Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

34373364Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published: Macmillan
Pages: 320
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5

When you write about someone winning the lottery, there are certain places that your mind goes. The winner spends frivolously on a yacht and a robot butler, runs into trouble with credit card companies, and after losing a significant chunk of cash, realises that they should channel their inner Ellen and pay it forward to the deserving public.

That’s pretty much what happens to Teddy. ‘Windfall’ does nothing new with the plot of rags to riches. More dramatic things could have happened in regards to his big spends, but in the end, it works out fine for him. He’s got tons of cash. The end.

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Review: One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

31322309One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 288
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

As the last weekend in the UK was obscenely hot by normal standards, my mind instantly gravitates towards ice-cream, sunglasses and contemporary romances. One Italian Summer gave me that the exam-free vibe (that’s still out of reach for another month, *crycry*) and made me crave a European holiday. (Soon, soon!)

Keris Stainton’s last YA release, Counting Stars really impressed me for it’s representation of teenage life, and I felt One Italian Summer had the same strengths, which was a really good sign. Continue reading “Review: One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton”

Review: And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon

33985636And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon
Genre: 
Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Stripes Books
Pages: 352
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★

Maddie really loved Katy Cannon’s previous two books (Love, Lies, and Lemon Pies and Secrets, Schemes, and Sewing Machines) so obviously we were ecstatic to get our hands on her most recently release. We were also lucky enough to get to attend Stipes’ ‘Show YA Stipes’ showcase, and Katy was there talking about And Then We Ran, making it sound so exciting and different. It’s also not often that you read a British road-trip novel, and while it wasn’t from one coast to another, it was full of fun characters and crazy adventures.

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Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

33806020Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Canongate
Pages: 368
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If there’s ever a reason to pick up a book, it’s to find out why half the characters are spontaneously combusting without rhyme or reason. The quirky plot drew me in, but the voice drew me out.

Mara Carlyle is our narrator. She’s hyper aware of the this role, calling chapters ‘things you should know’ and the like. I can forgive the story telling being dramatic – hey, not everyday is it that someone blows up in front of your face – but there was something about the narration that felt a little over the top. Maybe it was the humour, a joke gone too far. Not in the crude sense, where you just start gritting your teeth because something fun became something prejudice, but where every humorous moment, or observation is drawn out with one too many examples.  Continue reading “Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer”

Review: Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan

32021893Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

As soon as I saw this book, it caught my eye, I’m a sucker for stars and anything space-based. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it was a book I’d have to read immediately, dropping all responsibilities to be truly absorbed by a book.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary like this. My first instinct is to compare it to the writing of Holly Smale and the characters of Katy Cannon (AKA the recipe for Maddie’s Perfect Book.) I was even more delighted that, by the end, I could add YA Cathy Cassidy book to my list of comparisons. Stargazing for Beginners was perfectly made, and here’s how I think it was done! Continue reading “Review: Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan”

Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

32187354The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Book
Pages: 224
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This was the perfect book for us to read after finishing the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale. Grace had the same style quirks as Harriet, and even though she wasn’t spurting facts left, right and centre, there was that same sense of frivolity and fun that Geek Girl omits. If you love that series, it’s guaranteed you’ll get on well with Grace and co.

Grace has Asperger’s. Grace, and everyone around her, deals with this because it’s completely normal. I’ve read a few Own Voices reviews of the book that talk about how good it is that Grace isn’t seen as a ‘problem child’ or ‘weird’ by other people, and that’s one of the reasons this book is so good. Many books that are dealing with the non-average teenager will make whatever makes them non-average into their whole personality. Have an eating disorder? Well, you might as well be called Anorexia. Have depression? Well, looks like all you’ll be feeling is depressed. Grace is the complete opposite of this, and that’s beyond refreshing. Some of her teachers don’t even realise she has Asperger’s. It’s not an excuse for her behaviour – it’s just something she lives with.  Continue reading “Review: The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas”

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali

32596757The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 300
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★

Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourite books of 2015! We recommended it in our Romances for Valentine’s day video because it’s light-hearted and cute, so when I got the chance to read Becky Albertali’s next book, of course, I leapt at the chance!

This was also one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I think a lot of people are going to be using it as their choice for ‘under represented body type’ in the Diversity Bingo!

Continue reading “Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali”