Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

favourite-2016-releases-so-far

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is favourite 2016 releases so far, which is one of my favourite things to post about. I love recommending books and I’ve rated all of these either 4.5 or 5 stars. These are in no particular order and my full reviews are linked.

1. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

This was my most recent 5 star reads. I absolutely loved everything about it. It’s a beautiful historical fiction novel set in the 1970s in Alaska, following four teens who are each dealing with personal struggles and how their stories collide. I’ll have a full review up on Thursday.

2. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson is one of my favourite authors. She’s an auto-buy author of mine because she writes the most beautiful and relatable summery contemporaries. The Unexpected Everything was amazing and I loved the characters soooo much!

3. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

This was my first John Corey Whaley book and it didn’t disappoint. Featuring an agoraphobic and a wannabe psychologist, this book was moving, powerful and absolutely beautiful. The friendships and relationships in this book are GOALS.

4. Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

This debut novel absolutely blew my mind. Frankie was full of spunk, attitude and just screamed Melbourne and Australia to me. The novel made me laugh and cry and it was just such an experience.

5. A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

This is the third and final book of Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Colour of Madeleine trilogy. It was mindblowingly good and wrapped up the series so beautifully. There were so many twists and turns and my heart was just beating out of my chest the entire time. If you want something magical and whimsical, this series will give you exactly that.

6. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

I love my WWII historical fiction and Max is the standout WWII novel that I’ve read this year. It’s translated from French and has such an interesting premise. It follows Max, a product of the Lebensborn program in Germany, from before he was born until the end of WWII. It was amazing and more people need to read this because it’s so underrated.

7. The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

This book broke my heart and mended it at the same time. It was so beautifully written and had such wonderful relationships. The relationship between Alice and her brother, Joey, made me cry for ages during and after my read. It’s a must-read in my opinion.

8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Another series finale, The Raven King is the fourth and final book of The Raven Cycle. It wasn’t everything that I expected it to be but what Maggie Stiefvater did give us was absolutely brilliant anyway. The characters are definitely the standout and I’ve enjoyed their journey immensely.

9. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

I loved this new Shadowhunters book so much!! It was an awesome start to a new series. It wasn’t quite as good as Clockwork Angel for me but I thought it was a superb first book with some really diverse and interesting characters.

10. The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

Another amazing Aus YA book released this year. I really loved The Sidekicks, which is a story about three boys who are each dealing with grief in their own ways and what happens when they lean on each other.


These are just some of my favourite 2016 releases that I’ve read so far this year. I’m sure there will be many more amazing releases to come. What have been your favourite 2016 releases or 2016 reads?

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

ten-beach-reads

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday on my blog. I feel like it’s been a while but it’s only really been two weeks… Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is beach reads.

So… I don’t really go to the beach even though Sydney has some of the most beautiful beaches. But I’ve tried to choose ten books that are either set on the beach, set in summer or just a light and quick read that you could probably read in one sitting. And I’ve tried to choose books by a variety of authors so that I’m not putting down every single Huntley Fitzpatrick book, every Morgan Matson book and every Kasie West book (though you should read them all!).

1. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This amazing book is set in a coastal town and has a very summery feel. It’s also one of my favourite contemporaries and I’ll never stop recommend this book. It’s cute and summery but also packs a punch with its themes.

2. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Another book that is cute and summery but packs a punch, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a loose retelling of The Little Mermaid. As with all of Sarah Ockler’s other books, it goes beyond being a contemporary romance and delves into some serious issues. The message of this book really carries through and if you’re still not convinced, there are mermaids ūüėÄ

3. SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson

All of Morgan Matson’s books are perfect for summer and the beach, but Second Chance Summer is my favourite. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend bringing this one to the beach or reading it in public since it’ll probably make you ugly-cry at some point. But it’s set at the beach and the characters are so relatable!

4. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I love Jennifer E. Smith’s books and I wanted to feature one in this list of cute and summery contemporaries. This one is also set in a coastal town and features a cute relationship with a small town girl and her penfriend, who turns out to be a Hollywood actor.

5. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

When it comes to quick and easy summer contemporary reads, Kasie West doesn’t disappoint. This is probably my favourite of her books that I’ve read. It’s got a really cute romance that kept me hooked. I finished the book in one sitting.

6. Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

This is a really recent read. It’s not really set in the summer but it’s a very quick and easy contemporary read by an Aussie author, and it feels super summery. This book is more NA than it is YA so if you a new NA book to read that isn’t completely full of sex scenes, try this one!

7. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

I thought I’d throw in a road trip book since road trips always remind me of summer. This is probably my favourite road trip book, though I do really like The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith too. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour is also super quick to read. I think I read this in just one or two sittings.

8. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Another Huntley Fitzpatrick book that I love love LOVE! I’ve loved every single book that she’s ever written and this one was definitely no exception. It’s also set in a coastal town and feels very beachy. I absolutely loved the story and the characters in the book. Cass, the male love interest is just a super nice guy. Huntley Fitzpatrick is just so good at writing genuine and GOOD guys.

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Okay, this book isn’t really summery or beachy. There’s actually a lot of snow in this one… But I felt like I had to include a Stephanie Perkins book when talking about light contemporaries. This is my favourite of Stephanie Perkins’ books. Though I suppose she has a new anthology of short stories out that are summer-themed?

10. The Flywheel by Erin Gough

This is another book that isn’t really set in the summer but has a light, summery feel to it. It’s a really great LGBTQ+ book that’s set in Sydney with some really relatable characters.

Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: May 1, 2016
Format: Paperback ($AU 19.99)
Source: Publisher
Pages: 519
Goodreads || Book Depository

“It didn’t seem possible that after years of being beyond careful, watching all the tiniest details and trying never to make a mistake, we’d ended up here anyway…”

Before the scandal, Andie had important plans. And zero of them involved walking an insane amount of dogs, being in the same house as her dad or hanging out with Clark. Now there’s a whole summer stretching out in front of Andie without a plan. And Andie always sticks to the plan.

But here’s the thing – if everything’s always mapped out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing a review copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I absolutely loved this book. I have loved every single one of Morgan Matson’s books and this one didn’t disappoint at all. It’s not my favourite of her books – Second Chance Summer was just so amazing in every single way that it’ll be hard to top – but The Unexpected Everything was so relatable and adorable that you can’t help cuddling the book to your chest as you flail around on your bed (literally me when I finished the book).

This book is about Andie, the daughter of a Congressman, who has had her whole summer planned out to perfection. But things start to fall apart when her father finds himself in the middle of a big scandal. Andie’s plans fall to pieces and her summer is completely turned on its head. Now she finds herself walking dogs as a summer job and bumping into her previously absent dad around the house. But soon, she finds herself changing in ways she couldn’t have imagined and forging new relationships she probably never envisioned having.

“You have to take your chances. Go and attempt and see what happens. And even if you fail – especially if you fail – come back with your experience and your hard-won knowledge and a story you can tell. And then later you can say, without regret or hesitation… ‘Once, I dared to dare greatly.'”

I absolutely loved the plot of this book. It has Morgan Matson’s trademark blend of family, friendship and romance. The different aspects of this book were so nicely balanced and I never felt like any one aspect was taking over the book. There is probably a little more romance in this novel compared to her three previous novels, but it was still nicely balanced with the friendship, family and coming-of-age elements. I did find the first 150 pages or so to be a little bit too slow-paced and it felt a little draggy, especially considering that the book is over 500 pages long. But the rest of the book was much faster-paced and I sped through it. By the time I reached the end, I wanted it to keep going on and on forever.

The characters in this book were wonderful and really relatable. Morgan Matson is so great at developing characters that are easy to connect with and relate to. I loved Andie and thought she was a great main character but I have to say that Clark was my favourite. He was so awkward and cute at the beginning! But what I loved most was how complex and multifaceted his character was. He’s awkward at times but he’s definitely not the shy, nerdy and inexperienced type. I also loved that he was an author of fantasy novels and that he’s got lots of fans who are mad at him for not releasing his next book soon enough, as well as fans who send him fandom merch that he takes great pride in wearing/using. It all just spoke to my heart. I love Clark so much!

