEELS for this and therefore !!!!! READ IT. It’s great.

Thank you Netgalley and the Publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Posted in book reviews

Crushed: A Hockey Love Story – Brit DeMille (Vegas Crush #1)

“No-fraternization policies were made to be broken.” Evan Kazmeirowicz, VEGAS CRUSH

This may sound reasonable coming from the star winger for the VEGAS CRUSH the day he lays eyes on the new social media manager for the team, but for Holly Laurent it’s a whole different story. Dating a “player” is a risky business, especially if she wants to keep the job she just landed with the hottest team in the NHL.

Holly loves her independence and her career. She’s doing just fine on her own, thank you very much. Allowing her head to be turned by a hot hockey player and putting her job at risk?

Not. Happening. Ever.

Not even if he looks like a god. Not even if he possesses enough charm to tempt the panties from a nun. Not even if she has to cross her fingers behind her back every time she tells him she’s not interested.

Policies exist for a reason. Rules are not meant to be broken and sexy players are not to be trusted. Right?

*CRUSHED is a full-length stand-alone novel of 60,000 plus words.
You’ll also receive the first chapters of SIN SHOT, another book in the VEGAS CRUSH HOCKEY SERIES.

‘She looks back at me as she leaves and I legit want to jump the barrier, skate to the glass, and beg her to let me sink my biscuit into her net.’

Like…page 4.

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I bought this. I ACTUALLY SPENT MONEY ON THIS AND I WOULD LIKE A REFUND.

I’m finding it hard to rate this any more than one star. It feels harsh in one way, because I’ve definitely read texts that were more offensive and badly written then this . . . but wow.

I mean, where was the editor for this? At one point the MC remarks that ‘he kissed from my belly to by public bone.’ Her PUBLIC bone???? P U B L I C BONE? Do not get me started on the amount of issues with the speech marks. How did they manage to miss it like FOURTEEN TIMES???? So, a character would start talking, “Hi my name is Gabby,” she said, I think this is a badly edited book,” she finished. DO YOU SEE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT SENTENCE? I am no grammatical wizard but when this is meant to a published book (that I spent money on!!!!) it’s unacceptable for this ‘mistake’ to happen SO FREAKING OFTEN.

Sometimes insta-love stories can work out but this one was a right lol.
The characters were just . . . wow. They were alright I guess, but where was the character development? Evan stopped sleeping with multiple girls and Holly slept with one? Cool cool cool cool.

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Not every character has to be likeable/perfectly/politically correct, but I did not like the discourse surrounding womanly bodies. I’m not sure if the author was trying to do some sort of subverting to the typical norms of what we as a society deem attractive, but the phrase “skinny bitches” is used, and later on Holly (the mc) remarks that she isn’t as “womanly as her” friend because she is too skinny and athletic (where her friend is curvy) Just . . . next.

Not to mention the usual slut thing (oh haha you slut, the character will exclaim. It’s meant to be in a joking way but you can tell the standards for the female characters and the male characters on sex are different.)

(Also this book would not past the Bechdel test AT ALL).

What also annoyed me – in relation to the woman/slut thing – is that men are being presented and promoted as sex craved monsters that are starved without it???? Evans (the MC) manager suggests he sleeps with the reporter to give her what she wants and implies that because he is a man he should just do it . . . and that’s so wrong. Like what the heck. We shame women for having ‘too much sex’ and then we shame men for ‘not having enough sex’ and we value people based on their sexual experience and ???? NO.

(Evan expresses how he feels ‘personally victimised by this statement’ but haha yeah let’s just laugh it off…UGH. DEMILLE I AM FRUSTRATED WITH YOU.)

I think this could’ve been very sexually liberating for Holly (personal pleasure, sexual experiences) and for Evan, challenging the tropes surrounding sex and the stigma…but no. It went one step forward, and then just jumped ten steps backwards. AND FOR WHAT?

Like look, I shamelessly love my steamy NA hockey player romances . . .
But not like this.

Not when it is just shady all the way through, lacks any sort of plot (will they ‘bone’ or won’t they?!?! Will the married female boss lady to Holly fire her for her relationship with Evan???? Because she’s jealous as her ‘hard nipples’ in a convo with Evan indicate!!!! Wait no???? It’s because her husband and her are having issues and a bunch of other thrown in backstory which is all to influence and inspire Holly to GO AND GET HER MAN!!!!)

