Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Since you all know me and my tendencies to read hyped books, you know why I read this book. No need to give any further commentary than that. So let’s just move on to the review:

19547856Summary (Goodreads): Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review: I’m a little scared to write my review. I liked this novel and found it a very fast and good read. But I didn’t love it.

I don’t read many contemporary books, especially not cute ones. This is definitely a cute novel, and it had me smiling quite a lot. Simon is a very sassy character and I love all of the craziness he gets involved in. I absolutely adored the email correspondences because they were so genuine.

But I didn’t like Simon himself. I’m not saying that Simon has to be a perfect character; I love when the authors make their characters flawed. But Simon was a little too obnoxious and mean for me to like at times. I don’t think he was ever a good friend. And that bothered me a lot. The author gives Simon such an amazing support system with his family members and friends. But he is kind of an asshole and he’s also fickle. And every time he did something or said/thought something that wasn’t so nice, it made me distance myself from him. Even once he recognized he was wrong, there wasn’t really any remorse from him, and I think this bothered me more. I mean, if we’re gonna go cutesy, you might as well go all the way and make him a more caring person at the end of it all.

However, I think this novel raises some very important issues regarding sexual orientation. And I think the story handles it very well and presents these ideas to the public in a way that will make everyone understand what it feels like to be something other than heterosexual. Ultimately, this story is upbeat and full of hope and positivity, and I came out of this novel feeling happy. For once, the romance is amazingly realistic and sweet and it made me feel the emotions. To me, these are the things that make this book so great.

I finished this novel with a smile on my face, and with a better understanding about the struggles of the lgbtqia+ community (and everyone can always do with understanding more about this). For those reasons, I’m giving this a 3.5/5 stars, rounded to 4.

Happy reading ~


Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims

Thank you to the publishers and Edeleweiss for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

The title was too intriguing to ignore. I saw this and thought it was the funniest thing ever. I’m not a mother, but I know I’ve driven my mom crazy over the years. This would be the perfect way for me to get a glimpse into her world, albeit with a ton of humor! Here is my review:

Summary (Edelweiss): Boy Child Peter, Girl Child Jane and Daddy have exciting adventures with Mommy. Daddy likes gadgets. Peter and Jane like starting fires, trying to kill each other and driving Mommy to drink.

It is Mommy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel at a future of people asking if she wants to come to their yoga class, and book clubs, where everyone is wearing statement scarves and they are all ‘tiddly’ after a glass of Pinot Grigio. But Mommy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’, boasting about Boy Child and Girl Child’s achievements. Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering FML over and over, and then remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

Review: Just like the summary suggests, this is a lighthearted read. If you like Bridget Jones’s Diary or anything by Sophie Kinsella, you will probably enjoy this book. I thought it was funny and cute, and I enjoyed the break from my usual reads.

But this wasn’t my favourite book out there.

I was entertained as I read about Ellen, our MC, struggling to be the “ideal” mother. The author was very witty in her descriptions of everyday life. The story definitely got sweary at times, but that didn’t bother me too much. However, there was nothing that pulled me to the book. I found I got bored at times, especially in the middle. Maybe it’s because I can’t relate to the MC since I don’t have children and haven’t experienced everything that is mentioned in the book. But that hasn’t really been a problem before. I also found some of Ellen’s actions questionable and irritating. But then again, this novel is told as a diary and we’ve all done imperfect things in life, right?

Overall, I think this was a funny story, but it wasn’t remarkable. It didn’t keep me wanting more. I’m giving this a 3/5 stars and would recommend it for anyone looking for a lighthearted read.

Happy reading ~

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

When I read the premise for this novel, it reminded me of You by Caroline Kepnes, which I had absolutely adored. But in this story, the psychopath is female. I have been so excited to read it so when I got the book, I locked myself in my room with plenty of food, turned off my phone and just read. Here is my review:

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret. Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. She hates her day job as an editorial assistant for a newspaper. And her evenings are filled with boring girl’s night outs. Which gives her plenty of time to make a kill list. From the man on the Lidl checkout to the driver who cuts her off, to the people who actually deserve to die, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge. Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

