Literally

Literally

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. 

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. 

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? 

Thoughts:

I had heard so many things about this book that I knew it was one that I wanted to read. Being a book blogger though there are so, so many books that I want to get to it. I finally found time for Literally though and I’m glad I’ve read it. I can see that it would appeal to loads of readers, especially fans of YA.

Literally centres around Annabelle who has always been pretty perfect. She’s clever and well liked. However, one day she finds out that bestselling YA author Lucy Keating (yes, the author) is writing the story of her life. Annabelle doesn’t want to live her life plotted by an author. She wants to live her own life. Annabelle’s life has become drama filled with her family home being sold, her parents’ separation and a love triangle. It really does seem like Annabelle’s life is right out of a YA novel.

This was such a strange book, but different at the same time. I’m not quite sure whether I think the author being in this book is cringy or cool. Sometimes I thought it was genius and other times it seemed a little awkward. I’m sure it was meant in a tongue-in-cheek way. I think the Lucy Keating in this book was an exaggerated version of herself.

At the heart of it, Literally really is your typical YA story. It’s love triangle, romance and drama galore. If that’s what you want in a book, then you’re in for a treat with this one. I did enjoy this book, especially for the risk that Lucy Keating took in writing herself into the story.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A very unique book. It’s not one I would rave about, but I’m glad that I read it!

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Windfall

Windfall

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Thoughts:

I enjoy Jennifer E. Smith’s writing so I was looking forward to reading it. I was especially intrigued about the subject matter… winning the lottery. It’s not just about the good parts of winning the lottery, it’s about the trouble that goes with it. The fame, those that crawl out of the woodwork and the way it undeniably changes you.

Windfall centres around Alice, Teddy and Leo. Alice buys Teddy a lottery ticket for his birthday as a joke. She never expects him to win, but when he does she worries about him changing. Teddy really wants Alice to take some money, but she is stubborn and doesn’t want the money to change things. Alice has liked Teddy as more than a friend for a long time and is longing to be with him. Will the money change the Teddy that she has loved for a long time?

The thing I love about Jennifer’s writing is the characters that she creates and Windfall is no different. Alice, Leo and Teddy are such fabulous characters (even if they do irritate at times, but who wants a perfect character?) Alice in particular, has gone through a lot in her life after losing her parents not long after one another. Alice lives with her Leo (her cousin) and his parents that took her in when her parents died. They’re incredibly close and so is Teddy, their friend. They look out for one another and it’s adorable.

This is a book that it is heavy with the plot. Not much happens, but at the same time it is an exploration of family and what that means.  The plot is pretty predictable, but I didn’t mind that. I wanted to see how things would turn out for the three. To me, it’s definitely a character driven novel. It’s a story that doesn’t take long to read at all.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

A very sweet, easy to read YA story!

Love, Hate & Other Filters

Love, Hate & Other Filters

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hot Key Books/Bonnier

Synopsis:

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Thoughts:

I have heard so much about this book over the past few months. I wanted to read it because I knew it was an important story for the author. One of my best friends is Muslim and Islamophobia is something that I feel very, very strongly about. This book wasn’t quite the amazing read that I wanted it to be. It was incredibly powerful at points and heart-breaking at times.

It centres around Maya who is torn between two paths. There’s the path in which her parents want her to be the good Indian daughter, get a respectable job and marry a suitable Muslim boy and the path where she wants to follow her dreams and go to NYU to study film and pursue a guy that she’s interested in. Alongside Maya’s confusion, there’s a horrific crime. Her peers, neighbours and community become consumed with fear and hatred. She experiences Islamophobia. Maya has to find her way in a world that seems to hate her and parents that are determined for her to be a certain way.

Maya came across as a teen very well. Apart from the mention of being Muslim, I don’t feel like she had much of a Muslim identity. I don’t know if that was intentional by the author- making her seem like all her peers. It was just something I observed.

I really enjoyed reading a story from a different voice. I do think I expected more about Islamophobia and I got more about the romance. Don’t get me wrong, it was good to read. I enjoyed Maya as a character and thought her romance was very sweet. I liked how this book had important messages about not judging those on their race and religion. Maya and her parents were often discriminated against, even though they’d been in the community for a while, they weren’t fully accepted due to their religion which is infuriating.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A fabulous debut about love but also sadly, hate!

Wait For Me

Wait for Me

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

Thoughts:

I have read so many books about World War II so I always get very excited when new books come out. Imagine my excitement when I heard about Wait For Me which was YA based. I do love YA and I’m not afraid to admit it!

Wait For Me centres around Lorna who lives on a farm in Scotland. It is 1945 and alongside going to school, Lorna is helping her father on the farm whilst her two brothers are fighting in the war. Life changes for Lorna and hr family when Paul, a German prisoner of war is sent to help at the farm. Lorna is very hesitant at first, but over time she learns more and more about Paul and finds herself falling for him. This is a dangerous relationship, but Lorna is completely drawn to Paul.

I absolutely devoured this book. I loved Lorna and thought she was such a great character. I loved her determination and her acceptance of Paul as he was. Paul is completely likeable as well. I loved how Caroline Leech portrayed his story and showed the reader his history. They were a likeable, believable romance. As well as Lorna and Paul, there were some more fabulous characters. I really liked Nellie, who helped them on the farm. I also enjoyed reading about Lorna’s dad.