I think the decent relationship in this is probably Holly and her Uncle Troy.

But yeah, this book was badly edited, not greatly written, shaming to multiple different groups of people (like, it didn’t even have a point to work on body image – beautiful comes in all shapes and sizes, or to talk about the double standards of sex, etc. It was just like hah I think I’m doing something clever but really I’m kind of an arsehole).

ONE LAST POINT!!!! Could the author make up what type of character they wanted Evan to be???? Sure characters are multi-faceted and come from diverse backgrounds but WOW. Here he is, showing off his fancy sport car (I think he even says how much it is lmao) but then oh no he lives in a humble apartment…and guess what. He’s Russian, but he’s American, BUT HE HAS A BRITISH ACCENT? WAIT – EUROPEAN. WAIT – SLIGHTLY RUSSIAN. I don’t know. I’m confused. His mums from Boston I think, his dad from Russia, and his mum wanted him to go to school in Britain. I don’t know. There wasn’t much about his family but a couple of throw away comments to layer his character but they were so brief in passing that it did jackshit but make me like ????

Yeah…I think the one star suits this and I want my money back.

Posted in book reviews

Light Years – Kass Morgan

Light Years is the first book in a thrilling new sci-fi series from the bestselling author of The 100.
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.
Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain – but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy – even if he has to steal someone’s identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong – he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret – she’s infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it’ll be her life on the line.
These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy – but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think…

OOOO I really liked this.

At first, I thought the multiple POV’s would get annoying and too much for me, but I enjoyed each and every one of them. I think they were all nicely paced, but my favourites probably have to be Cormack/Arran. Followed then by Orelia and Vesper. I liked the cast of all the characters – the mix of different planets and social classes they came from made it very interesting to see them interact, connect, and grow with each other.

The world building was pretty decent in this too. Usually I find in Sci-Fi’s that they info-dump and I find it hard to keep track, but this one was fairly easy to understand. I might not remember all the names of the planets etc . . . or if Earth was ever a thing in this one . . . but I appreciated that it wasn’t that complicated. People settled on different planets: the rich rip off and use the poor. There’s discrimination between the social classes, etc, etc.

I loved the whole crew dynamic with their banter and encouragement with each other, but also the conflict and the weariness. It was just really nice to read and watch them develop.

OH MY GOD THE ENDING!! I was for sure the ending was going to go a certain way and I was like 85% right. But I am H Y P E D. I’d very much appreciate having a book two to read right about now.

So yes, I did really enjoy this one. I read it all in one day because I liked the characters, the plot, and the writing. It was just very quick and easy to flick through – before I knew it I was 63% in and it felt like I’d only just started reading. I appreciated that. I can imagine that if I wasn’t in the mood for something like this then I might find it a bit more slower-paced, not a lot happening in plot wise for a while, but eh.

I just found it enjoyable.

CW, particularly Jason Rothenberg, keep your hands off this. I will not allow you to screw up another one of my ships.

I am expecting a lot from book two!!

3 (or maybe 4) stars!

Posted in book reviews

Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

I wish I liked this.

It’s hard to explain quite why this didn’t click with me – is it more on a personal level? Or the style of writing? I think it’s both.

The problem I found with this is that this lacked the ability to give readers freedom of thought. It seemed very one-stroke of a paintbrush, and if you didn’t get on with that, well then, you suck.

That is not to say by any means that I did not agree with the messages this book was trying to get across: I do. I agree schools and authority figures often use their power in the wrong ways, and females can be disadvantaged and treated differently. Dress codes can be sexist and barbaric. People can be wilfully ignorant and arseholes.

The problem with me is how it chose to show those who weren’t wilfully ignorant, just confused, lacking understanding. Due to the genre and the writing style, this is aimed towards young adults, and that’s why this is so frustrating. So you have Viv, the main character, and then Seth. New boy in town / love interest. This relationship dynamic was used to highlight how it is that boys can be ignorant and not quite understand (and probably can’t ever truly understand as they don’t live through the experience) but that just because they are doesn’t mean they’re ‘bad’. It’s the whole we’ve painted every other man in this story as jackass, but we must have a special snowflake (don’t worry photo store man, I see you). Viv and Seth’s relationship was there for used as an example and tool to how people can say things that perpetuate a matter of behaviour etc, but then this is how we should talk it out and discuss it.

