A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

So Ledi is in grad school, studying to become a badass scientist whilst working multiple jobs. She’s been getting these weird emails saying she’s the long lost betrothed of some African prince and her neighbour across the hall has gone on holiday and some guy who worked with her for a day, terribly, is doing some sort of AirBnB with the neighbour. And things just go from weird to weirder.

I really loved Ledi, she was such a fantastic MC. SHe’s whip smart and doesn’t take any nonsense. I’m so here for any book that has women in STEM, and that is intensified if it is a romance book or a POC lady and this is a black romance novel, so yes lot’s of excitement about the representation.

The relationship between the two MCS both romantic and non romantic was really sweet and playful. They were always ribbing each other and even when they were upset with each other you could still tell they had feelings.

If you’re worried about this being an arranged marriage, do not worry because like most arranged marriages there is no force involved and they are super sweet with each other.

Thabiso’s assistant, whose name escapes me was a force of nature as well. She definitely made the book even more enjoyable. She wasn’t just an assistant who would roll over and do whatever her boss said without argument. And she wasn’t afraid to tell him he was being an idiot. She was also a lesbian and it was just casually mentioned without being made a big thing and I love that.

I really liked Cole’s writing. It flowed really well and I didn’t have any bored patches. I loved that she took the characters to Africa as well instead of just staying in New York. It would be so easy to just have it set in the US.

I cannot wait for the sequel but I’m also hesitant because the love interest is Scottish and we all know how I feel about inaccurate Scottish depictions, but I feel like she can do it.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne | So Fun but Problematic Language Let’s it Down

Content warning: sex, ableism, fatphobia

Lucy and Josh hate each other. They do basically the same job for the 2 senior editors of a publishing house, but are very different people. Lucy is a lot more of a relaxed person wheres Josh is super organised. Every day they try and rile each up and threaten going to HR. A promotion come sup and they are both up for it but in the process of trying to beat each other out they start messing around.

This definitely would have been a favourite if it hadn’t used the r word. It’s 2018, do people not know that it’s not acceptable to use that word especially as an insult? And the main character is fatphobic towards Josh’s boss which wasn’t exactly nice to read. This isn’t something that hurts me and I can continue reading despite it but if degrading comments about someone’s weight for the sake of it is something that triggers you be very careful of this book. yeah it’s fun but not worth that.

I loved Josh. I never understood from the outset why Lucy hated him. He sounded right up my street. In work every day looking snacc in his fancy attire. If I had a guy like that in my office I would not be complaining.

Hate to love is one of my absolute favourite tropes so this was right up my street and the only thing disappointing about it was the aforementioned language. I absolutely adored reading about Josh and Lucy and how they progressed to be honest. Whilst Lucy annoyed me sometimes, I loved seeing Josh’s feelings grow for her and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Not only was it hate to love it was also slow burn. I had no idea what was going to happen to be honest. And I’m a big fan of spoilers to be honest but I managed to hold myself off with this and I’m glad I did.

I am so soft for this book. I want to read more from Sally Thorne if its like this.

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Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

There’s some mild spoilers in this review.

So Rich People Problems is 100% my favourite of the trilogy and I’m so heartbroken that it’s over. Everything came to a head in this book and it kind of brought all the stuff I loved from the first book that I was missing from the second book together with the best parts of the second book.

I absolutely adore Charlie Wu, he’s an absolute angel and just wants to be with Astrid and then you have Michael out here being the biggest POS on the planet. The storyline made me so raging and at times I just wanted to scream at how terrible Michael was. I knew from the beginning he wasn’t a good guy.

Even on her death bed Ah Ma was absolutely fantastic. She was so funny, and did so much without anyone knowing until she’d carked it. But the absolute standout character for me was Eddie. He was even more infuriating than he was in the past and it was just so hilarious to listen to. He really thinks that his very smart grand mother isn’t going to notice that he only starts caring when she’s close to death. And thinks people aren’t going to get around his actions. I don’t think I’ve ever been so infuriated and amused at the same time by a character’s actions.

In terms of plot, I really enjoyed the plot. I wasn’t sure how things were going to go and I was definitely kept on my toes. It moved at such a perfect pace, I wasn’t bored and I didn’t feel like it was moving too fast.

I just don’t really know what I’m going to do now this series has finished. I hope that Kwan either releases a companion series or decides he’s going to continue. But I’m definitely interested to see where he goes next. And I am soooooo excited for the film next month. But I know it’s going to make me miss being in Asia last summer, because the book definitely did.