The story starts off with a small list of the people who Rhiannon wants to kill and why she wants to kill them. Each chapter has this list in the beginning, and I found it to be quite funny. The people on this “kill list” and her reasons behind putting them on the list are actually quite normal in the sense that all of those things also annoy me very much – just not to the extent that I would kill them for it. Right off the bat, we are introduced to Rhiannon who is a sarcastic and twisted character. She’s quite funny and her diary entries (which is the point of view for the entire story) is quite interesting because she literally just says everything that is on her mind. Now, I don’t mind the idea of having the story told from her perspective but the diary style didn’t really work for me; it made the whole novel more of a comedy, when I was looking for something a bit more scary. I also got quite tired of Rhiannon complaining constantly about the same thing. I mean, really, if you have a problem and you are a psycho killer, why not do something about it? Most of the novel was just her complaining and it really started to annoy me after a while. I just wanted to get to the good plot bits! And while the plot was interesting, I had to get through a lot of mundane things. This novel is about 470 pages …. but it could have been shortened by about 200 pages. There’s a lot of bad language and explicit scenes so consider yourself warned; if you don’t like reading about blood and torture and murder and gore, then stay away from this novel! Overall, I thought that the author created a very sarcastic and darkly humorous character and the story had a really interesting plot. However, it dragged on a bit too much at times and it was hard to stay interested for the entire length of the novel. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 2.5/5 stars, rounded to 3.

Happy reading ~

Soulless by Gail Carriger – Parasol Protectorate #1

Going into this novel, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that the premise contained all of my favorite things: supernatural beings, the Victorian era, and a feisty heroine. That was enough to intrigue me and give this book a shot. After reading it, I am so glad I did. Here is my review:

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Unfortunately, Alexia accidentally kills the vampire while protecting herself – and the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. News on this vampire’s death leads to an investigation that reveals that unexpected vampires are appearing and expected vampires are disappearing. And everyone seems to believe that Alexia is somehow involved. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy?

To define this book by one genre would be doing it an injustice because it is such a mashup! You’ve got steampunk, Victorian social etiquette, comedy, romance, and of course, supernatural/paranormal fantasy. I loved this eclectic mix of themes because it added so much variety to the story! I absolutely adored Alexia. She is funny, and inquisitive, and everything I wanted her to be! She adheres to Victorian etiquette standards only when it suits her and her independent thinking gets her into a great deal of trouble. I love that the author always keeps her in the center of the action and never makes her rely on men to fix things for her. I also loved her romance with Lord Maccon, which I had guessed would happen right from the start; it is VERY believable and not exactly pg-13 (so I would advise younger teenagers to not read this book). The story itself was intriguing, with witty humor thrown in every now and then. I liked the mystery and the action, and the different supernatural beings who were involved. If anything, I wish the organization of the different societies had been given more details, as that would have given me a better understanding of this world that Alexia lives in. I had a great reading experience with this novel because I just found it to be so funny and interesting that I couldn’t put it down. I’m giving it a 5/5 stars for being weird and funny and everything else in between!

Happy reading ~

What The Hell Did I Just Read by David Wong

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel has taken me a long time to read. But not because it was bad. I’ve had so many interruptions in my life that I haven’t even been able to think about the word book. But I’ve slowly been chunking my time and getting in a chapter or two …. and it’s finally done! So here is my review:

Dave, John, and Amy have taken it upon themselves to get the story straight and tell a fairly simple tale of a shape-shifting creature from another dimension that has been stealing kids and brainwashing their parents. However, it soon becomes clear that everything being revealed is not the truth. Someone is lying, and that someone is the narrators. The novel itself is a cover-up, and the “true” story reveals itself through the cracks of this funny but depraved story with contradicting and convoluted narratives.

I didn’t know that this novel was part of a series. And it really didn’t matter because I was able to follow along fine without having had read anything before this one. This was one of the most entertaining reads I have ever had the opportunity to read. It was an absolutely perfect mix of horror and comedy, that is both a mess and a genius work at the same time. I loved all of the characters and their unique narratives and perspectives. The story is honestly so wild and bizarre, which at first took me by surprise, but I began to really love that style. Random characters are introduced, random events happen, and since these events are told from multiple perspectives, you never really know if what you are reading is true or false. It makes your head spin but it also keeps you hooked! I am so glad I took my time with this book because it just allowed me to savor it so much longer! I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something unique, something dark and funny, and something that will drive you insane while also make you crave more! I am definitely going to go back and start the series from the beginning! 5/5 stars from me!

Happy reading ~

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is one of thsoe cases where I chose a book simply because its title and cover looked interesting. I wanted to see if the story would match its outward appeal, and was very excited to have received this ARC. Here is my review:

Aviva Grossman is a bright and ambitious congressional intern… until she makes the mistake of having an affair with her married boss, the congressman. What’s worse is she wrote about her experience in an anonymous blog. When the affair comes to light in an unfortunate turn of events, it’s not the congressman who takes the fall, but rather Aiva. Suddenly, she can’t find herself a job anywhere, and she is slut shamed by everyone everywhere. Determined to get out of this unpleasant situation, Aviva leaves her home, changes her name, starts her own event planning business … and continues her surprise pregnancy. But when “Jane Young” decides to run for public office, that long-ago mistake comes back to haunt her.