Which is great. The only way to learn is to ask questions and discuss and be mindful. Love that.

However, it didn’t go like that for me. Everytime Seth seemed to ask a question Viv would get frustrated with him (understandable at times, when you’re fed up with the world treating you a way which isn’t just), but then she never really learned how to . . . not be. She’d talk to him. It would end in her going off and thinking they’ve broken up blah blah blah, multiple times. Or she’d tell him how she felt and then ended the conversation to avoid it. So Viv went the whole book moaning about how people are wilfully ignorant and stand by and let these things happen . . . and then just does it herself? For the sake of not losing her relationship with Seth? Even though the second her mum found a guy, that Viv immediately didn’t like because of his political views and profession (works with jocks, therefore he must be an arsehole too) she was recalling about how her younger version of her mum (which Viv idolises as some sort of ultra feminist) would’ve never done that?

So there comes to end of my first problem. Freedom of thought: this book often lacks giving good encouragement to readers to ask there own questions because hey, if you do, you’ll piss someone off or the issue will just get swept under the rug. But that’s not a way to learn. Questions etc should always be respectful and mindful but people growing up in this society aren’t always raised and born with these feminist values. So it sucks the book is shitting on that (and I will come back to more on this later).
Problem two: Viv and her ultra-feminist mum. If I hear Viv say she’s going to go and put on her Runaways t-shirt once more I swear I’ll burn it. Viv has this idolisation with the Riot Grrrls or something (can’t ever remember the name, oops) and always talks about how her mum was this ultra feminist with her coloured hair and rebellious streaks. This is then compared with her saying about how she’s so dutiful and looking around at the other girls and criticising them for all just being normal/boring . . . like ?? I’m not sure I understand this. It just really rubbed me the wrong way with how it was like well to be awesome feminist you’ve got to be a rebel and FIGHT BACK AND BE ANGRY AND YAY ANARCHY but like . . . no? You can still do your homework and not get in to trouble but still hold these values? There’s different ways of fighting back?

Yes, it’s impossible for a book to explore this all at once without feeling too long, messy, etc. But that’s the thing. It had these things in and S T I L L felt messy. I’m not sure if we’d call this problem number three or just the same problem but here: this book did try to include other issues – i.e. issues about race. Yet once again, it felt flat. It would make a comment here and there about race, saying about how unjust POC have it, and then . . . plateau off. Like CHECK!! THERE GOES MY INTERSECTIONAL BOX!!

This whole book just felt so very white feminist. There’s nothing wrong with white feminism. But it’s bad when you try and tick off these other ‘issue boxes’ in order to try and show hey look!! I am a good one!!!!

I want to compare this to Asking For It. That book is set in a small, mostly white town, in Ireland. It’s narrative focuses on rape culture. Never once when reading that was I fed up about how (privileged seems the wrong word here, but we’ll use it) privileged the feminism was. Because it just worked. It was able to tell a story and the impact of rape culture and how we can be our own worst enemies without every feeling preach-y. It made the reader THINK. It indirectly questioned them. Where this, this didn’t. Moxie just felt too preachy, and too cardboard cut out. I guess it never felt authentic.

And I think that’s because of the over exaggerations. When talking about this with my friends, I compared this to an early 2000’s movie or something like Mean Girls, that has everyone segregated off in to little factions, which are associated with certain behaviours. I.e you have the jocks, and obviously because they play sports they have to be a rapist arsehole.
I give this book it’s dues: it did sort of work past this towards the end. We had people interacting from different groups (oh yay the cheerleader isn’t a stuck up non-feminist bitch like we all assumed based on her status and one action – turns out she was being blackmailed and we shouldn’t judge!!) but that was it. And I wonder – why? Why segregate them like this? Schools, at least from my recent experience, weren’t that cookie cutter. So why not be in touch with more on how it is? Surely the story would’ve worked better if you did it more casually, instead of having to dramatizes every small thing? Readers aren’t stupid. It’s show not tell. So don’t fall back on those basic tropes. . .

I lost where I’m at now.