I really loved the relationships that were in this book. Andie’s relationship with her father was rocky at the start of the book but I really enjoyed seeing how they mended their relationship slowly and really made the effort to spend time together. Their father and daughter bonding activities were so fun to read about. I loved that they bonded with each other over Clark’s books and that he really made the effort to try to get to know Clark for Andie’s sake. It was just really heartwarming to read about. I also enjoyed how he was there to help out when she needed help. It was just an amazing relationship to witness and I could have done with even more of it. And of course I highly enjoyed Andie and Clark’s relationship. They were so well-suited and such a compatible couple. I loved the dynamic of their relationship and how he always gave her the chance to properly express herself and never let her hide from her own feelings. They were just wonderful together and their romance is probably my favourite out of the four that Morgan Matson has written. And it wasn’t only Andie and Clark’s relationship that I enjoyed, I also absolutely loved Palmer and Tom’s relationship and how awesome they were together too.

And finally, how could I not mention the dogs in this review? If you’re a lover of dogs, there is no way that you won’t fall in love with this book. This novel is so full of puppy-goodness that you’ll find yourself stroking the images on the cover and rereading paragraphs about the dogs over and over. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Recent 5-Star Reads

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It’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday post. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and I’m super excited about this week’s post because I love talking about my favourite books. I haven’t actually rated very many books 5 stars in recent weeks so some of these go back to January and December…

1. Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

This is Shivaun Plozza’s debut novel and I absolutely loved it. I read this one a couple days ago and was just immersed in the story from the first page. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking and I loved the characters. This book focuses on disadvantaged youths and those who come from a lower socioeconomic status. I thought it handled everything really well and I can’t wait to read Shivaun Plozza’s next book! (A review of this book will be up on Happy Indulgence tomorrow!)

2. A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty

A Tangle of Gold is the third and final book in The Colours of Madeleine trilogy. I thought the first two books were great but this third book blew my mind with its twists and how everything was tied up in the end. I loved it so much and it’s currently one of my favourite series.

3. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

I really enjoyed this novella bind-up. I’ve been going through The Lunar Chronicles withdrawals and Stars Above helped fill that hole in my heart. I enjoyed every single one of the stories and thought The Little Mermaid retelling and the wedding/epilogue story were absolutely amazing. I also enjoyed how the book came full circle, despite the stories being largely unrelated.

4. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

I didn’t write a review for this book because I loved it so much that I didn’t think I could put that love into words. This book has magical realism, which is one of my favourite things in the world. It was just really well-written, with lots of interesting and diverse characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. I thought it was a really magical and unique book.

5. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali

Max is one of my favourite YA WWII historical fiction novels. This one was super unique and was written from the perspective of Max. We follow Max’s story from before he was born, up until the end of the Hitler regime. Reading from the perspective of a fetus was a really interesting experience and if you’ve ever wanted to know more about the Lebensborn program, I really recommend this one!

6. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

This book is now one of my favourite contemporaries. I love Morgan Matson’s writing and I think this one if my favourite of all of her books that I’ve read. It had the most wonderful coming of age story that had a great balance of romance, friendship, family and grief.

7. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The second book in The Winner’s Trilogy, The Winner’s Crime is one of my all-time favourite books. It was so full of tension and anticipation, and I highly enjoyed the atmosphere and how epic the book felt, despite not having a lot of action. I can’t wait to read the final book and I have no idea why I haven’t picked it up yet.

8. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

This was a highly entertaining guide to the major Greek Gods. It’s narrated by Percy and he just made the whole book really fun to read. I loved the learning experience and it definitely did not fail to make me laugh.

9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

This is the third book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is my favourite of the three books that are out at the moment. It was just a really great continuation to the series and the pacing was just right for me. I love where this series is headed and I can’t wait to see how it all ends. Not long to go now!

10. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The final book of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Last Olympian had everything that I could have wanted. It was a really epic end to a really fun and action-packed series. It had action from the very beginning and it made me really excited to pick up some of Rick Riordan’s other series.


Did you rate any of these books 5 stars? I hope I convinced you to read some of these because I really love them!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Autumn TBR

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You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t do TBR posts because what I read really depends on my mood. But the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is books that are on my Spring TBR (which I’ve changed to Autumn TBR because southern hemisphere), so I thought I’d list a couple of books that I plan to read in the next two months. Most of these books I’ve either preordered, requested or already own copies of, but I’m super excited to get to all of these.

The Goodreads page for each book is linked!

1. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

I absolutely loved both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime and I have to get my hands on this as soon as it’s released! Like, you don’t understand how much I need to know what happens next. I’m about to implode from the need.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This is another series finale that I’m super excited for. The Raven Cycle so far has been magnificent and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I’m pretty sure ACOMAF is on everybody’s TBR and wishlists. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was really great and I’m so excited that ACOMAF is inspired by the Hades and Persephone story. I’m slightly iffy about it though because Rhysand is going to get a lot more page time and I don’t know how I feel about him.

4. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

I absolutely love Morgan Matson and everything she’s written. I’ve already heard really good things about The Unexpected Everything and I can’t wait to have it in my hands. It’s going to be fantastic!

5. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn was another 2015 release that I really enjoyed and I have really high hopes for this sequel.

6. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Out of all of Rick Riordan’s books, I’ve only read Percy Jackson and the Olympians but I want to eventually catch up and binge read everything else. Apollo is probably my favourite of the major gods and I’m so excited to read about him as a mortal.

7. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

I’ve had the first four books of the Heroes of Olympus on my shelves for a few months now but I still haven’t read them because I want to marathon the whole series. I have the US paperbacks of the books and the last book, The Blood of Olympus, doesn’t come out in paperback until early April. So I’m holding off until I have all of the books in my possession. I’ve already preordered The Blood of Olympus, so hopefully it gets here soon.

8. Dreamology by Lucy Keating

I’ve had an eARC of Dreamology sitting in my Kindle app since last year. I was planning to review it for Happy Indulgence but the awesome Aila read and wrote up a review for it in like a day. So it’s kind of continued sitting in my Kindle app… It sounds fascinating and Aila really enjoyed it, so I’m really keen to see what I think of it.

9. This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

This is one of my most anticipated contemporary releases of this year and I have an ARC of this one! I cannot wait to read this and will have a review up closer to release date, which is in April.

10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

This sounds like a really cute contemporary and there’s been quite a bit of buzz about it around the community. But let’s be real, I’m excited about it because the author and I share the same name.


What books are you really keen to read in the next few months?!

Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release date: May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 344
Goodreads || Book Depository

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There’s just one small problem. Since her dad died this past spring, Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute… and dealing with some baggage of his own.

Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father’s death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most – and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour was Morgan Matson’s first novel (the first one that she published as Morgan Matson anyway) and I really, really enjoyed it. It’s my least favourite of her books, but I gave both Second Chance Summer and Since You’ve Been Gone 5 stars and they’re pretty hard to top.

This book follows Amy who lost her father in a car accident. As a result, her family is in a bit of a transition phase as they try to adjust to being a family of 3 rather than a family of 4. Amy’s mother has moved to Connecticut for work and is in desperate need of her car. She assigns Amy the task of driving the car across the country but Amy has sworn off driving since the accident that killed her father. Roger, the son of a family friend, needs to get to Philadelphia and is asked to drive Amy and the car to Connecticut. However, neither of them are very fond of the route and itinerary that Amy’s mother has mapped out for them and they decide to go on an epic detour on their cross-country trip.