This was a really interesting novel in terms of its premise. However, I’m still on the fence about whether it achieved its goals or not. This story is narrated from quite a few perspectives (all female), which I wasn’t expecting. Since this was Aviva’s story and the premise only mentions Aviva, I thought that this story would be from her perspective alone. While this made it interesting, it also made it a bit confusing. The novel begins with Aviva’s mother’s perspective, and while I loved her character, it took me a while to figure out where exactly the story was going. Then there was another switch in perspective, and again, I felt as if I had been uprooted from one story and put into another. This feeling was persistent for a large portion of the novel. However, I will say that I enjoyed reading from each perspective. All of the characters were wonderful and just so funny to read about. I also think that the author really makes a fine point of how unfair it is that a publicly drawn-out affair only affects the woman involved and not the man. However, I wish the author had elaborated on this aspect; while it is the main reason why Aviva takes such drastic decisions, it also never felt like it was fully addressed and resolved. This novel was a really enjoyable and funny read with great characters. However, it didn’t really address the elephant in the room and left me a bit disappointed. For that reason, I’m giving this novel a 3/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Crosstalk by Connie Willis

I like science fiction, but it has been a while since I’ve read anything in this genre. I’ve also never heard of Connie Willis, who is apparently quite well known in the science fiction world. This novel has been getting a lot of hype so I decided to check it out!

In the not-so-distant future, everyone is eager to increase and enhance communication with those around them. There are multiple apps and phones promising to improve your ability to connect with those around you. But the biggest breakthrough is the development of a simple outpatient surgery that will increase romantic partners’ ability to emotionally connect. And Briddey is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing this procedure before getting engaged. He wants to be able to truly show her how much he loves her, and what better way to do that than through a procedure that makes you open to your partner? But the operation doesn’t go quite as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to a completely different person in a way far beyond anything she could ever imagine. With her life already so complicated, what with the stress of her job and her overly-eager-to-communicate-always family, Briddey is on the brink of mental collapse. But this is just the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, Briddey is soon going to find out the dark side of having too much communication.

When I first heard the premise of this story, I had expected it to be a lot more sinister. Maybe it’s because of all the mysteries and thrillers I’ve been reading. What I found instead was a comical novel that explores the dangers of communication, with a fast pace and a romance that is both cute and creepy all at the same time.

The author begins by showing the reader a glimpse of Briddey’s daily life. And it is hectic. To be honest, I never really figured out what exactly Briddey’s job was but after reading about a “normal day at the office”, I myself was mentally drained. In that sense, the author did a good job of portraying the obsession society has with communication and technology. Briddey was barraged by phone calls, texts, emails, and messages from all sorts of other apps. Reading about the craziness of her life made me really glad that I stick to the bare minimum when it comes to apps.

Briddey herself was the most annoying and ignorant character I have ever read about. I’m serious, she actually pissed me off. She can’t do anything on her own, she constantly jumps to conclusions, she acts irrationally and does stupid things that cause her more problems, and she is a pushover. These characteristics remained throughout the novel and so I never really had much sympathy for her. She sort-of wizened up towards the end but I still never liked her.

Most of the other characters also felt underdeveloped. There were only a couple of characters that I actually liked and they were mostly the reason that I continued to read the story. The characters could definitely have had a stronger personality and more nuances; if you have read any of my other posts, you will know that one of the things I truly don’t like are one-dimensional characters. If this had been different, I think I would have liked the novel more.

The story itself was quite funny. It didn’t have as much depth as I would have liked; most of the plot was a bit on the shallow side in the way that it dealt (or didn’t deal) with issues. I also feel like the story didn’t really show me anything that I wasn’t already aware. Yes, too much of something can be a bad thing. Yes, there are positives and negatives to everything. And the pros and cons that the author talks about were ones that I already knew. However, despite that, I had a fun time reading this story and enjoying the comical scenes involving Briddey. There were some science aspects of the story that were interesting, like the mention of genes and feedback loops. However, I got lost in the explanations that the author gave near the end of the book. It felt like a whole bunch of information was just thrown at me and I wish the delivery of it had been smoother.

My verdict is on the fence for this novel. The characters were not as well-developed as I would have liked and the concept itself was a bit simplistic when it came down to it. However, I liked the lightheartedness of the story as well as the fast pace. I finished this book in just a few hours and found myself laughing and enjoying the overall flow of the story, but there definitely things that disappointed me. If you are looking for something funny with romance and a bit of science fiction, then give this novel a shot. But this is definitely not going to win any praise from die-hard science fiction fans!

Happy reading ~

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella. Whenever I need a book to pick me up out of a bad mood, she is one of the authors I turn to. I loved her Shopaholic series, and would read them cover-to-cover as soon as they came out. I haven’t touched one of her novels in a while but I was so glad to see this one in my local library so I just grabbed it right away!

