Seven Days Of You

Seven Days of You

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

Thoughts:

I have had this book on my TBR for over a year now, so I thought it was about time that I got around to reading it. I was aware of some reviews that weren’t overly complimentary about the story. In some ways, I can see why, but I thought it was an okay read and it definitely didn’t take me long to read at all. I think it would make a good beach read or a book in-between heavier books.

Seven Days of You follows Sophia who is entering her last week in Tokyo before she moves back to the US. She’s struggling with the thought of leaving her friends and the place that she loves spending time in. Sophia has set an alarm counting down the days, hours and minutes until she leaves. An old friend named Jamie is back in Tokyo during Sophia’s last week and he makes the last week pretty unforgettable.

I think my main frustration with this book was that I didn’t feel like I got to know Tokyo. I’ve never been there, so I really wanted the setting to be rich and descriptive. I wanted to go on an armchair adventure, but it definitely wasn’t for me. It really could have been set anywhere because I didn’t get a strong sense of place.

I did think the romance was believable and I liked how it was initially based on friendship. I think the relationship was hopeful for the future at the end of the story. To me, this story isn’t a love story for Tokyo, it’s a story about finding out who you are readdressing the friendships in your life. I don’t think Sophia’s friendships were as strong as she thought they were and it was interesting to read her discovery of this fact!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! Read this book if you’re into contemporary YA and you’re looking for a quick read.

Whilst I wasn’t blown away by this book, I did think it was easy to read and it barely took me long to read at all!

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner

Nice Try, Jane Sinner

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.
 
Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.
 
As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.

Thoughts:

I had heard really good things about Nice Try, Jane Sinner so I was super excited to pick it up. I used to watch a lot of reality TV… not so much these days apart from a few guilty pleasures. I thought this book was an incredibly original debut novel and I’m excited to see what Lianne Oelke writes next. If this book is anything to go by, her writing career will be very promising.

Nice Try, Jane Sinner centres around Jane who is expelled from high school. It takes the reader a while to find out the reason why, but it comes. Jane decides to start community college attracted by being a participant of a reality show run by Alexander at the community college. The reality show is called House Of Orange. It involves living in a house with other people and cameras everywhere. A Big Brother type show for college aged students. Jane has to interact with new people, try new things and step outside of her comfort zone. There’s competitions and Jane is determined to take them seriously. She really wants to win.

Jane isn’t an easy character to like, but I did really grow to like her and root for her. She had such dry humour which I loved to read. It’s a very funny book and its humour is definitely its strong point.

I really enjoyed the style of this book. Most of it is told via a journal. I absolutely adored this touch. I thought the narrative was incredibly well-executed. Lianne Oelke is a truly talented writer. I was amazed at how well the characters were developed and how the scenes unfolded. It felt like it was happening before my eyes, rather than reading a journal entries.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Nice Try, Jane Sinner is an outstanding debut! I was so impressed. 

The Education Of Margot Sanchez

The Education of Margot Sánchez

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

THINGS/PEOPLE MARGOT HATES:

Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot 
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts. 

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.

Thoughts:

I have heard such good things about this book that I knew I needed to get to it ASAP. I’m really pleased that I found time for it because I thought it was a decent read. Lilliam Rivera is a fantastic writer. I couldn’t believe that it was her debut!

I would describe The Education Of Margot Sanchez as a story about becoming who you really are. Margot is desperate to be liked by the popular gang at her private school. Margot has two sides… her side where she pretends she’s has a wealthier more edgy side to her to her peers at school. Then there’s the side that is family orientated and proud to be different/expressive. The story follows Margot as she grows and develops as a person and works out who she really wants to be.

Margot starts off as such as annoying, insipid character, but she really does grow as a character throughout the book. That’s something I really enjoy. I also really salute to lack of insta-love. Too often a girl falls in love at first sight and it makes my eyes roll. This didn’t happen between Margot and Moises. I also loved how as a reader, we’re left wondering whether they got together or not. I don’t always like ambiguity in a story, but this really worked for me.

