Leah On The Offbeat (Creekwood #2)

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
The Upside Of Unrequited

Synopsis:

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.

Thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book, especially after loving Simon so much. I did approach it with some trepidation though. As I often do when I hype books so much. Pffft, why do I do it? That said, this book was not a disappointment to me at all. I really enjoyed it and thought it was an awesome addition to Simon’s world. I had some moments when I actually laughed out loud. Although Simon features, this is definitely Leah’s story and I was totally okay with that.

Leah On The Offbeat explores Leah’s feelings towards one of her friends. Like Simon in the previous book, Leah hasn’t yet come out. She’s bisexual and doesn’t feel ready to tell this to the world. She’s not as brave as Simon was. The characters are now in their senior year of high school and thinking about moving on to college, making some important decisions for the future.

I loved Leah in her own story. I thought she was funny and completely true to herself. I loved her sarcasm and how she was quite moody. She was blunt about her own weight and discussed how many people equate skinny to pretty even if they don’t intend to.

Leah, Simon and their group of friends are so fun to follow. They are such an easy group of friends to root for. I love how Becky Albertalli’s books deal with real issues but essentially they are books that uplift you and give your some joy despite the doom and gloom that real life can bring sometimes.

You don’t need to have read Simon to read this book, but it’ll enhance your experience if you do!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Whereas it didn’t quite match my beloved Simon, it was still a decent read that I quickly devoured!

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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!

Emmy & Oliver

Emmy & Oliver

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking. 

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about. 

But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?

Thoughts:

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book, but its synopsis intrigued me. I haven’t read many contemporary YA books about kidnapping! I expected this book to be a little bit darker than it actually was. This didn’t spoil my opinion of it though, I thought it was an interesting, easy to read book.

Emmy & Oliver is about the relationship between our main characters after Oliver returns from being kidnapped by his father. Oliver has been living his life in New York for the past ten years. Oliver returns home and understandably a lot of things have changed. He initially struggles to fit in. Emmy is keen to pick up from where they left off. Emmy’s parents have been incredibly overprotective since Oliver’s disappearance. She often finds herself lying to her parents as they couldn’t cope with what she’s really doing…surfing and applying to a college where she’d live away from home. Oliver’s return is difficult, but Emmy is keen to build their relationship back up again.

I loved reading this book from Emmy’s point of view. She was an immediately likeable character. I loved her sense of humour and her determination to do what she wanted to do with her life, despite her overprotective parents. I absolutely adore her friendship with Drew and Caro, her best friends. They were both brilliant characters. Emmy and Oliver’s friendship that blossomed was totally believable. I loved reading about their interactions and how Oliver began to open up to Emmy.

With hindsight, I’m glad that this book wasn’t the darker read that I wanted it to be initially. I was happy to read lighter moments as it showed that Oliver was beginning to rebuild his life he once had and that made me happy. At the same time, I loved that Robin Benway didn’t shy away from the difficulties and emotions that Oliver experienced. It would have been unrealistic to think that life would immediately go back to normal.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

An easy to read book! I thoroughly enjoyed all of the main characters!

One Italian Summer

One Italian Summer

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

It’s been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie’s dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer’s here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy – but what’s it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms – the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was …

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again – gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with – or so she thinks. What’s going to happen this time? What’s more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky – Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn’t know how she fits in any more.

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?

Thoughts:

I thought this book was going to be a really cute, fluffy contemporary. The cute part was right, there are some incredibly cute moments in Keris Stainton’s One Italian Summer, however, it has depth to it that I certainly wasn’t expecting. It didn’t take me long to devour this book and I will certainly be recommending it as a summer beach read. I was transported to Italy and loved following this dear family who had been through so much.

It centres around three sisters who have recently lost their father. Everything is still raw for them, especially the thought of going back to Italy, where their father used to work and they often visited for family holidays. They have to return for a family wedding, but everything is of course, different.  It being a contemporary YA book, there’s also romance involved!

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, especially the sisters. I really enjoyed Milly. I loved how fiercely loyal she was to her sisters and her mother. She was honest about her grief and things didn’t just get easier for her once on holiday. Sure, she had some fun and distractions, but her dad was constantly in her thoughts which I thought was believable. The romance between her and Luke wasn’t vital to the story, but it certainly had its cute moments. I love reading books about sisters, especially when the author captures the true sister relationship. They ripped into each other as much as they loved each other which was so realistic!

I would’ve loved to have read some more descriptions and adventures between the sisters in Italy, but that is me being particularly nit-picky. As a whole, I thought the story was a fun, yet touching read about a family reconnecting after an unexpected and heart-breaking loss.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!- especially if you’re into contemporary YA!