Anyways. There isn’t one type of feminism. This is a part of it. And the book did good towards the ending in showing about how you learn and grow and how it can be a powerful thing etc.

But then I question if the ending was even good. I guess sure, it was realistic that there was no real resolution for the rapist jock (it happens) but also the big dramatics at the end . . . was it too much?

Or was it just highlighting the power people can have? Who knows. I wish this book highlighted more though that feminism is something that some people desperately need & that it’s not just a cute little side club you sign up too as a hobby. It was getting there in the end, of you know, we should all be feminists and work to work on each others feminism, but it just seemed too well hey this is our cool little feminist club. But then again again, Viv realised that her mum in her flowers and her maybe not-so-perfect boyfriend still is a feminist and there’s no one right way to be one and that was good. You do grow as people, and because of this, your values grow and change. Mine certainly have within the last year. Heck, I can change my values and views within a month. It’s called evolving – but I think this book took too long, too many cheap shots, and just a lot of eye rolls, to get there.

I think I would’ve loved this book when I was 15. I’d be with you all screaming about how this makes my heart scream because YAY GIRL POWER AND FEMINISM AND FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT but now, after reading so many of these books, I’m tired. I’m tired that these ya books are all mostly told in the same preachy, almost patronising fashion, that can often contradict itself and weave in unfeminist points while trying to make feminist points . . .
Who knows. Maybe I just read this in a grump

2 STARS.

Posted in book reviews

From Twinkle, With Love – Sandhya Menon

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

Thank you NetGalley for providing me an e-arc to read!

YOU GUYS. THIS BOOK IS ABOUT FILMMAKERS – MAINLY FEMALE DIRECTORS AND I AM LIVING. If you know me, you know sometimes I go off on tangents, and one of those tangents is about how unequal the ration of male to female directors in big screen Hollywood films are. Like I think this year there’s only something like 3?? The director of the Darkest Minds, that wrinkle in time and blockers?? (This is in studio films – not counting Netflix films or indies). And that’s crazy. It’s like 3.3% are women. So I LOVED seeing this book highlight that women can and are great film makers.

I loved that Twinkle constantly wrote to her favourite female directors instead of “dear Journal” I think that added a cool, more personal touch to her diary entries. I thought I’d get annoyed with the fact that this story was mainly told through Twinkle’s diary entries, but after a while I forgot about it, and just really enjoyed the structure of diary entries, e-mails, note passing and text messages. I thought it was a nice way to tell the story and it flowed well.

I really enjoyed the female friendships in this, and how they weren’t always smooth, but no one person was demonised. In the end they all hashed it out and jumped over these stereotypes of what it is to be rich / pretty etc. I do think this could’ve been worked on better regarding more of how Dimple viewed herself (a groundling) but towards the end it was certainly hinted to.

I did just really enjoy this book – the filmmaking aspects, the characters, the romance, the plot. Definitely an improvement from When Dimple Met Rishi.

Posted in book reviews

A Very Large Expanse of Sea (SAMPLER) – Tahereh Mafi

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

I just read a sampler of this, provided to me by NetGalley, and I can’t wait for this book to be published so I can continue reading. Already I am captured by the story and the characters, and can’t wait to see where it goes and the emotions it explores on what it’s like to be a Muslim post 9/11, something I don’t know much about. I’m really liking the writing style, so will definitely be picking this one up when it’s published.

I think there’s already something very raw and authentic about this, with it being an own voices novel, and I hope this tone/theme of truthfulness and not holding back continues throughout the whole novel. From the first few chapters, it’s a heavy presence, but not too much in a heavy handed way that you feel like you’re being lectured to – it’s just there, and it’s a part of this characters experience and her story, and I’m interested to see how this folds itself in to a plot and how that develops.

Posted in other bookish posts

Reading Wrap Up – June 2018.

Hi all! I managed to read quite a few books in June of 2018! Here’s the list of what I read:

  1. Asking For It – Louise O’Neill

I read this novel with my Goodreads book group, A Book Nirvana. I did enjoy this read, and how it highlighted the problems with rape culture and showed the impacts it can have both on the victim, family, and friends. I think it did well on making the reader question and debate their own prejudices and opinions. The reason why this wasn’t a five star was because I found sometimes it was too-narrowed. This is understandable as it was told from one strict point of view, but I still think the book would have benefitted from fleshing out the story. For what it did though, three stars. Sometimes the writing and pacing slacked.

