Posted in book reviews

The Love Hypothesis – Laura Steven

An LGBT romantic comedy with a twist from the Comedy Women in Print prize winner Laura Steven, author of The Exact Opposite of Okay. A hilarious love story with bite, for fans of Sex Education, Booksmart, Becky Albertalli’s Love, Simon and Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Physics genius Caro Kerber-Murphy knows she’s smart. With straight As and a college scholarship already in the bag, she’s meeting her two dads’ colossal expectations and then some. But there’s one test she’s never quite been able to ace: love. And when, in a particularly desperate moment, Caro discovers a (definitely questionable) scientific breakthrough that promises to make you irresistible to everyone around you, she wonders if this could be the key.

What happens next will change everything Caro thought she knew about chemistry – in the lab and in love. Is hot guy Haruki with her of his own free will? Are her feelings for her best friend some sort of side-effect? Will her dog, Sirius, ever stop humping her leg?

The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven is a heartfelt, funny, and entertaining read. I really, really enjoyed reading this one, and I’m glad I decided to pick it up, after having Laura Steven on my radar for a while now. After reading this, I am definitely interested in reading more of her work.

I loved the parental relationship in this! The relationship Caro had with her two dads was beautiful, and they both had outstanding, quirky, personalities. (Dad reminded me so much of Captain Holt from Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

I really enjoyed the friendships Caro had. I don’t want to go in to too much detail with them, since I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it felt like a very real, and honest portrayal of friendship. Their relationship was good. And then it was rocky. And then it was somewhere in between. Ultimately, this was a story of how friendships (and relationships) change – and that’s okay. People can grow apart, other people can grow closer, and that is fine.

It was a story about self-acceptance, in all walks off life: friendships, romantic relationships, familial. And it was really good to read. Caro went on an amazing journey of self-realisation. Again, it’s hard to say much without spoiling but I loved how she was able to self-reflect on her own behaviour. The journey she want on made her more mindful, more accepting, more empathetic, and more honest. I love her. She had such a fantastic narrative voice, and I was invested in her story.

Also, this story was incredibly funny. I have a bunch of favourite LOL moments highlighted. And a bunch that made me cry, too.

What a great book.

4 Shining Stars!

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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.

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Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2) – Becky Albertalli

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I REPEAT, THIS REVIEW CONTAINTS SPOILERS.

I am so disappointed in this.

I found Leah instantly unlikable. I found her to be petty and incredibly mean, especially towards Abby. I hated how she didn’t like Abby because Abby was pretty, and how she was incredibly salty towards everyone else because they happened to have a bit more money than her. But you know, I got it. I tried to understand Leah, like yes it must be upsetting for her to be not as fortunate and to feel as if she was missing out, but I wanted this to develop throughout the book?

Did it? Heck no. Leah continued to be whiny and mean throughout the whole book, part from a few glimpsing moments, and ultimately I did not like her. What I think really put the nail in the coffin was when Abby came out as bisexual to Leah, she described herself as a ‘little bit bi’. This was a tremendous moment for her. She’d come out to her cousins or whatever, but she had only recently started figuring this part of her sexuality out, and Leah verbally attacked her. She said to Abby that it wasn’t possible to be a ‘little’ bit bi, she should just come out and say she is bisexual, because if not it sounds like she’s ashamed. I mean, excuse me Leah? You’ve, essentially, been hiding the fact that you’re bisexual from everyone and yet you’re accusing Abby of being ashamed? Like no one is forcing you to define your sexuality to them so stop telling Abby how it is she has to define hers. A few pages later Leah mentions that “gender is a social construct” and I’m like ?? Leah if you’re on board with that how do you not understand the sexuality is fluid?? And it is possible to be a little bit bi?? Like Abby might have a strong preference for men, but likes some women too? Like don’t be a dick Leah.

Once again, this could’ve been good, if Leah developed past this point. Sure she apologises to Abby (who basically acted like nothing freaking happened, she just takes all of Leah’s shit) but we never really see her grow past this. That’s what’s annoying. We never really see Leah grow. She’s just constantly bitchy and horrible when something isn’t done the way she wants. THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE BOOK. It got tiring.

Also I could hardly remember most of these characters from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and this book didn’t really do much in reestablishing them. It was like so this is that person and this at that person, and eventually my memory was jogged, but I definitely feel like if I were reading this without reading Simon, I wouldn’t care about half those characters. It’s just the memory (although not a lot of it) of those characters from Simon that had me invested.

And wtf?? Like she ruined Nick’s character?? I don’t remember him being so . . . idk, pathetic?? Constantly getting drunk and moping and just being a complete wet wipe of a character. ugh. NOPE.