A touching read- perfect for summer!

P.S. I Like You

P.S. I Like You

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

 

Synopsis:

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…  

Thoughts:

Kasie West is one of those writers that I know that I’m always going to enjoy her books. Sure, they may not be the deepest read, but there are some wonderful moments within the pages of her books and it’s not all sweetness and light. Quite often Kasie’s books feature some family/friend issues that feel real and some situations are ones that many readers will identify with. I was excited to read P.S. I Like You, as I knew that it’d be a decent read. Whilst it’s not my favourite book that Kasie has written, I still found it to be highly enjoyable. It didn’t take me long to read at all.

P.S. I Like You centres around Lily, who is scribbling on a desk one day in Chemistry class. She strikes up a conversation with an anonymous writer which leads to them exchanging full on letters. They get to know each other through the letters that are stored underneath the desk. Lily and her pen pal talk about everything and really begin to open up to one another. Lily soon realises she’s falling for the letter writer and is desperate to find out who he is. When Lily finds out who it is, she can’t believe it…

I think one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy this book as much was because it had some really stereotypical YA moments within it. It didn’t stand out as much as I would’ve liked and I’m afraid to see that it wasn’t a memorable read for me. The characters were similar to many more in YA and the storyline was a little predictable. I would’ve liked an element of mystery and it to be more of a guessing game to find out the mystery writer, but I had it called from early on in the book.

That said, I really did enjoy P.S. I Like You. It was easy to read and certainly brought a smile to my face.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Whilst this book wasn’t my favourite by Kasie West, it is still super cute and well worth reading if you’re into contemporary YA!

Lobsters

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find ‘The One’. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love.

Thoughts:

I picked Lobsters as part of my September Luna’s Picks. I was a bit sceptical about reading it because of the ‘socially awkward love story’, but I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with Lobsters. It was a funny and lovable story which I think many Young Adults/Adults would enjoy! Lobsters is packed full of swearing and mentions of sex.  It never becomes too much though as it totally fits in with the story.

Lobsters is told in alternating chapters, narrated by Hannah and Sam who are two teens that are trying to lose their virginity before they go to University. Hannah in particular is looking for her Lobster (totally reminded of the Friends series here!)  She wants to find her partner ready to mate for life.  Both characters are searching for who they really are. They find each other but there are some obstacles in the way!

I thought that the characters in Lobsters were fantastic. Sam and Hannah may be our main characters but their friends are also hilarious and easy to feel something for- whether they annoy you, you find them endearing or you really like them! I think Sam and Hannah are relatable characters, and I liked that they were experiencing that life doesn’t always go the way you expect when it comes to the future and big decisions like first love and sex.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A relatable, laugh out loud story! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Sound

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground for Boston’s elite, she’s hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.

What she doesn’t count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer…

Thoughts:

This was the first time I read a book by Sarah Alderson. Of course, I’ve heard a lot about her throughout the blogosphere, and I fully intend to read the Lila series. (Is it even called that?!)  I thought the synopsis of this particular book sounded really intriguing, so I picked up a copy of The Sound. The Sound is an easy to read book, with some very intriguing characters.  The only real niggle I had with the book was that it felt a bit rushed towards the end of the book. Besides that, I found it interesting and it captured my attention.

The Sound follows British girl Ren, who has moved to Nantucket for the summer to nanny for a very wealthy family. Ren is trying to mend her broken heart. She quickly meets a popular group of people of a similar age who take an interest in her, although not all of the group are the most welcoming. Whilst renting a bike, Ren meets Jesse. The local bad boy. Or so everyone thinks. Jesse has captured her attention, but Ren doesn’t want trouble. She simply wants a summer away from her troubles at home. But it’s not that easy in a town full of secrets, and a serial killer on the loose who seems to be attacking foreign nannies.

I absolutely love a British protagonist. Ren is an easy to like character. I like how she dealt with a rubbish situation at home. Getting away and taking her mind off her problems. I loved her relationship with the children she nannies Braiden and Brodie. She comes across as a natural with children despite not having much experience with them! I love that in The Sound there are characters I could hate. That sounds awful, but I like a well written unlikeable character. If a writer makes me feel something for a character either hate or love then I think it’s a job done well. Jesse, on the other hand, is a character that I adored. I can totally see why many people have fallen head over heels for him!

I thought the writing was enjoyable and incredibly engaging. If you’re looking for an intense thriller then I don’t think this book is for you.  It definitely reads more like a YA contemporary. Nothing wrong with that, I like YA contemporary. I shall be reading more from Sarah Alderson! I’m still intrigued by Lila series…

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!