Review of Tilly Maguire and the Royal Wedding Mess

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Unapologetically swoon-worthy, yet powerfully (dare I say) feminist in its characterisation of the main character, Tilly Maguire and the Royal Wedding Mess presented an independent, strong female lead that had me gushing. Tilly may’ve be an (ex)major fan of the main love interest, pop-star, Reuben Vaughan, but that didn’t mean she was going to collapse at his feet, something which I really respected in her character.

Goodreads synopsis:

Aspiring writer, 18-year-old Tilly Maguire, is a totally reformed ex-superfan of British boyband singer, Reuben Vaughan. Yeah, she was going to marry him when she was thirteen, but that fangirl phase is way in her past now, along with an unfortunate side ponytail and a weird obsession with galaxy leggings – ugh. Cringe!

When her writing wins Tilly a six-week internship at a top London PR firm, she doesn’t expect to stumble from a long-haul flight straight into an A-list debacle of her own making, but these things happen. She proves to the entire world that jet lag and social media definitely don’t mix.

Obviously, Tilly didn’t intend to get tangled in a ridiculous scandal involving the British royal family. She’s not the attention-seeking type! She’s just a socially awkward introvert, with a galloping case of anxiety made even worse after a high-profile run-in with the very last person she ever imagined she’d meet for real.

Not on her gap year, anyway.

And not like this!

Sure, the story is unequivocally romantic, over-the-top (in the best possible way) and just plain dramatic (with a capital ‘d’, if you insist), but somehow it didn’t feel, stale or cliche. With LGBT+ and mental health representation, plus an Australian main character (yay!), TMATRWM was more substantial than just your usual ‘fluffy’ read. An amazing book that I have already begun ambushing my friends with, Tilly Maguire and the Right Royal Wedding Mess would be perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The Princess Diaries.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Image credit Goodreads.

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Only the Ocean, Emergency Contact and The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One; The Best New Books I’ve Read in 2019 So Far

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I’m head-over-heels for this book & it’s adorable couple 

Only The Ocean by Natasha Carthew

Release date: 1 November 2018

Subjects: Lgbt+ romance 🌈, ship-worthy couples👩‍❤️‍👩, teen motherhood🍼, (literal) ships & stowaways 🚢

Ahh this book… This book left me with that sweet post-book bliss that only the very best story manage to provide. The (queer) (*squeals*) romance, and surprisingly dark character background (not to mention an ending that made me bawl) helped to make this book memorable and unique. I, like many of the other reviewers must admit that I found the writing style to be something of a challenge early into the story. However, I found that once I delved into the book for a significant period at a time, the writing would not only begin to make sense but begin to really contribute to my enjoyment of the novel. 5 stars!

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Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi.

Release date: 27th March 2018 (perhaps not a ‘new book’, however, the copy I received on NetGalley was set to be released on January 1 2019…)

Subjects: ship-worthy couples 💑, college 🏫, complex family relationships 👨‍👩‍👧

The blurb may scream ‘angsty millennial characters’ and ‘tropey, cliched plot’ but in reality, the story carries a certain richness, which likely stems from its relatable characters and comfortable setting. It may not be a life-changingly-important-this-book-will-destroy-your-soul kind of read, but with one (Korean-American) main character who has a complex maternal relationship and another who’s recovering from alcoholism (and also has a complicated family setting), the book really doesn’t need to be ‘inspirational’ to be beautifully written and thoroughly engaging. 5 stars!

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the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Release date: 5th of March

Subjects: Poetry, sexual assault, self harm

you
don’t
get to say
it’s
my fault
for
staying.
it’s
his fault
for
making me
afraid to
stay
or go.

This book comes at pivotal point in the history of women’s rights. It’s undeniable importance, as well as my experience with the two previous books in the trilogy made it possibly my most anticipated book for this year. Was it good? Definitely. Was it as good as the other two? Not quite. My feelings towards this book are hard to pinpoint and even harder to explain. The start of the book was the area I had the most trouble with, as I felt that the quality of poems just didn’t quite match up to what I was expecting. Where were the hefty one liners that made you grab your pen to jot them down? Or the intricately shaped poems that you had to reread three times before fully comprehending their message? Despite this, the second two thirds of the book was significantly better, with a number of poems that really spoke to me. While I would have liked more on the theme of mermaids, the guest poems were a new and welcomed addition. 4 stars!