2. By Your Side – Kasie West

Once again, I read this for my Goodreads book group, A Book Nirvana, summer’s reading challenge. I did enjoy this book but found the characters to lack depth and any real purpose, and for the plot to be a mess. For more of my thoughts you can find my review by clicking here.

3. The Room mate, the Soul Mate, The Play Mate – Kendall Ryan

These are three individual books, but I listed them all together as they are part of a ‘Roommates’ series. These are some New Adult books, and I enjoyed them. I think on average I gave them all a two stars. While they were enjoyable there wasn’t that much to them. Just a quick, popcorn read, which I’ve now ultimately forgotten most of their plot lines. Books for when you’re bored, can’t be bothered to read something ‘more serious’, and just want some entertainment.

4. Nyxia – Scott Reintgen

Another book read for my groups Summer Reading Challenge, and I really enjoyed this one. I’m usually not the biggest fan of sci-fi, but this was very light on that aspect while still giving it a sci-fi feel. So if you’re not a big fan like I am, I find this a very accessible book in the genre. I did write a review on goodreads that you can find here. However, the review will be available sometime here on my blog. I gave this a high end three stars, and can’t wait for the sequel.

5. Warcross – Marie Lu

Another book read for the reading challenge, and I LOVED this one. I’ve always been a big fan of Marie Lu’s, so I had many expectations going in to this one. Previous to reading this I felt in a bit of a reading slump, not really enthralled with the idea of picking up a book and slugging through it in the hopes that it’ll be enjoyable. But this one! It reminded me why and what it is I love about reading. Look, I don’t deny the fact that this book isn’t perfect. You could call it cheesey and predictable and cliché, but I don’t care. It was brilliantly entertaining, I loved the characters, and really was a dose of medicine that made me feel better. My review for this will be up on my blog sometime but for now you can find it here on Goodreads.

6. Royally Bad – Nora Flite

I gave this book one star. This was another new adult book, and it was just . . .  meh. I found it very problematic with the way she was forcibly locked away so she couldn’t leave, and how she did it because she loved the boy (I think they’d only known each other a few days) and didn’t want to get him in trouble. The ending tried to pull a ‘wow, look at this shock factor’ but it just didn’t hit right. I think one star was generous for this.

7.  A Bad Boy Stole My Bra – Lauren Price (click the title to go to my review)

Funny, cute, and a quick read. This was previously a Wattpad novel, and one of the better ones I’ve seen come from the site. Thanks NetGalley for sending me this! In the end I gave it 3 stars.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K Rowling

I did it guys. I finally finished reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. YAY! This one had me gently sobbing during The Battle of Hogwarts. Anyways, I was a bit disappointed in this book because a lot of it didn’t seem to make sense (or maybe I’m just thick). There seemed to be a lot of plot holes and contradicting the previous laws of magic it had set up in the previous books? In the end I gave this a 3.

9. All Played Out – Cora Carmack (Rusk University, #3)

Another new adult book, and I enjoyed it. I have the whole entire series. They’re just purely ridiculous but they make me grin and entertain me. 3 stars.

10. The Score – Elle Kennedy (Off-Campus, #3)

This one made me laugh so much!! Another new adult series, and I really enjoy this one!! Once again, purely ridiculous but I can’t help but love them. 3 stars.

 

That’s it! That’s all I read in the month of June. It was a very good reading month for me, thanks to all those addictive and trashtastic New Adult novels. How many books did you all read in the month of June and which one was your favourite?

 

Posted in book reviews

A Bad Boy Stole My Bra – Lauren Price

Imagine waking up in the dead of night to find your hot new neighbour dangling out of your window. What’s more, he’s clutching your tattiest bra in his hand.

What. The. Actual. Fudge.

When bad boy Alec Wilde moves in next door to Riley, sparks fly. After their ‘unconventional’ introduction, Riley is determined to get her own back. A nemesis is just the distraction she needs: inside, she’s barely holding it together. It’s game on.

But behind the banter, there’s a side to Alec that Riley actually likes. How can she get through to the real him when she can’t even take herself seriously?