And the detour was truly epic. The characters visited so many different and interesting places along the way. What I really loved about their journey was that it was completely impromptu and they went to places that they felt like they needed to go to in order to resolve certain issues that they had in their lives. I really enjoyed every single location that was featured and the descriptions were so vivid that I felt like I was in the car with Amy and Roger the whole way. It was really interesting to see how the states differed from each other and how distinct even neighbouring states could be. The book  was not only fun but a really great learning experience for me. I learnt so many little facts about each place and the kinds of foods that each state was famous for. I discovered landmarks that I had never heard of before, such as the Loneliest Road in America, which is so long and lonely that you could easily run out of gas before reaching the next gas station. It was also really interesting to see how the states differed from each other and how distinct even neighbouring states could be.

The format of the book also really helped make the long journey interesting. Amy keeps a travel journal and the book included lots of notes about each state, as well as playlists for their trip. These little notes kept the book interesting, especially in the first half of the book where there was lots of driving and not much else happening. The book also contained receipts and photos of some of the things that were mentioned and I loved being able to see exactly what was being described. The formatting just really allowed us to be immersed in the story, as well as to get a really good sense of who the characters were. It brought the story to life for me.

I absolutely loved both Amy and Roger as our main characters. I thought they were completely relatable and I really connected with all of their struggles. I loved the way that Amy’s grief was explored and how the loss of her father has left her shut off from the rest of the world. I also connected with Roger’s desperation and persistence in understanding¬†what went wrong in his previous relationship and trying to fix things. The development that both of these characters went through was definitely the most noteworthy aspect of the book. They’re both a little bit closed off and enigmatic in the first half of the book, but we slowly see them opening up and breaking free of all the things that held them back. The pace of the development felt very natural and I loved how the little things they encountered on their journey played a part in their development.

What I loved most about¬†Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour¬†is that it’s not just¬†a coming of age story for Amy. The road trip and journey of self-development that they take is just as much for Roger as it is for Amy. Roger’s not just the love interest who tags along and serves as eye candy; we get to see his development and explore his story just as much as Amy’s. I loved how the two of them supported each other and encouraged each other to resolve their respective problems. And, of course, I absolutely loved their friendship and their subsequent romance. I thought the romance developed very naturally and realistically. It wasn’t rushed and it just worked. I would’ve liked to have seen just a little bit more of them together at the end, to satisfy the romantic in me, but I’m incredibly happy with how their relationship played out and the decisions they made.

The relatability of the characters and the character development is the main reason why I love Morgan Matson’s books so much.¬†Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour certainly didn’t disappoint on this front. It had a wonderful emotional journey of self-discovery as well as a physical journey that will inspire wanderlust in anybody who reads the book.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books To Read If You’re in the Mood For A Realistic Romance

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, we create a list of ten (or however many books) based on a theme. This week’s topic is Books to Read If You’re In the Mood for X, and I’ve chosen to feature books with realistic romances. What I mean by a realistic romance is one that isn’t all-consuming and nonsensical. It starts and develops in a manner that is logical and realistic, and it takes a backseat to issues that are more important.

1. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I absolutely love the romance between Samantha and Jase in this book. And that’s mostly because Jase is such a nice guy. He definitely has a lot of issues to deal with but he’s never broody and assholish. He really cares for/about and supports Samantha fully, and I loved the two of them together so much!

2. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

What I enjoyed about the romance in this book was that it wasn’t at the forefront. It didn’t overshadow all of the other issues in the book and it wasn’t the only relationship that was explored. So often in YA, it feels like the romance is the only relationship that matters or exists, but in this book, we see friendships and familial relationships too. I thought the romance developed very naturally and realistic decisions were made throughout the book.

3. The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard

While there was a bit of insta-love in this book, I enjoyed how the romance progressed. There wasn’t any dancing around each other and things just happened super naturally. I enjoyed how much Alice and Manny cared about each other and how they were there for each other during even the tough times. What I enjoyed most was that the book still left room for other relationships, particularly the beautiful relationship between Alice and her brother, Joey.

4. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger’s relationship probably isn’t the most realistic that I’ve read, but I really liked that they started off as strangers who became friends and then something more. There was less romance than I thought there was going to be and I found that to be really refreshing. The book also ended in a really realistic way, for me.

5. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

I absolutely loved Cluck and Lace’s romance in this book. It’s a hate to love kind of romance but I highly enjoyed it because it didn’t feel dramatic and forced. The decisions that were made in this book were sensible and I loved how they supported each other when nobody else was on their side.

6. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue and Gansey *deep sigh*. Another hate to love romance. I went into this series expecting lots and lots of Blansey from the very beginning since the first book mentions Blue killing her true love, who is Gansey (not a spoiler cos it’s revealed in like the first chapter). But it ended up very differently and I really enjoyed how it’s been playing out. It’s definitely very slow burn but it’s development is so natural that I can’t help but love it.

7. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

The romance in this book is a little bit instant because Emmy and Oliver were kind of an item before Oliver moved away, but I can’t deny that the romance in this book is stellar! It’s a very supportive relationship and they both take it very seriously.

8. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

The attraction and romance in this book is probably one of the most realistic that I’ve ever read. This book really captures the feeling of unrequited love and what it’s like to have a large age difference (large for a high school girl). I loved how everything was handled in this book and how the romance wasn’t forced. I liked the decisions that were made and thought the book ended in the perfect way!

9. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

The relationship between Sydney and Mac in this book was beautiful. It didn’t overshadow the themes of family, which I really appreciated. I liked how they leaned on each other during the tough times. I probably could have used a little bit more romance, but I appreciated how well Sarah Dessen explored the really important issues in the book.

10. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

All the right decisions were made in this book. I really enjoyed the relationship between Kate and Ben in this book, but when Kate begins to wonder where Ben was when a terrible crime was being committed, things start to fall apart. I loved the decisions that Kate made in this book and how she chose to protect herself.


What are some of your favourite romances and do you think they’re realistic? The majority of my list are contemporary romances. What are some of your favourite realistic fantasy romances?

Top Ten Tuesday: Last Ten Books I Added To My Wishlist

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the group at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I am featuring the ten books I have most recently added to my Book Depository wishlist. I don’t always add every book that I’m interested in to my wishlist, so these are the ones I actually plan to buy or pre-order soon.


1. The Winner’s Kiss – Marie Rutkoski

If you have seen my recent reviews of The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime, you will know that this is currently my most anticipated release. I need to know what happens next and I will probably die if I don’t get my hands on it as soon as possible. This one is out on March 29 in the US, but March 23 in Australia?!!!

2. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

This is another series finale that I am highly anticipating after reading The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue in December. I wanted to pre-order this one as soon as I had finished the first three books, but I might wait a bit closer to release date before placing an order. This one will hopefully be released on April 26.

3. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

This is actually one that I’ve wanted to buy for ages but it never made it on to my Book Depository wishlist. After reading Second Chance Summer last week, I now need to get my hands on everything else by Morgan Matson that I haven’t read yet ASAP, because Since You’ve Been Gone was also a hit with me.

4. Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend – Katie Finn

Like I said above… MUST. READ. EVERYTHING. BY. MORGAN. MATSON. Also, this one sounds like it’ll be hilarious.

5. The Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan

I am slowly making my way through everything Rick Riordan has written and I absolutely need The Hidden Oracle! Apollo is probably my favourite of all of the gods so reading about him as a regular teenage boy would make my year. This book comes out on May 3.

6. Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit

This book is right up my alley. World War II historical fiction is something that I cannot pass up. I won a proof copy of this book from Dymocks in exchange for a review on their website so I might not have to buy this one… Anna and the Swallow Man is released on January 26.

7. All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders

This book mixes magic and science and that’s all I need to know, really. This one is also out on January 26.

8. Love, Lies and Spies – Cindy Anstey

This book sounds so intriguing! It’s set in the 19th century and features two main characters who are so much more than they seem. Juliana is secretly a scientist and researcher, and there’s really nothing I like more than women in STEM in the 19th century. Spencer is not your average 19th century gentleman either. He’s an undercover spy and omg, I need this book. This one comes out on April 19.