What great new books have you read so far this year? Let’s talk new releases, recent book hauls and everything else below 😊.

 

8 Books I Wish I Could Have Read as Arcs

Arcs, or Advanced Reviewer Copies are an amazing way for bloggers, librarians and reviewers to gain access to new release books in return for their honest opinion. Books by popular or ‘big name’ authors are hotly contested, and it’s not always that you’re chosen to receive the book.

Here are 8 books I requested via NetGalley but devastatingly missed out on being chosen.

All cover image credit goes to Goodreads

  1. Meet Cute, an anthology by numerous authors including Nicola Yoon, Nina LaCour, Julie Murphy, Emery Lord and Sara Shepard. As a fan of Yoon, Murphy &  LaCour, I was desperate to read this book. Not only did it have all the big names, but the whole premise sounded so…well, cute. Luckily I managed to pick it up at my local library as it ended up being adorable! This book gave me all the feels & all the squeals 😂. Find my extended thought on the book here.
  2. Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus. Another book that I was excited about almost purely off the author. It’s not even like I LOVED One of Us Is Lying but for some reason I had my fingers & toes crossed waiting for the results of my NetGalley request.
  3. Sadie by Courtney Summers. This book got a serious amount of hype. I’ve actually  since borrowed Sadie from my library but never got around to reading it- it would be interesting to see whether I would have liked it had of read it pre-release.
  4. Speed of Life by Carol Weston. Perhaps the first book on this list that wasn’t overly hyped, something about the blurb Speed of Life just spoke to me. I later borrowed this as an audiobook but, like many of the audiobooks I start, it remains unfinished.
  5. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandya Menon. This book sounded sweet, looked sweet and had a lot of hype behind it. I needed nothing more to make me desperate to read it.
  6. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. My lack of knowledge on graphic novels is perhaps a good reason why I did’t have to write a review of this. I was desperate to read it at the time, although now, I’m not so sure.
  7. The first of two feminist books to round off this list, Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan sounded fresh and inspiring. Plus, we all know I love a book in verse. *Sigh* I guess I’ll just have to wait for it’s release later this month, then.
  8. Girl Squads by Sam Magg. I loved the sound of this girl-power tribute and had planned on buying a copy for my bestie if I enjoyed it enough.

Were you lucky enough to read any of these books as Arcs? What  books did you miss out on reading pre-release? Let’s talk new, old and pre-releases in the comments below! 🙂 Happy reading.

Loved this? Find more book recommendations in my 2018 end of year book survey here.

My Favourite Reads of 2018 & Early 2019 |(Extremely Late) End of Year Survey

February’s not too late to post a 2018 wrap up, right? Right? I’ve been on holidays for the past few months but now, but have finally decided to get back to blogging at a slower, less structured pace. A huge thank you to the Perpetual Page Turner for organising this annual survey! Find my 2017 reading wrap up here!

The Facts

Number Of Books You Read: 72                                                                                            Number Of Pages You Read: 21,641 pages (avg of 300 pages per book)
Number of Re-Reads: 1 (Geek Girl book 1)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Contemporary

Best Book You Read In 2018?

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Image credit Goodreads for all following cover images

Elena Vanishing, a memoir by Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle. Nonfiction…I too never would have guessed this would be the genre of my favourite 2018 read. Yet this story’s rawness, honesty and pain made it wondrously readable.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Look. I didn’t hate this book, it just wasn’t ‘Amazing’ with a ‘capital A’; it was engaging and the Breakfast Club style assortment of characters was somewhat amusing but the twist just wasn’t that surprising. 

 Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

The Women are Some Kind of Magic Series by Amanda Lovelace. The first two books for just perfect. Now I have my hands firmly on the Arc of the final book and am not letting go for anyone/thing.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

None of these are particularly ‘new’ authors, but I did read my first books by Agatha Christie, Jesse Andrews & Adam Silvera last year. (Plus, got to meet Jesse Andrews irl *cue happy dance*).

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers– A school-prescribed classic that I actually LOVED?!? 

 Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie! Short, sweet and suspenseful, with a twist that left me reeling. 

Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli or What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera. I’m desperate to re-live these ships!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

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Most memorable character of 2018?

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Margot Lewis from Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan. I can’t say why she’s memorable without revealing the twist! Now you have an excuse to read it 🙂 .

Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan. Another book (beautifully) written in verse…hmmm….I’m starting to notice a pattern here. Perhaps because the writing style is more impactful & ~unique~..?

 Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

The Diary of Anne Frank. It may not have been the most gripping read but it’s honesty was compelling. Definitely an important read, especially in this political era. 

  Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“My Last Message would be to find your people. And to treat each day like a lifetime.”

“Sometimes the truth is a secret you’re keeping from yourself because living a lie is easier.”

“Entire lives aren’t lessons, but there are lessons in lives.”

“…stories can make someone immortal as long as someone else is willing to listen.”

Some of the many tear jerking quotes from They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

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  Book That Shocked You The Most

People Like Us by Dana Mele. That twist left me with my mouth hanging wide open. 

 OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

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(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Bram & Simon from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. For obvious reasons. 

 Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

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The hype around The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas drove me (like many others, I’m sure) to read it. Did it live up to the hype? Hmm… I’m gonna have to go with no.

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

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Definitely not a new crush, but my answer to every book crush related question (’til the end of time) is always going to be Nick Hidaka from Geek Girl by Holly Smale. *swoons*.

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

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Hive by AJ Betts. A dystopic future community that has removed all technology sounds strange but it was actually really good (ok, it was admittedly a little strange).

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

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You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando was like watching a badass teenage girl undercover agent movie (if that were a common genre of movie- I wish!).

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

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Moonrise by Sarah Crossan made me ugly-cry for HOURS.

 Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew. This book was cute. This book was terrifying. This book was tear-jerking. With an intense character backstory, uncertain setting and gorgeous romantic paring, I’m surprised this book is as underrated as it is. Read my review here.

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Favorite post you wrote in 2018? 

Character Files: Lorelei von Leyden. I liked the new direction I took with this post. I’ll definitely throw in a few posts like this later on in 2019.

4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events,  etc.)?

I met Jesse Andrews, author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl! 🙂 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

Receiving the Liebster Award twice was very exciting.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I had a huge reading slump in the middle of the year that resulted in me DNFing at least 5 Arcs. Whether the uninteresting books were the cause or effect of my slump remains unknown.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My ‘New Books 16/01/18’ post somewhat surprisingly came out on top in terms of most views.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

My ‘Recommendations for if you Loved All the Bright Places‘ post is an infographic that took me a while to make and sadly did’t receive much love. 

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I came across a new Arc site called Edelweiss but haven’t actually tried using it yet.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I set a goal of reading 80 books for the Goodreads challenge but only managed to read 72.

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My goal is again 80 books this year, however I’m also setting a page count goal of 24,000 (for an average of 300 pages per book). Hopefully this will stop me from fearing the larger books as the time taken to read them will be reflected in my page count goal.

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

I have been wanting to read The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli for years! This is the year I finally tick it off my TBR. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandya Menon is also high on my 2019 TBR.

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

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Happy Girl Lucky (The Valentines Book 1) by Holly Smale, one of my all time favourite authors! Release date: February 7!

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

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The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace. I already have the Arc and am eagerly anticipating an opportunity to start reading it. Release date: March 5!

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

150 followers? 200? We’re at 123, people! Let’s keep it up. Just blogging and reading throughout the year without any slumps is my main goal. *fingers & toes crossed*

Wow. That was an adventure. Thanks for sticking out this super loonnggggg post with me. 

I would LOVE to hear what you read last year and/or your thoughts on my 2018 reads. Drop a comment down below- let’s exchange 2019 tbr recommendations! 🙂

2017 reading wrap up. 