I’m 99% sure I read this on Wattpad, but I honestly didn’t remember much from the book so it didn’t really make any sort of difference in how I read this book (in terms of comparing it to the online, amateur, drafted version to this edited and professionally published one). However, knowing it came from Wattpad was always in the back of my mind, and I think even if you didn’t know, you could tell.

This book was very . . . typical teen-ish, I’m not sure how else to explain it. It had that typical high school setting with the jocks, the mean popular girl, and the main character who had to be awkward and sees herself as an outcast/loner (when she clearly wasn’t). I hate it when books do this. Riley kept repeating how she was an outcast, a loser, a loner, but the book never portrayed her that way. So why do it? It’s perfectly acceptable to write about a MC who just fits in. Is neither above the radar or on it. IT HAPPENS. (of course there’s nothing wrong with being above or under, but don’t say she is one of those things but then portray her as another. Where is the consistency?).

That grated on me slightly. As well with Alec, and how he’s a ‘bad boy’ but nothing about him is bad? People just make up rumours?? And she’s like wow what a bad boy?? Like once?? But he’s not?? I just.

This is where the whole ‘wattpad’ element comes in. For someone whose been on that site for seven years now, this is typical. You have these bad boy – loner female characters, who aren’t really either of those things, but the book ‘markets’ them in order to gain interest. However, the characters are neither of these things, and readers like them anyway.

I mentioned how this is typical teen-y, which I’m using as an umbrella term to also cover ‘cliché’. Hello, typical mean girl character. We have Tiana, whose reason for hating Riley we later find out (it’s ludicrous and pathetic, a bit of a stretch) and it’s just . . . ugh. She’s the typical mean girl, with the parents on the school board, who blackmails, wants the new hot boy, puts other girls down, etc. And she has no character whatsoever. She’s a very one dimensional ‘villain’ and it was boring. If her character was more developed and nuanced, it would’ve worked better. I didn’t care about her and ultimately knew what she was going to do to Riley (it was obvious, not much about the plot was). That took away from the excitement of the book.

I am truly just fed up of seeing these one dimensional female characters in YA. Stop making them just so tropey! This isn’t to say mean girls don’t exist but having them just one-dimensional and as bland as a piece of cardboard isn’t good writing.

Ah, the writing . . . it felt so childish, and amateur-ish at times. I’ve mentioned the lack on good characterisation, and that is down to poor writing. The writer relied to much on Riley telling the reader things, and not actually using her words to convey to the readers what she wanted to get across.

It was also typical cliché writing. It wasn’t terrible, but for a published book I think I expected better.

Just want to go back to the plot: ALSO SO PREDICTABLE. Of course (especially since this was a Wattpad book) you have the typical ‘gets too drunk and wakes up in his bed not knowing what happened’. Honestly. That needs to die. Just pretty much every *dramatic* thing that happened you could see coming a mile away . . .

I’ll move on to positives, because there are some of those:

NO SLUT SHAMING. YAY. I hate it when you have the females slut shaming each other, calling each other whores etc. There was none of that. There’s an incident with Tiana and Chelsea, but that’s about it. Yay. Congrats book.

The characters did have some development! Riley and Alec both learnt how to break down their walls. Riley gained confidence in herself.

(Just another negative now – I feel like there were too many side characters for them all to be developed. We also had her mum, her brother, his mum and sister, Violet, Chase, Joe and Dylan and too often they just blended in to one and had no real development of their own. I think if there were lesser characters then the author could’ve focused on developing these side stories (except they didn’t actually have much plots outside of Riley and Alec…but there you go)).

It was witty and funny. There were some moments that made me laugh and grin like a fool. Ultimately books, at least for me, are there to entertain and this certainly did that. I liked Alec (he wasn’t a douche YAY) and Riley, and the ‘slowburn’ of their romance.

Sometimes though the jokes got too dominating, and that’s where the amateurish writing came in. It focused too much on just having humorous scenes between the characters that didn’t really mean anything in the long run.

So yeah. The writing, plot, characters, could often be too cheesey and cliché that it became a little bit too like . . . ugh, but ultimately it wasn’t that bad. This is definitely one of the better books I have seen come from Wattpad (see my Bad Boy’s Girl review for reference on what a bad published Wattpad book looks like).

I think this is a 2.5. Maybe a 3. I need to think on it!