9. Forever, Interrupted – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I saw CW @ Read Think Ponder’s review of this book and I must have it right now! It sounds heartbreaking and emotional, and there’s honestly not much I love more than a good ugly-cry.

10. My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

This one is marketed as perfect for fans of The Princess Bride and I LOVE The Princess Bride!! I love historical fiction novels and I love them even more when they’re funny. My Lady Jane is released on June 7.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2016

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Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. This is a weekly feature hosted by the group over at The Broke and the Bookish and this week I am featuring 10 of my most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016. I did a list of my most anticipated 2016 debut novels a couple weeks ago so I didn’t include any of them in this list. Click on the link to see what I included in that list!

I could have also included Truthwitch by Susan Dennard and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken on this list (those are out on January 5) but I’ve already pre-ordered those and the release date is so soon that I thought I’d look a little bit further into the future.

So here are ten of my most anticipated releases between February and June of 2016. Their Goodreads pages are linked.

1. Stars Above – Marissa Meyer

This is a collection of short stories featuring the world and the characters from The Lunar Chronicles. I believe this contains 9 short stories, 4 that have been previously released as ebooks and 5 never-before-seen stories. The Lunar Chronicles is my favourite series so I cannot wait to read more. Plus we’ve been promised the wedding of the century?

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

I really, really loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I’m highly anticipating this sequel! I read a little bit of an excerpt and I can tell that it’s going to be amazing!

3. Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Ever since I finished bingeing The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments, I’ve been looking forward to Cassie’s next release. I really love the Shadowhunter Chronicles and Cassie’s writing so Lady Midnight cannot come soon enough! I’m more excited for her next trilogy, The Last Hours (Book 1 out in 2017), than I am for Lady Midnight but I’ll take anything at this point.

4. This is Where the World Ends – Amy Zhang

Contemporary is my favourite genre and I particularly enjoy ones that will give me all the feels and make me ugly-cry until I cannot function the next day. And this one promises all of those things.

5. The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

I marathoned the first three books of The Raven Cycle just last week and I cannot wait for The Raven King to be released! Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but I have a feeling that The Raven King will be the best one of the series yet! It’s going to be so epic and I want to know if Gansey will actually die! (That is not a spoiler).

6. A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J. Maas

I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses so much when I read it back in July so I’m really looking forward to the sequel. It’s going to be partly a Hades and Persephone retelling, which has me super intrigued! I just really want to know what’s going to go down in the Night Court! (I am Team Tamlin btw)

7. The Rose and the Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

This is another sequel that I’m highly anticipating. The first book in this duology, The Wrath and the Dawn, was so great and we got left at such a heartstopping spot that I need to know what happens!

8. The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This is one of my most highly anticipated contemporaries. I’ve still only read Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson but I enjoyed the coming-of-age story and the character development in that book so much that I need to read more of her writing.

9. You Know Me Well – David Levithan & Nina LaCour

I actually don’t know too much about this book but everything I’ve read by David Levithan has been amazing (review of Every Day) and he’s one of my favourite contemporary authors. This book promises to be an wonderfully diverse LGBTQ+ book so I need to have this in my possession!

10. Summer Days & Summer Nights – Stephanie Perkins

I thoroughly enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ first short story collection, My True Love Gave To Me, when I read it last year so I’m super excited to pick up her next collection. This collection is written by a whole new group of contemporary and fantasy authors and I cannot wait to see what summery stories are in store for us.


Please share your most anticipated releases for the first half of 2016! I love adding new books to my watchlist and pre-ordering them so let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books On My YA Contemporary 101 Syllabus

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team at¬†The Broke and the Bookish.¬†I’m really excited about this week’s theme, which is Ten Books On My xxx 101 syllabus. So I’ve chosen YA contemporary books, because it’s my favourite genre and I feel like I’d be able to recommend some really great books from the genre.

I’ve tried to include a variety of themes and contemporary styles, so without further ado… I present to you my YA contemporary syllabus!