Review of Why We Sleep By Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker bedazzled me with its anecdotes, facts and statistics. I was enthralled; could my terrible sleep patterns really lead to Alzheimer’s, cancer or diabetes later in life? But as the book progressed, the same sentiments were repeated over and over, so, while I was technically moving through the book, I never really moved away from the argument presented in the first 20 or so pages. At 25% through the book, getting through every page felt like a marathon. It was because of this lack of development and draining nature that I decided to DNF the book after weeks of trying to force myself to read it.

My rating: 2.5 stars out of 5- the portion that I read was interesting, but the overall monotony of the book made it feel like a chore to read.

Synopsis

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Image Credit Penguin Books UK

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world – Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes – has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.

Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves in to everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.

I received an eArc of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker in return for an honest review.

Bookish Matchmaking- Recommendations For If You Loved All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

While scrolling through the Goodreads Choice Awards, I noticed Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places nominated for the ‘best of the best’ category. Sadly, the novel didn’t make it to the final round, however, the awards still got me thinking about some of my favourite books that fans of All the Bright Places could enjoy.

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Fans of the Impossible Life, Beautiful Mess and Moonrise are all amazing books that I felt evoked similar emotions to All the Bright Places. Furthermore, as a whole the books are relatively diverse; FOTIL has LGBT+ and mental illness representation, Beautiful Mess talks about grief & is set in Australia, and Moonrise features racially diverse leads. 

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them? What books were you hoping to see make the final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards?

 

Nonfiction November 2018 TBR

I’ve actually been getting quite into my nonfiction recently; one of my favourite books of the year so far, Elena Vanishing by Clare B. Dunkle and Elena Dunkle, is a memoir, and I’m currently reading a Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker on my Kobo. It should come at no surprise then, that I was eager to take part in this year’s Non-fiction November.

However, I do have 2 non-nonfiction eArcs that I need to read (namely, Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi and Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew) plus 2 new purchases that I may end up trying (The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Friday Barnes; Girl Detective by R.A.Spratt). If all goes to plan, though, I’ll be adding a number of exciting nonfiction books to my 2018 read list before the month is through. Here are a few titles I’m hoping to read this month:

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Columbine by Dave Cullen. This book peaked my interest as I recently watched the documentary, Bowling for Columbine at school. I’ve heard great things about this book so It’s definitely one to add to my TBR for this month.

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I have mixed anticipatory feelings about this book as the quantity of ‘sick-lit’ books I read in my pre-teens have turned me off books about cancer, mostly as I feel like they’re all much the same. Hopefully a more realistic account can re-spark my interest.

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Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans. A collection of NF short stories seems like a great way to mix up my TBR. I originally saw this while looking through this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards nominations and thought it looked like a great Hidden Figures-esque read.

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Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove and Howard Chua-Eoan. Both this book and Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity by David Kirby, look at killer whale captivity, an area that has been of interest to me since I watched the documentary Blackfish.

Other books I’m considering are The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez, Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan McClelland, and Anne Frank; The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank as I’ve wanted to read all of them, especially Anne Franke for a number of years.

I’m quite excited to delve into this collection of nonfiction books, especially as I’ve managed to find a variety of acclaimed biographical, suspense & scientific stories to keep things feeling fresh during the month. Despite this, if you have any good nonfiction book suggestions, I would be very keen to hear them 🙂 .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten of the Longest Books I’ve Ever Read | TTT 9/10/18

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by  That Artsy Girl. This week’s topic is all about the longest books you’ve read. This seems like a really intriguing topic to me as, while a few titles come to mind, I’m usually deterred by longer novels as I’m scared that they will drag on longer than necessary.

Image credit goes to Goodreads.

  1. The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee (513 pages). Like many fellow fans, I saved every page of the book.
  2. What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli (448 pages). My most recent read from this list, despite worrying it would drag on, I actually found the book to be rather action packed.
  3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (481 pages). A little slow but still a sweet book…? I can’t help but feel that the book’s hype skews my opinion slightly.