Katie Brenner’s life is far from perfect. She rents a tiny room in an apartment that requires her to take a terrible commute to her lowly admin job. But you would never guess from her Instagram feed, where she posts pictures of a life that looks perfect. Katie is determined to move away from her humble background and make a super-cool life for herself in London. But then, Katie gets sacked by her uber-successful boss Demeter. Katie is heart-broken. With nowhere else to go, she moves back home to Somerset and helps her dad with his new glamping business project. Then Demeter and her family check in for the holiday. At first, Katie is horrified but then she sees her chance to take revenge. But as it turns out, successful Demeter might have problems of her own…  Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

As usual, Kinsella delivers on a funny and cute story. I actually think I liked this novel more than the Shopaholic ones! While there were still cheesy moments and funny situations, there was a more serious tone to this story that Shopaholic lacks. Katie is a conscientious character who is realistic about life, making her easy to relate with. The desire to leave home and make something of yourself is something we have all dreamed of – but few have achieved it (at least I haven’t!) and this really makes the reader warm up to the story. I liked all of the characters and the crazy shenanigans that took place. I also learned a lot about the marketing industry and all of the effort that goes into making a brand successful! All in all, a fun story that will definitely lift your mood!

Happy reading ~

The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl

When I read the premise of this novel, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if it was going to be humorous or dark, if it was going to be steeped in mythology or more of an urban fantasy. Either way, it was too intriguing to not pick up. So here I am, having read the book in one sitting, completely ignoring all of my other work because I was just that engrossed in the story. And here is my review:

Ferryman Charlie Dawson is the best among them in his role of convincing the newly dead to move on to the afterlife. In 250 years, he hasn’t failed a single assignment. But Charlie is tired of this existence, and all he wants to do is let go – something the Ferryman Institute would never allow. But then he receives a secret assignment from the elusive President, who gives him the choice to either act like a ferryman or save the life of Alice Spiegel, who is just about to commit suicide. And in a split instant, he makes the choice to save her – and it feels like the best decision he has made in more than 200 years. When word of this incident reaches Inspector Javrouche, Charlie finds himself in a world of trouble. But Charlie isn’t going to give up without a fight; he’s ready to save Alice – and himself – no matter the cost.

This novel can be best described as an action-comedy. I love Charlie’s personality, with his dry sarcasm and his genuine concern for others. His interactions with friends, and especially Alice, are so much fun to read! The story itself takes you through car chases and hidden tunnels, betrayals and elaborate secrets…. I was entertained throughout the entire story. I thought Alice was also really spunky but her behaviour seemed strange for someone who is 26; she acted more like a teenager than anything else. The author touched on sensitive topics like depression and anorexia, but still kept the novel light. I kind of wish the author had spent a little bit more time developing that, rather than just making Charlie the “savior” of Alice’s depression but it wasn’t too much of an issue for me. It has been a long time since I’ve read a lighthearted novel but it was long overdue. I’m really glad I got the chance to read this novel, because it is definitely one of my favorite quirky books of this year!

Happy reading ~

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

I loved the premise of this novel as soon as I read it. I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to exorcism stories but they’ve always been so intriguing and I’ve always wanted to read a novel on this topic. I found my chance with this book, so here is my review:

Abby and Gretchen met in fifth grade and have been best friends ever since. They share everything together, from which boys are worth liking to where they will live when they grow up. Either way, they can’t imagine a life without each other. When they get to high school, they expect things to be more or less the same. It’s the ’80s and life is just getting cool! So when they decide to try some LSD, it just seems like one more cool thing to do. But after that night, everything changes. Gretchen stops being…. Gretchen. As her strange behaviour begins to pile up, Abby realizes that the only explanation is that there is a demon living inside Gretchen. And Abby will stop at nothing to get it out of her.

Where do I start with this novel? This book was ridiculously fantastic and I just can’t praise it enough!

I love the ’80s vibe that the author went with. I was a ’90s child but hearing my mom talk about how life was in the ’80s always made me wish I had grown up during that time – even though the ’90s were pretty cool, too! Having it take place in this time frame made the story a little preppy and funny, it gave it a teen novel feel. And I loved that. It made it funnier, more ironic, more weird, and just overall amazing. I don’t think I have ever said this about any other novel but the author chose the perfect setting for this story.

The author did a fantastic job in merging the absolute terror that accompanies any story about possession with school clique drama. At times comic, at times terrifying, this story was perfectly woven together to incorporate all aspects and make for just a great read. I could not put this book down and loved every minute of it! If you are looking for a creepy, weird, and utterly amazing read, then look no further than this book right here! Now excuse me, while I go out and get myself a copy of this novel ASAP!

Happy reading ~