Posted in book reviews

The Nowhere Girls – Amy Reed

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

Who are the Nowhere Girls?

They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.

Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.

Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.

When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.

Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality

NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

I REPEAT, NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

Impromptu buddy read with my good friend Emer.

I’m going to write this review in a list like fashion because a) I like lists and b) it’s a lot easier that way cos I have a shit ton to say:

To start off with, I was really enjoying this book. I was loving the diverse rep of the different girls – it wasn’t your typical straight, white American, main characters. We had a mix of ethnicity’s, sexuality’s, body types, mental health/disabilities and social standings. It was wonderful seeing a mixture of diverse characters, with none of them feeling like the “token” diverse character. (However, there were some issues with this . . . will talk about this later).

I liked that the parents in this were also a mixture. We had the single parents, the absent parents, the loving parents. I liked that. But I had issues (I will talk about this later).

This contained fabulous conversations on self-worth and acceptance, on consent, etc. There was one part where they had a conversation with each other where the girls are having a group discussion and are sharing their different views on sex. For example, some feel like they just have to, even if they don’t enjoy it, that it’s required of them (they question if sex should be pleasurable for them). Others share that they like sex and aren’t ashamed of saying what they want. It was an interesting conversation, and I loved seeing them talk about it. These conversations are so important, and should be have. I think it’s a sad thing that so many schools shy away on these conversations when they’re needed.

I liked the friendship between the girls. They had their ups and downs but they were supportive and accepting of each other even if they don’t fully understand. I loved seeing that. They weren’t petty or hateful or spiteful of each other – and although this can happen in real life friendships, it was great to see positive and supporting friendships in a YA.

So to sum up: I liked the conversations this had on consent/sex, female friendships, diverse rep and female empowerment.

Things I disliked/had an issue with:

I mentioned in the beginning that I liked the diverse rep of characters. Part of this was that we had different characters with different social standings. We had the popular cheerleaders that defied usual YA stereotypes of them being the popular, bitchy, snobby mean girls. We had them humanised. They were friendly, supportive. Others took on some of the mean side and perpetuated some of the YA trope – where they fed in to misogynist ideas and slut shaming, but this added depth to their characters: we allowed to see them transform.

HOWEVER.

This isn’t the case with all the characters, this development only happens to a few. The rest. . . ugh. Most of the men in this book were horrible pieces of crap. Most of them couldn’t be trusted, they’d start off decent and then reveal their *true colours* which would be a freaking dirtbag. (And the ones who were good were just underdeveloped and bland. They were basically the stock good guys).

One character I keep thinking about, and each time getting increasingly mad about, is Amber. Amber lives in a trailer park, and everyone at school thinks of her as a ‘slut’ because shes ‘easy’. Amber has had sex with multiple men. They text her, and she hooks up with them. But this is the sad part. Amber feels like because she’s earned this reputation as a slut that she is, that she has to act like that. She expects it of herself, that she can’t be anything other than what everyone says she is. I really thought that throughout this novel Amber would go from having low self-worth and believing that she deserves the names she called and not truly understanding consent, to gaining more self-acceptance and self love and realising that she doesn’t have to have sex with boys because it’s expected of her. Sex should be something that she wants, that she can enjoy – she isn’t just an object for men to use.

That’s what I wanted her to realise. Except, her character just seemed to regress. As soon as she’s rejected she turns spiteful, mean, and lashes out at everyone, basically falling into the stereotype that everyone was saying she was. What I wanted from this rejection was for her to realise that not everyone sees her as a sexual object but as a human being who has other qualities, and for her to then realise that herself. But nope. She was just written as a spiteful bitch and then nothing else was said about her. She served her plot purpose and it felt disgusting. Why give her such a backstory like this if your only intention is to use her as a cheap plot device but not actually develop her character?? ugh. ugh. ugh. Why couldn’t she evolve to believing that she has more value than being used for sex?? but that sex can be positive and pleasurable and that having multiple partners doesn’t decrease her value. ughhhhh. hope that makes sense. Basically I didn’t like that some characters just fed in to harmful stereotypes. Why introduce them with such backstory’s that have such potential, but to then not?? Makes me rage.