THE FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS?? ALL SO CATTY?? I can’t. Like just making fun of Taylor? Being horrible to Abby? I just couldn’t deal.

The ending…what cheese. Skipped time, went to some lovey dovey email that made everything seem perfect. Like the message seemed to hint that Leah had gone through some character development?? but like???? what do I care or know since we didn’t actually see it through this 300 and whatever freaking pages? SO FRUSTRATING.

And then yeah, everyone else who was tossed to the side for the point of the MC’s romance conveniently all got paired off with each other because apparently everyone has to be in a relationship…

Can someone give me a map to the plot?? thanks. I’m a bit lost.

Yep. So disappointed with this.

ONE STAR

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Been Here All Along – Sandy Hall

“Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee and having his choice of colleges. They do not include falling head over heels for his best friend and next-door neighbour, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do . . .

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong . . .”

Not bad, not bad all. I quite liked this book. It was cute, and I liked the sort of slow burn romance between the two main characters.

The ending came suddenly. Abrupt. It felt like the book was just cut off. One minute I’m reading then BAM acknowledgements, and I’m like – is that it? That’s how you’re ending it? And I guess, it was good. It was happy. But it felt . . . eh. Everything seemed to happen all at once, despite their being a long build up. And this book was only 240 pages, but it did feel longer.

This book did other little nice things such as handle learning disabilities and providing support for those coming out as gay.

Other than all that though, this book didn’t really overwhelm me with it’s awesomeness. It was just a cute, quick and fun read.

3 stars.
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Chasing Red – Isabelle Ronin (Red, #1)

They said she was going to be my ruin…
Then let her ruin me.

Caleb Lockhart has everything—wealth, adoration, a brilliant future. Until a chance encounter with a siren in a red dress changes everything. Until he meets the woman he dubs Red.

Veronica Strafford’s past makes it hard for her to trust anyone. Now, kicked out of her apartment, she reluctantly accepts Caleb’s offer for a place to stay.

Caleb feels intensely drawn to Veronica. And, for the first time in his life, he really wants something—someone. Too bad Veronica’s heart might just be the one thing Caleb can’t win.

Thank you Netgalley/Sourcebooks for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I do like Chasing Red, don’t get me wrong. I first red it on Wattpad, and this published version has changes/differences to do with Veronica’s past – I do like these changes, as in the Wattpad version they were just – far fetched? Yeah. A bit out there and confusing.

Anyways, the writing is good but the problems lie more within the plot line. There isn’t really much plot or action at all? And I in no way mean that as a sort of pun towards Caleb/Veronica but really?? Most of the book just revolved around them trying to resist sleeping with each other and their other various relationship issues. I mean…it was okay, but wasn’t really entertaining enough. And then, about 83% of the way into the book the drama and plot begins to unfold with the “fork in the road” conflict with Beatrice-Rose and Veronica realising it’s time for her to stop running and fight.

This no doubt leads into the sequel. However, I feel like a lot of this book could have been cut down and Chasing Red/Always Red could’ve remained together as one book. This one really just felt like a really looooooooong lead up to the sequel.

Caleb was probably the most developed character. Where as with Veronica, it really took until about the 98% mark for her to have some sort of development. I just feel like throughout this all there was too much back and fourth on the personality. Yes, this goes with Veronica and her uncertainty, but as a reader it can get boring reading about someone for like 300 pages going “should I? Shouldn’t I?” Then the whole *drama* happened and this all worsened and ugh!

I did also quite like the female friendships. They were there for each other and didn’t put each other down and that was cool. But their friendship just mainly seemed to revolve around the men in their lives and not about them??? I think every conversation they had was about Cameron / Theo / Caleb or being interrupted by a man. So yeah. It’s nice to see friends being supportive, but maybe show that women can talk about other things apart from clothes and boys??? For example – Kara is a boss. And that’s kick ass. She came into this book as a fiery business woman but that quickly went downhill, soon enough she was just another girl with *boy drama* and it was sad to see her reduced to ONLY that. So yeah. These girls and their friendship had their strengths but I’m only hoping this can also be developed in the second novel.

So I overall give this 2 stars. I’m tempted by 3, but I can’t really see enough reasons for that much of a high rating.

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Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1) – Veronica Rossi (A Review)

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

I’d heard a lot about this book prior to reading it. I heard it was a dyspoian styled story, where the main character is fighting for her survival out in the wilderness. Now loving Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games, I thought I’d also like this book. But I’ve been putting off reading it, new books always finding themselves in to my hands before this one, until one day I just sat down and decided that today was the day I read Under the Never Sky.