This story is definitely more about the romance and not so heavy on the World War II content. It is there, but it’s more about the relationship developing between Lorna and Paul. So if you’re into romantic historical fiction then this book could be for you!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A sweet WWII romance. A fantastic debut!

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- Finding Jennifer Jones

Finding Jennifer Jones

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Kate Rickman seems just like any other nineteen-year-old girl. She goes to university, she dates nice, normal boys and she works in her local tourist office at the weekend. But Kate’s not really normal at all. ‘Kate’ is in fact a carefully constructed facade for a girl called Jennifer Jones – and it’s a facade that’s crumbling fast. Jennifer has spent the last nine years frantically trying to escape from her horrifying past. Increasingly desperate, Jennifer decides to do something drastic. She contacts the only other girl who might understand what she’s dealing with, breaking every rule of her parole along the way. Lucy Bussell is the last person Jennifer expects any sympathy from, but she’s also the last person she has left.

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Looking For JJ when we read it last year, so I was intrigued to read the sequel. Looking For JJ was a dark and intriguing read. I wondered whether the sequel could possibly match it. I wasn’t disappointed though, even though for me, it didn’t quite match its predecessor!

The story takes place some time after Looking For JJ. JJ is living as Kate and attending University. She lives off campus, has a job and is attempting a normal life after the terrible events that have happened to her. However, Kate is not happy. She’s trying to move on with her life but things keep getting in the way. Nearby, a girl is found after drowning in the sea. Kate has a past and there are things that connect her to the suspected murder. Kate also reaches out to a childhood friend, Lucy, who was also involved in Kate’s past.

I loved reading about the difficulties Kate suffered. That sentence sounds wrong. I don’t like reading about misfortunes, but I appreciate when characters go through hardships after experiencing something awful as that’s real.

Finding Jennifer Jones tied up some loose ends and left me satisfied with how life was going to continue for our main character. I grew to love this character, despite some awful choices that she made. I really enjoy Anne Cassidy’s writing!

For Beth’s wonderful review, please check out her blog post HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Come back to Chrissi Reads on 2nd January 2018 to see the Kid Lit choices for 2018!

Geekerella

Geekerella

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Thoughts:

I think I’m in the minority with this book. I was expecting to love it and rave over it like so many other bloggers are doing, but for me, Geekerella was a decent read but not one that I’ll revisit or rave about in the future. That hype monster well and truly got me. Don’t get me wrong, it was an easy to read, cute story. I just didn’t get it as much as others have done.

Geekerella is a literally its title. It’s a geeky retelling of Cinderella. It’s a modern retelling of the fairy tale. It centres around Elle who is treated pretty badly by her stepmother and stepsisters. They find her strange because she’s absolutely obsessed with the sci-fi show Starfield. Elle connects with the show so much because she spent many an hour with her father discussing/watching/doing anything to do with the show. Elle loves being part of the fandom as she feels like it’s where she belongs. It’s who she is. We also hear from the point of view of Darien Freeman who has just been cast as Carmindor in the movie remake of Starfield. Hardcore fans are sceptical about Darien, including Elle who writes a rather harsh blog post about his casting. Darien struggles with fame, fandom and everything that goes with having a major part in a much loved show.

I think my main problem with this book was that I wasn’t overly fussed on Starfield. I liked references to other fandoms because I knew about them and they were familiar to me. I totally get that this was the point of the story- to relate it all back to Starfield, I guess I just felt disconnected to it.

The characters, however, were amazing. I absolutely loved Elle and her journey to find out who she really was instead of being told by her stepfamily who to be. I loved that she embraced her geekiness. I also thought Darien was a fabulous character. He seemed like he was incredibly confident taking on this massive role at a young age, but really he was insecure and worried about how he was going to be perceived. He wanted it to go well and to prove himself.

I do think there’s so much to be enjoyed for many readers in this book. It just didn’t blow me away as much as I wanted it to and that’s okay!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An enjoyable read! It may not be for me, but many others will really love it!

A Quiet Kind Of Thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Beautiful Broken Things

Synopsis:

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 

Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Sara Banard’s debut novel so I was super excited to get to read A Quiet Kind Of Thunder. I always worry when I enjoy a debut so much because sometimes the next book can’t quite live up to it. However, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder was a stunning read which was both cute and moving at the same time.

It centres around Steffi who has been unable to talk to others that aren’t close to her. She is a selective mute. It doesn’t mean she chooses not to speak, she physically finds it difficult and can’t speak to others. No one has ever been able to put their finger on why Steffi can’t speak to others. There are a lot of things that have happened in Steffi’s young life, but the selective mutism came before some tragic events. Steffi is starting sixth form with the pressure of some new people and having to talk as her best friend has moved to college. Steffi knows staying at sixth form is easier, because others are aware of her difficulties. A new guy, Rhys, starts the sixth form. He is deaf and she is asked to be his guide because she knows sign language. Rhys and Steffi begin to build a beautiful friendship. He helps her learn more about sign language and Steffi helps him around sixth form. Gradually they grow closer and develop feelings for one another. They become very dependent on one another. It’s the sweetest thing!

This book won’t be for every reader as it is quite sickly sweet with the romance. However, I was fully on board with it. It was a cute, believable romance. It wasn’t just about that though. It was about Steffi’s journey to recovery. Life wasn’t easy for her just because she had found someone. I appreciated the representation of selective mutism and social anxiety. It wasn’t an easy fix and I adore that in a book. Give me more realistic mental health books! 🙂

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I highly recommend this sweet read!