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Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy | Julie Murphy Hits Me in the Feelings Again

content warnings: biphobia/homophobia (challenged on page), poverty, hurricanes, emotional abuse

Ramona is just trying to keep her head above water. Her family lives in a trailer (caravan) after hurricane Katrina ruined their lives. Ramona works crazy jobs for terrible pay just so she can afford to live and and maybe save a little. But then her childhood friend Freddie returns, and her sister gets pregnant and suddenly everything is up in the air and Ramona doesn’t know what’s going on. She thought she was a lesbian but she can feel romantic feelings growing for Freddie, and she feels like she isn’t as sure of herself as she once was.

What a fantastic portrayal of poverty. I feel like that’s one thing that’s missed out on in YA. But this did not beat around the bush. Ramona lives in a trailer in Louisiana and has done since Hurricane Katrina with her dad and her older sister. And as someone that has affected so many people in America I’m actually so surprised I haven’t read something from this perspective before. And to be honest I’m surprised I’ve never read a book from a teen in poverty like this. It was no holds barred and so harsh but that’s what poverty is.

There was also some discussion about racism in the book, as Freddie is black and Ramona is white and she isn’t as aware of the racial problems in America and they have fights and discussions about that and I thought that was important and you could see Ramona learning from it.

Ramona was a very interesting character. She’s very real, in that I went through stages of really liking her and then not really caring for her. And I loved that. It didn’t feel like Murphy was pandering by making her overly likeable in such a terrible situation.

The characters around Ramona were a mess. Her mother was just ugh, her dad tried really hard, her sister was supportive of Ramona but easily walked over, her friends were at time super supportive and others not the best, and Freddie was definitely an idiot a lot of the time. But the person I loved the most was Freddie’s grandma. She was an absolute sweetheart and I wish I knew someone like her.

I grew up really loving swimming and still love it so that element of this was so nice. Like he scenes where Ramona was in the pool and getting back into the swing of the strokes was so relatable and lovely.

I’ve read all but one of Murphy’s books that are out so far and at this point she is 100% an autobuy author. Everything I have read has been so good. She has this wonderful way of making some heavy topics light hearted but not in an offensive way, and hitting you in the feelings when you least expect it, whilst also being so easy to read.

This book was hit with negative press before it was released because people read the blurb in an entirely wrong context and thought it was about a lesbian being turned. Which is just a mess, and more than a bit biphobic to be honest. Don’t let the negative press sway you. This book is GOOD.

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Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – More About Grief Than I Expected

content warnings: off the page death,

Amy’s mother has decided they’re going to move across the country, and this means Amy has to move her car across the country. But she can’t do that because she’s terrified to drive ever since her dad died in a car accident. So she ropes in an old friend, Roger, to drive the pair of them as he also has to go to the East coast.

Look I don’t really know what I expected going into this book but it wasn’t what I got. Some things I liked, some things I didn’t. I got the book out from the library because I really wanted to read some cute contemporaries, so Morgan Matson was one of the first authors I thought of. I think I war really wanting something similar to The Unexpected Everything and this was just not that. There was a lot of talk of loss and post trauma anxiety and the romance kind of took a back foot to this. Which I liked but also I just wanted something cute.

I think one of the biggest things I really appreciated was that Amy and Roger’s friendship developed before any romance. They spent all the time together and you could tell that they just really liked each other’s company and whilst there was gradual romantic feelings bit by bit which you could tell as a reader and it was nice for them to get that base before jus stumbling into hardcore feelings.

I actually wasn’t a huge fan of Amy to be honest, but that’s more a personal thing than her being a bad person or anything. I found her kind of whiney at times and a bit entitled. And yes I’m well aware that she’s been through a lot but she seemed to forget at times that yeah she lost her dad but her mum lost him too, and she wasn’t really fair on her mum at times. I liked Roger but I wish we got more from him.

I really loved the road trip parts of it. As someone who loves to travel I often find road trip books cringey because they can be so badly researched and you can just tell when someone hasn’t done their research. But this was definitely researched well, I think Matson did the trip herself. I loved that they went to the small towns along the way they didn’t expect to because that’s what happens on trips often. When I did my trip of Asia the actual cities weren’t really negotiable because we booked our flights prior, but the places we went to when there often turned out to be things we hadn’t planned on, or only went after hearing about it when there. That’s one of the best parts of travelling. This book puts that across. I think the thing as well is that it made me want to visit Utah of all places in the States. I’ve never wanted to go there before, but god from the way this book is described I want to go there and see the scenery so bad.

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston – Good But Not As Good as the Hype

content warnings: verbal abuse, off the page death, horrible step family

Elle lives with her step family after her dad died and they definitely do not treat her well. Elle’s only relief comes from her favourite show, Starfield. But then a movie reboot is announced, with teen heartthrob, Darien Freeman set to play the main character, which Elle is so violently against. She writes a blog, which goes viral, and Darien sees. Meanwhile Elle is preparing to go to the convention her dad created for the show in hopes of winning the Cosplay competition and go to the Cosplay Ball. But her step family are trying very hard to put a spanner in the works.

I have seen so much hype about this book on both Goodreads and Youtube so of course when I saw my library had it I immediately took it out. And I’ll be honest, I did really enjoy it, but I was expecting to adore it, so whilst it was a good book, it fell a little short of my expectations. I saw so many 5 star, rave reviews and I just felt like something was missing for me. Maybe because I’ve been reading so many great romance novels, both YA and adult, lately, this wasn’t anything mind blowing.

The characters were interesting that’s for sure. I think the most complex and well developed characters were Darien and Sage. For one I thought it was super cool that Darien was an Asian boy, who was a famous teen heart throb, considering they’re more often than not white. And I loved reading his POV because I really felt like he as struggling and I cared about him. And Sage was just the badass friend we all want who will break you out of any bad situation you’re in, but also won’t just roll over and take someone being terrible to her just because she’s her friend. This is how you do positive friendships in books. Elle, our MC, just wasn’t as enjoyable as Darien. Like I know she is Cinderella and her dad created the convention and she’s abused by her step family but at times she did feel a bit self-entitled. She felt like her fandom belonged to her at time because of who her father was. Now obviously I know what it’s like to love something so dearly you feel like its yours and you don’t want anyone to ruin it, and it didn’t make her unlikeable, but it did annoy me.

I think the step mother was a really convincing villain. It’s hard to make someone like that in a contemporary hat isn’t a crime or a thriller but Poston did a good job of that, I really hated her and felt a huge amount of contempt towards her. And Elle’s sisters as well, one in particular, were so like their mother in that regard and had no regard for Elle.

It definitely felt like Cinderella when I was reading it and there were little references and changes I loved. The biggest one being that the pumpkin was a Vegan foodtruck called The Magic Pumpkin. That was hilarious. At times it felt more like a retelling of A Cinderella Story as opposed to actual Cinderella, which sounds like a weird thing to say but there were definitely elements that weren’t in the original story but were in both remakes.

This was a very cute story and I’m glad I did read it, but I definitely think the hype was just a little bit too much.

 

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

content warning: girl on girl hate.

When Lily gets bored in Chemistry class she starts scribbling the lyrics to her favourite song on her desk. The next day she’s found that someone has answered back. Suddenly they’re swapping notes and Lily lives for every chemistry lesson to find the next note. But whilst she is falling for the note writer she’s also reconnecting with her childhood friend who she has not been getting on with at all lately.

This honestly felt so cliche at times, like the exchanged love notes through lyrics etc. which just felt like something 14 year old emo me dreamed of. And look, I do not remember this book. This review is going to be solely based on my very few notes and trying to remind myself of goodreads reviews. And yes I read this book in March but I can remember books I read 2 years ago so I think you can tell how forgettable this book was for me.

If you like books where there’s no girl on girl hate this is not for you. I got very angry reading it because it was so flipping old school like early 2000s teen movies where all the girls were battling each other for a boy and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. This book came out in 2016 you’re better than this Kasie! I also felt uncomfortable that it was immediately assumed by Lily that she was talking to a guy. I found this really weird because it could literally be anyone, and how could she tell from the way the person writes?

Hate to love is one of my favourite tropes so read it for that was nice like for that aspect it was a nice story. I could tell who Lily would end up with from a mile away and it was nice reading the relationship progress. This was also a super quick read for me, as I’ve found all Kasie West books are because they’re pretty light and fun and have a good flow.

But hey, this book really isn’t that bad, it just wasn’t great and was a bit of a dud for me. I reached the end and didn’t hate it which is always good I guess? And it has not put me off Kasie West, I think she can definitely write some good romcom YA, this just wasn’t it.

 

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Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Thank you to Amulet books and netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! I was so glad I was approved for this because it was definitely one of my most hyped books.

Laila is a teen writer and her English teacher is her biggest fan. She is forever giving him her new stories and he tells her how much he adores them. Until her teacher gets in a big car accident and she gets a substitute. To start Laila is excited as the new teacher is also an award winning writer, but she is very hard on Laila and this causes her to struggle with not only her writing but her identity.