I found the whole world a bit confusing. The different “Realms” and the matter of virtual life and real life got a bit confusing, and I struggled to understand how it would all work and why people are so eager to buy into it and accept a virtual world as real. But as the book went on I began to understand more. I can’t deny that it was interesting, but it was frustrating to spend the beginning of the book like ???

The beginning of the book certainly didn’t start of slow. We’re thrown into sudden action, drawing in your attention as you question why, why, why about everything that happens. Once again, these why’s weren’t answered towards the ending of the book. This is understandable as if it was all suddenly revealed at the beginning there wouldn’t have been much mystery at all, but at the same time at points it felt slowly drawn out.

This book is told from both Perry and Aria’s perspectives. This was great since they both come from two different worlds essentially, and we got to see and understand both through them. It also helped to understand the tension between the two different types of people, as we got to see how much hate and wary they are to each other (not that it lasts for long!)

There was some good world-building going on with the different tribes and the different “powers” that people have. I’m looking forward to seeing more of these tribes and tensions play out in the next installment.

I really am kicking myself for not having the next two books on hand so I can binge read this series. But oh well, something to look forward to reading in the New Year!

You can also check out and like this review on Goodreads!

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The Next Together (The Next Together, #1) – Lauren James (A Review)

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

Oh wow, I loved this book. It was great.

In particular I loved the way the story was told. Through newspaper articles, e-mails, notes, blog entries or just normal prose, it was great. I thought at first the constant change between formatting would get annoying, but it didn’t. It kept me on my toes & searching for clues. The timeline at the top of the page also changed to the date in coordination to which story was being told/when it was being told. Details like that made me happy – and the fact that every time it changed between time periods, so did the font (I looked waaay to much into this, I think).

In several reviews I’ve seen people pick their favourite Katherine/Matthew and the favourite time period. But I just can’t. I love them all. What I love is that even though they are essentially the same people reincarnated over and over again, they still seem like separate characters. They have some of the same quirks (I personally love those old-timely ‘that’s what she said jokes’ that Matthew made, which Katherine soon picked up) but still each character has their own story, so it doesn’t really seem like you’re reading the same thing over and over again just in a different setting.

This book really does have everything: romance, history, time travel, reincarnation, war, dystopian-esque features, humour, and two really strong protagonists. So whatever your a fan of, you’ll more tan likely find something to your tastes in this book.

The ending was slightly anti-climatic. Throughout the whole book it seemed like we were building up towards something so dramatic, so life-changing, a really great reason as to why they kept living over, and over, and over again…and then it was revealed and it just fell flat. There was too loose strings, and the last page certain didn’t help  (like helloooo? the little kid typing that code like THE CODE THAT WAS USED THROUGHOUT THE BOOK, BY THE PEOPLE SEEMINGLY WATCHING AND CONTROLLING THE FATE OF MATTHEW AND KATHERINE???) and I’m hoping the next book will address this (Although to the most of my knowledge, the next one is completely new characters).

So it wasn’t a bad ending but it wasn’t great either. The whole book was enjoyable & great, and the finale didn’t live up to it. Still looking forward to the next book & I highly recommend that if you haven’t already read this, then you do!

 

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Dangerous Lies – Becca Fitzpatrick (A Review)

Stella Gordon’s life is a lie.

She does not belong in Thunder Basin, Nebraska. As the key witness in a murder trial, Stella is under witness protection, living a life she doesn’t want. No one can know who she really is. Not even Chet Falconer, her hot, enigmatic neighbour. But against her better judgement, Stella finds herself falling under Chet’s spell …

A storm is brewing. Is Stella really safe in Thunder Basin? And will Chet be her shelter, or her downfall …?

I have been a fan of Becca Fitzpatricks since the first Hush, Hush book was released, and I’ve stuck with her ever since.  So when Dangerous Lies was released I was excited to get my hands on her new novel, despite the fact that the novel before that – Black Ice – wasn’t a big favourite of mine. But still, I can’t turn away from one of her books, no matter how hard I try.

I’m so happy that I gave this book a chance. 4 big fat stars go to this book. The character development is great. In the beginning our main character Stella is determined to do whatever she can to rebel against her situation. Her and Carmina, her ‘foster mum’ clash, not getting along one bit. But throughout the book their relationship develops and they begin to open up to each other. One of the best things about this book is watching the relationship between these two characters flourish and develop.

Originally, by the marketing I had seen for this book, it seemed that it was going to be more of a mystery/thriller type book, but it was more of a romance. Which was fine, it worked well, and there was still some twists and turns along the way to keep the mystery up. This whole novel is more character-driven than plot based.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy, fun read. Now I’m waiting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what great things Becca Fitzpatrick comes up with next…

You can also view this review on Goodreads!