I loved that this story had a Latina character. I also appreciated the many issues represented in this story, despite the fact that the story is less than 300 pages. It’s much deeper than you first anticipate. I loved how this story didn’t wrap everything up. Life isn’t wrapped up for anyone and that should also be the case in stories. Much more real!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic debut- well worth reading!

Show Stopper (Show Stopper #1)

Show Stopper

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

Thoughts:

I was invited to read the second book in this series, I agreed before I realised it was a series! I knew then that I had to read the first one. I was hoping to really like it so my commitment to review the second book wasn’t such a chore. Luckily for me, I really did enjoy Show Stopper. It’s an incredibly dark YA novel. I think it may cause contention with some because it’s very much about those ‘pure of blood’ being separated from those that are more diverse. They are treated awfully because they’re not ‘pure.’ I can see this grating on a few readers, but sadly I don’t think it’s a far fetched notion. It doesn’t make it right, but it’s definitely something to think about.

Show Stopper is set in future England. The poorest people have to give up their children to the circus to perform in front of hungry animals, high wires and an absolutely awful ringmaster. Those that are pure of blood often visit the circus as an escape from their busy lives. They are entertained and blood-thirsty, eager to see if the poor get hurt or even killed. Ben, the son of a government minister responsible for weeding out the poorer class, visits the circus one evening and becomes captivated by Hoshiko. They both come from completely different worlds, but must work together in order to escape the circus.

It is narrated by both Ben and Hoshiko. I never had a problem following the narrative. It was clear to me which one of the characters were narrating. I thought Show Stopper was such a fast paced read. I think the short chapters definitely helped this. I quickly raced through the book, eager to find out what was going to happen. There are some brilliant characters within these pages. The Ringmaster is awful, yet I thought he was great to hate.

I can understand why this book sits uncomfortably with many readers as some of the issues discussed are relevant to the issues we face in our society. However, there’s something about this book that totally engrossed me and kept me reading until the end and eager to pick up the next book!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I thought this was an amazing book. I’m really into the circus vibe at the moment and this story was utterly engrossing!

Look out for my review of Show Stealer later in the month!

A Thousand Perfect Notes

A Thousand Perfect Notes

How did I get it?:
Netgalley- many thanks to Hatchette Children’s books

Synopsis:

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Thoughts:

I don’t even know where to begin with this book because it’s just THAT GOOD. Yes. THAT GOOD. It deserves the capitals. I feel like this review should come with a massive trigger warning because its content is incredibly intense. Beck, our main character, suffers abuse at the hands of his violent mother. This story tore my heart into shreds and moved me… in less than 300 pages. C.G Drews is certainly a talented writer. I can’t believe this is her debut. I’m going to try and write a sensible and coherent review but I may struggle… just saying.

A Thousand Perfect Notes centres around Beck who is an incredibly beautiful character. He hates his life because of his simply horrific mother who he names Maestro. Maestro is violent towards him and also emotionally abusive. She forces him to play the piano for hours upon hours because she wants him to be as good as she was at the piano before illness stole her talent from her. She was once famous across the word for her talents and she’s determined that he’ll continue her legacy, no matter the cost. I’m actually tearing up at the thought of the story and the terrible situations Beck was in. Beck does enjoy music, but he prefers to create his own music. Any mention of this to his mother ends violently. Added to this complex family situation, is a young sister, Joey, who he wants to protect. She sees her big brother being hit and has become violent herself at pre-school. (Heart-breaking once more… thanks Cait!) Beck is paired with a girl named August for a school project. She brings joy into his life and encourages him (without even knowing it) to stand up for himself and get away from the violence at home.

This book really is exceptional. I was immediately drawn into the story and although the subject matter is incredible tense and heart-breaking it still made me flick through the pages quickly, desperately wanting a release from such an awful life for Beck. I grew so attached to Beck and his sister Joey. I was infuriated at his school for not picking up more signs. I absolutely loathed his mother. Of course, I felt sorry for her that she had lost her passion due to illness, I’m not that cold-hearted. However, Beck and Joey did not deserve a mother that didn’t know how to be a mother.

I adored August. She was a shining light for Beck and Joey and alongside her beautiful family, she gave Beck hope to stand up for himself. I loved how Beck and August’s relationship was a slow burning romance. I love a slow burning romance because it’s much more realistic.

I have to be honest and say I was worried about reading this book because of the hype surrounding it. I’ve followed and adored the author’s blog for several years now and wondered what her writing would be like. I needn’t have worried because the book was simply divine! Easily one of my favourite reads of 2018 so far!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A wonderful debut! One of my favourites of the year so far.

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Thoughts:

I have had this book on my TBR for what feels like forever. I have read so many positive things about it, but was yet to get around to it. I decided that on my Easter break from school that I’d tackle some books I’d been wanting to read for a while. That I did. When Dimple Met Rishi is a super cute contemporary read. I devoured it within 24 hours!

When Dimple Met Rishi is told from Dimple and Rishi’s point of view. It centres around Dimple who wants to go to university and not search for that ideal Indian husband that her traditional parents are determined for her to marry. She wants to develop an app and work with the best in the business. Rishi and Dimple both end up going to a coding camp. What Dimple doesn’t know is that Rishi is Dimple’s proposed partner. The reason why Dimple’s parents agreed for her to go was so she could meet him. Dimple and Rishi do not get off to the best start but as they begin to get to know each other, feelings change. Dimple does know she’s not ready for a long term relationship, she has career goals and doesn’t want to be ‘domestic’.

I thought this was an adorable book. I loved the story-line and whilst it was a little bit predictable (to be fair, most contemporary YA books are) it was so cute. I loved both Dimple and Rishi. I love it when you adore both characters in a story, especially when their story is told through their points of view. I didn’t find myself skipping one chapter because it was a certain character. I wanted to get to know them more and more. I loved that they were both super geeky.  I also loved how Rishi was passionate about his heritage. He reminded me of one of my best friends.

I wasn’t sure that I was going to like the arranged marriage part of this story. All too often, I read negativity around arranged marriages. This was definitely a more positive take. Even though Dimple’s mum was desperate for her daughter to get married and comply, Dimple was never forced. I appreciated that.

Despite this book being predictable, it was so well written and definitely gave me a warm feeling whilst reading it. I look forward to reading more from Sandhya Menon!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This is such a sweet contemporary YA read. I highly recommend it!

The Accident

The Accident

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Treatment

Synopsis:

Sue Jackson has the perfect family but when her teenage daughter Charlotte deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma she is forced to face a very dark reality.

Retracing her daughter’s steps she finds a horrifying entry in Charlotte’s diary and is forced to head deep into Charlotte’s private world. In her hunt for evidence, Sue begins to mistrust everyone close to her daughter and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past.

There is a lot that Sue doesn’t know about Charlotte’s life. But then there’s a lot that Charlotte doesn’t know about Sue’s …

Thoughts:

I have heard so much about C.L Taylor’s adult fiction that I made it my mission to get to some of her backlist. This especially became the case when I read The Treatment, the author’s YA release. I loved that book so thought it was time to get to The Accident. I’m pleased I did because I found it to be a completely addictive read. I think I’ve found another thriller author that I adore.

It centres around Charlotte and her family. Charlotte is in a coma after being hit by a bus. Her mother, Sue,  believes it may have been deliberate after reading Charlotte’s diary and finding ‘keeping this secret is killing me.’ Sue is desperate to find out what Charlotte’s secret is. Through Sue’s exploration we find more about Charlotte’s life. We also find out about Sue’s past which is much darker than you first anticipate.

I loved the narration because it had flashbacks to what had happened to Sue in the 1990s when she was with James. A very dangerous partner. As a reader, we learn about Sue’s past and begin to understand her reasons behind her decisions she makes when trying to uncover Charlotte’s secret. I loved reading the diary entries. They were intense and hard to read at points, but still so intriguing to begin to piece the story together. I found Sue to be such an unreliable narrator. She suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which makes you question her every move as a reader. She wasn’t afraid to directly accuse people of being involved with Charlotte’s accident. I loved that her relationship with her husband wasn’t perfect. It was incredibly authentic.

I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this story. I was constantly turning the pages to try to figure out what had happened to Charlotte. A very decent psychological thriller!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful debut psychological thriller. Its narration really kept me guessing!