The main character of this story is pansexual. Do you know how much that means to me? Laila really struggles with this part of herself as she has been raised to believe that girls should be ashamed of their sexuality. This is said on page. And this is the first time I’ve actually been able to comment on sexuality representation from an experienced perspective and I’m so happy about this. I absolutely adored the representation. I wish this book had been around when I was younger because I think I may have realised I was pan much sooner than I did. She also is plus size and has anxiety, so I related to Laila so much to be honest. And if you consider yourself to be any of these things I would thoroughly recommend reading it. Laila is also half Ecuadorian, but obviously I can’t speak on this representation. However it was plainly obvious that the author wanted to make this an important part of the novel. All throughout there is discussions over being mixed race and being Ecuadorian, and not knowing where she fit in. I’ve never read an Ecuadorian MC and I found that so refreshing. I did try to find a review from an Ecuadorian person but I could not, if you know of any let me know!

This book is sapphic, but I don’t want to spoil that for you. However the one thing for me that let this book down for me and meant it wasn’t a favourite was that the romance was just a little too subtle for me. I kind of didn’t recognise it happening at all until about 70% of the way in. And that might be great for you! That might be the type of romance you like. I’m more of a heavy hitting romance type.

The narrative of this novel is very much internalised, there is a lot of Laila’s struggles with her writing, her friendships and her anxiety. Sometimes I struggled with reading the book because of this, not in a bad way but it could get heavy occasionally and I wasn’t quite in the mood for that.

As this was my first Riley Redgate novel I wasn’t sure what to expect, and whilst people were hyping it up, I was pleasantly surprised (I have trust issues with hyped books). Now I need to catch up on all Redgate’s books!

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Contour by Meg Harding

Content warnings: homophobia, biphobia (i think), transphobia

Jamie, also known as Roxy is a huge beauty youtuber, who takes no nonsense. He’s gained a lot of fans through his very blunt attitude but he’s not been so lucky in love. And then he stumbles on an instagram account, owned by a fit model who owns a gorgeous dog, Tyler. They DM back and forth and things get serious real fast.

So Roxy reminded me a bit of Jeffree Star but if JS wasn’t an absolutely terrible human. And it was so good to read what I want him to be as a character. Using your social media presence for good. I say Roxy because Roxy and Jamie are 2 completely different characters. Roxy I didn’t care much for but Jamie was my absolute fave he was so self conscious and just so scared to let anyone in. And then Jamie was so instant on getting Jamie out of his shell as the part of him that isn’t projected on thousands of people’s screens.

I just loved that they connected over instagram. It felt like looking into the lives of the influencers/youtubers that I follow. The way it was written by Harding really made me feel like the characters were actual people.

The writing was super addictive. I think I read this really quick. I felt so invested in this relationship and when things were going well I just wanted to read more of them and when things weren’t going so well I wanted to read more until things were good again.

There was some really nice friendships in this and I loved that there was a lot of discussion over blurring the gender binary lines. Jamie is both feminine and masculine at the same time, and it’s super important to him. And Tyler is so accepting and I just love it.

 

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Content warning: anxiety, a situation that is reminiscent of outing that could make you uncomfortable

Eliza creates a very popular webcomic, no one knows who she is though. Everyone just thinks she’s a loner, and her parents don’t understand how big her comic is. Then the biggest fanfic writer for the comic transfers to her school and they get on so well, but even he doesn’t know who she truly is.

I’d heard a lot of hype about this book prior to reading it and honestly it did not let me down in the slightest.

This story was in a similar vein to stuff like You’ve Got Mail, which is one of my fave rom coms ever on the planet so I was so happy reading this. Not only was there a really sweet romance but there was a lot of representation of anxiety and as someone who struggles with¬† anxiety the representation felt so spot on for me. I was reading it, just feeling so represented and I started crying a few times just because it was so spot on.

Ok, so of all the characters I think my favourite(s) were Eliza’s brothers. They were messy like little brothers can be but they also really understood her. And when everything goes awry they’re the ones to explain to Eliza’s parents how out of it they are. I also just really loved Eliza and Wallace. Together and apart they’re just such wonderful characters. They’re so passionate and awkward and it balances out so well.

This is one of those books that I just loved so much that I don’t know what to say? I just want everyone to read this. And I want to buy this book when I have the money to as I read this from the library. If you have the opportunity to read this you should, unless you’re worried that the content may hurt you, in which case ask me about the content :).

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