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson:
This is one of my favourite books ever! It’s about twins Jude and Noah, who used to be very close but something has torn them apart in recent years. This book is very interesting in the way that it’s written. It’s written from two perspectives, but also from two different timelines. The story is beautiful, the writing is beautiful, and the characters are beautiful too. I’ll Give You The Sun has everything, from family to romance, and also has LGBTQ characters too.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick:
On the surface, this seems like a fluffy contemporary romance. But it’s actually a very complex and layered story, with very likeable and relatable characters. It’s a modern spin on Romeo and Juliet. Our main characters are neighbours but the families are completely different in their appearances and values. If you’re looking for a book with a fantastic romance, as well as an exploration of some deeper issues, this is the one for you. The writing flows so nicely and the pace of the book is just perfect. I have written a review of this book.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell:
This is another contemporary romance that explores family. Cath has always done everything with her twin, Wren. But as they start their freshman year of college, Wren decides that she wants to go off on her own. Fangirl is such a fun book, with some serious themes. There is also a great romance that develops in the book. Best of all, I feel like everyone can relate to Cath, who is a fangirl. This book definitely gave me the warm and fuzzy feels.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky:
This is a great coming of age book that is written in epistolary form. It follows Charlie through his freshman year of high school, as he makes new friends and discoveries about himself. The fact that the book is written as a series of letters to an anonymous recipient allows us to see Charlie’s most intimate thoughts and feelings. The book explores grief, loss and belonging, and it’s definitely one that hit me really hard. It also has a gay side character.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman:
This is an incredible book about finding love, losing love, and finding yourself and your own voice in the process. Allyson has always been the perfect girl who has done everything her parents have wanted. She meets a mysterious boy named Willem on her trip around Europe. They end up going on a one day trip to Paris but he randomly disappears the next day. Allyson then has to figure out what went wrong, and in the process, ends up discovering more about herself and the type of person she wants to be. This book was so moving and touched me in so many different ways. I was constantly rooting for the characters and those are the best books to me.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson:
This is fun, summery book about friendship and finding yourself. Emily has always kind of been in the shadows of her best friend, Sloane, who is spontaneous and interesting. But one day Sloane goes missing and leaves Emily with a list of things she should do for the summer. Emily starts doing the things on the list in the hopes of it being able to lead her back to Sloane. In the process, she forms new friendships and relationships, and learns about who she is independent of Sloane. This is a fast-paced book that also touches your heart.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli:
This is an incredibly adorable book with a serious message. Simon has been emailing a mysterious boy called Blue, who goes to his school. Neither of them have come out as gay yet, but as they continue talking to each other, they gain the courage to come out to their family and friends. Throw in some subplots and some interesting characters we’ve got ourselves a fun and adorable story. If you’re looking for something that is light-hearted but still contains important messages, I think Simon is for you.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan:
This is a much darker and serious LGBTQ book than Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Told from the perspective of a generation of gay men lost to AIDS, we follow 4 different pairs of gay boys, as they¬†go through their ordinary lives. It explores homophobia and what it means to be gay. This book affected me so much and I think it’s definitely a must-read for all teens and young adults out there. And I have a review for this.

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The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith:
Hadley is travelling to London to attend her dad’s wedding to a woman she has never met. She meets a British boy, Oliver, at the airport and they spend the whole flight getting to know each other. They lose each other when they arrive in London, but you never know what can happen when you’re in love. This isn’t just a fluffy romance. It also has a family element to it. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming. Jennifer E. Smith is a master at conveying emotions – I felt everything that Hadley was feeling in the book. This book is very easy to read and definitely a page turner.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins:
I love all of Stephanie Perkins’ books but Isla and the Happily Ever After is my favourite of the three. I love Isla and Josh. Josh is romantic and sweet, and who doesn’t love an artist who is able to draw you pretty, pretty things? This book is set not only in Paris, but also New York and Barcelona, and it takes you on a romantic adventure.


I wish I could’ve included more on this list because I have so many contemporary favourites! What are your top YA contemporaries?