So the parents. While I initially liked that they were a mixture, I eventually got fed up with them. They were so stereotypical. The harsh, overworked single mother. The mother who stays with her husband and fakes happiness but really just stays at home all day miserable with no outside life, and then the out-there hippie like parents (they were my favourites out of them, but still. UGH UGH UGH).

This also got very theatrical and over the top. The school was basically policed?? with like assault guns?? it was ridiculous?? The girls couldn’t even talk in groups, they were constantly getting detention and expelled for NO REASON. They were basically being framed by the adult/authority figures and treated like a bunch of criminals. It was just too over done for me. Especially at the end with them all crowding in the police station and screaming and crying and cheering…

Ugh. I don’t know. The ending was just rushed and therefore everyone felt underdeveloped, and everything too over dramatic in order to create *the feels* and have a big impactful ending. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work.

I just don’t know…for most of the book this was looking to be 4 stars and now I’m

 

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Posted in book reviews

The Humans – Matt Haig

After an ‘incident’ one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he’s a dog.

Who is he really? And what could make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

I REPEAT, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts about this novel, I really enjoyed some aspects but found it to be tiresome and lacking in other areas. This review will possibly contain spoilers so read with caution!

The Humans started off slowly – it took me a while to get in to the flow of the narrative style and to jump on board with our character. This book is told through the point of view of the ‘alien’ and he is essentially recounting his time on Earth in format of a book to the population of his home planet. Frequently questions are posed towards the reader (in this case the ‘alien’ species). What this does is take us – the actual reader – and places us in a different position: we, to this being, are the alien. And it makes us consider our position on Earth and the things we do that are the normal for us that to someone else from another planet would seem weird. For example: wearing clothes.

While this could be funny seeing him question and come to terms with humanity (such as realising spitting at people isn’t acceptable, going around to everyone and talking about achieving the ultimate orgasm) I eventually began to tire of it. Chapter after chapter begun to feel the same. You could take most of the chapters contents out and you still wouldn’t miss much of the story. I find that to be a problem, I feel like near on every chapter should mean something, not just a filler. I think this is because usually the type of books I read are quite action packed and work towards uncovering mystery or working to defeat a villain, and with this, while there was an objective, it wasn’t the main focus. Often the story just breached out in to discovering and unwinding humanity that I was wondering if we were ever going to get anywhere (i.e him getting in to trouble for not meeting his objective, etc).

This brings me to my main problem:

This book was very philosophical and romanticising in it’s prose. It seemed to try to take on a whimsical element, and sure, considering the origins of the character and the subject matter this seems like it could make sense. HOWEVER, I felt that it got too much, especially in terms of mental health. In the acknowledgements the author mentions his hard time with his mental health and how this book was the product of him working through that. Knowing that, you can see this reflected in the book. We basically have all these different versions of Andrew fighting against himself, we have the character, Gulliver, the son, dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. We have other characters from a mental hospital.

Gulliver, the son, tries to commit suicide by jumping off of a roof. He is miraculously saved by the healing powers, and since that moment it was hardly brought up again. It was dismissed, almost. No consideration of how this boy has serious mental health issues and needs professional help. I understand this wasn’t the main focus of the book, but I think if you’re going to use this as part of the plot line you treat it with care. It’s not “all of a sudden since being miraculously saved his problems disappeared”. Dealing with mental health takes work. It can’t just be magically “cured”

Also the scenes in the mental hospital I found difficult to swallow. To me it felt as if the character was like “lol maybe we’re all just crazy, it’s fine, it’s just because humans can’t understand themselves” and I just found that really insulting???? For someone who has mental health issues and who works on overcoming them I was like sureeeeee. To me it just seemed to then romanticise mental health as something cute and quirky – one person sprouts about Star Wars, someone else’s mental health basically makes their whole character – and I just didn’t like it.

So for me I found it to be too flowery and not raw enough. Yes, it’s not the focus of the book but if you want to explore this side of humanity you have to do it with a certain care. Such as the whole conversation on people being violent, the book seems to excuse violence as “well they’re not all bad all the time” “they fight the urges” “there’s more to humanity than that” like ok?? I get this is an alien but ugh.

So yeah – I just didn’t like the representation of certain elements.

What I did like about this book was that it was sometimes funny, it brought up interesting debates in to history and humanity: the problem is that not all of it managed to hit.

 

THREE STARS