  4. Whisper to Me by Nick Lake (530 pages). I’ll take any opportunity I get to praise this book (it really is that good 😉). Trust me when I say the 530 pages fly by.
  5. Blink and You Die (Ruby Redfort #6) by Lauren Child (560pages). Both the longest book on my list and the longest book in the Ruby Redfort series, I was enthralled in Blink and You Die until the last page.

  1. Mummun by Jesse Andrews (407 pages). The length took its toll on this novel’s pace and it ended up a little slow & boring.
  2. Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale (416 pages). While it’s definitely not my favourite novel in the Geek Girl series (certainly still a cute book though), it does hold the title of the longest (not actually sure if this is a good thing…😂).
  3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (464 pages). Definitely slow-paced which I feel somewhat suits its holiday read appeal.
  4. Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow (416 pages). An emotional rollercoaster of a book, the last 150pages were by far my most enjoyable.
  5. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (544 pages). I never actually realised how long this book is (I guessed it was around 400 pages) which probably says something about how thoroughly enthralled I was in it.

What are the longest books that you’ve read (do they beat my 560 pages?)? Do you have any of these books on your TBR? Leave a link to your TTT and I’ll make sure to stop by. 

Review of What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

36260157Synopsis: 

Meet Ben and Arthur. Ben is a battered dreamer who’s shipping his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him. Arthur is new to New York and struggling to fit in. After an memorable meet-cute in a New York post office, the boys lose touch only be be brought back together via a ‘missed connection’ advert. Is it fate? It looks like it. But after a series of disastrous first dates, Ben and Arthur may have to accept the universe should’ve minded its business.

Release date: October 9 2018

Price: $16.99

My rating: 4.5/5

My thoughts

Characters- Ben, a Puerto Rican New Yorker, and Arthur, a Jewish boy from Georgia, were both adorable protagonists and their individual romantic and platonic relationships were complex and refreshing. Each character was built from numerous unique character points that really set them and their story apart from other ya teen romance novels that I’ve read. Ben, for example, was  writing a novel and stuck in summer school with his ex-boyfriend, while Hudson was an intern for his mother’s law firm and an obsessive Broadway (specifically Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen) fan.

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Plot- Despite featuring the cliched boy-meets-boy trope extensively, the novel still felt new and unique. Admittedly, I was a little worried about the length of the novel and feared that it would end up dragging. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised, and found that each of the 400+ pages was not only necessary to the stories’ development, but was fulfilling and undoubtedly enjoyable.

Point of view- My least favourite aspect of the novel would have to be the point of view, which alternated between Ben and Arthur’s perspectives. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed 2 POV novels previously, I just found this one confusing.

Overall, What If It’s Us was a sweet young adult romance novel filled with loveable characters and a fun, action packed plot. 

*I received an eArc of this novel in return for an honest review.*

 

The Best Book to Movie & TV Conversions of 2017-18-19

These past few years have brought a superfluity of amazing book to movie conversions. Here are a few of my favourites, as well as some that I am dying to see.

Read/seen

  1. Everything Everything. A great book & sweet movie.
  2. Wonder. How can you not fall in love with Augie, Wonder’s adorable protagonist? The book transitioned well into a movie.
  3. Ready Player One. This is the first on the list where I actually liked the movie more than the book. Directed by Steven Spielberg, I loved how the movie really brought the story to life.
  4. Love Simon. Amazing book complemented by a deservingly amazing movie. I watched the movie twice in the space of 24hrs I loved it so much.
  5. A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV show). While I liked (but didn’t love) the movie of A Series of Unfortunate Events, I am a die hard fan of the Netflix TV show.
  6. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I haven’t actually read the book, but the movie was cute in a teen movie kind of way.

Want to read/see

  1. Crazy Rich Asians. One that I am intrigued to watch & read.
  2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Estimated release 2019). I’m not too sure what the story is about but I’ve heard a lot about it.

Have you read any of these books or seen any of the movies? Have you ever liked the movie more than the book? What’s your favourite boom to movie/TV conversion?