My three books of the month – 5 reasons why you should read these books!

One of the huge benefits of being on a lockdown (I know that sounds weird but one can’t deny that in spite of all the stress and negativity and health concerns, there are a few positives that can emerge) is that I’ve had way more time to read. For as long as I can remember, reading has been my favourite hobby. I used to stay up past my bedtime and read by torchlight under my duvet, thinking how sneaky I was and that my parents would never know. Of course, they always knew but the reason they never stopped me is because they’ve always loved how much we all read and have encouraged us to read as much as we want for years. However, the end of high school meant that I didn’t have nearly as much leisure time and so my favourite hobby sort of fell into the cracks of my life. You might think that I could have revived it last year during all my travels and short courses, and I would have made the same assumption, except I was actually incredibly busy so while I may have been able to read a little more than in high school, it still wasn’t a lot. This lockdown has meant that I can finally start enjoying all those books I’ve been wanting to read and haven’t had the time for. So, as you can imagine, I’ve been reading quite a bit and have easily read a dozen books this month. It’s been amazing! Now I mostly read YA and contemporary romantic fiction, because who doesn’t love some romance and a happily ever after, but occasionally I branch out and try something a little more heavy. So, because Thursday was World Book Day (I would have posted this on Wednesday but Wednesday was Earth day and I really wanted to write something that honoured our incredible planet – P.S. check out that post here: ) I thought I’d share my favourite books of the month and five reasons why you should definitely give them a read. There is one YA Romcom (because it’s my favourite genre and everyone could do with something light and sweet these days), a fantastic romantic fiction that is laugh-out-loud, and a more intense YA contemporary fiction novel for those who aren’t as into candyfloss stories as me. This is my first attempt at a blogging book review so hopefully it isn’t too awful and I will do my best to not give any spoilers 😊 Right … Let’s talk about books!

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YA Romcom: The Bookworm Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts

Published: October 2019 by Entangled Teen, an imprint of Entangled Publishing LLC

Genres: Romance novel, Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary romance

Rating: 4.8/5

Blurb: “This spinoff of The Replacement Crush featuring Amy and Toff is sure to melt your heart.
Shy bookworm Amy McIntyre is about to compete for the chance to interview her favorite author, who hasn’t spoken to the press in years. The only way to win is to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but that level of confidence has never come easy.

The solution? A competition coach. The problem? The best person for the job is the guy she’s secretly crushing on…local surfer celebrity Toff Nichols. He’s a player. He’s a heartthrob. He makes her forget basic things, like how to breathe. How can she feel any confidence around him?

To her surprise, Toff agrees to help. And he’s an excellent teacher. Amy feels braver—maybe even brave enough to admit her feelings for him. When their late night practices become less about coaching and more about making out, Amy’s newfound confidence wavers. But does Toff really like her or is this just another lesson?

Blurb taken from Goodreads.com (check out the site for more great books and reviews)

Photo by Blondey on a Mission – book by Lisa Brown Roberts

OHH EMM GEEE!! That is probably the closest description of how I felt when I finished this book. I couldn’t put it down from the moment I picked it up and by the time I finished it (which was the next day having pulled an all-nighter to finish it in true addicted bookworm style), I was overwhelmed because of how much I had fallen in love with the characters. Given how much I adored this book (which I highly recommend if you’re a fan of light, clever love stories), here are my five reasons:

  1. These characters are unbelievable. Lisa Brown Roberts is nothing short of a pro at creating memorable characters that steal your heart. They may start out as archetypal (the shy bookworm and the confident, badass surfer) but they develop far beyond their stereotypes. Not only that, but I’m always a huge fan of writers who create solid, memorable side characters. The protagonists friends are the kind of support crew anyone would dream of and being a sibling, I loved how well Amy’s little brother was written as the annoying yet somehow sweet younger sibling and how well all their interactions were captured.
  2. The bookish anecdotes, tropes and quotes. Being a bookworm, any references to my book addiction is well appreciated but that is taken to a new level in this novel. The best part about it is the litany of references that snuck onto the pages so no matter what genre you read, there would be at least one comment for you to appreciate. Amy’s bookworm brain so cleverly displayed through all the bookish anecdotes makes her a far more relatable character, and gives you something to chuckle about. It was just so clever and cute! Ugh I wish I could write this well!!!
  3. The relationship arc and dynamic between the different characters was nothing short of adorkable. As I mentioned, the characters are so well-written but the one thing that can ruin good characters is a bad dynamic with other characters. That certainly wasn’t the problem in this book. Whether you are looking at the changing relationship and witty banter between the two protagonists, or all the ways in which the friends interact with each other, or even how the annoying little brother fits in to his sister’s world and all of those people, the relationships are so well thought-out and may even make you a little jealous that you don’t have such clever, sarcastic flirting with your partner or a best friend who gets you that well. Each side character had a purpose, and played their parts beautifully.
  4. The author’s writing style is addictive and fun in the best sorts of ways. Writing a teen love story can sometimes become too sappy and cheesy, but this book pulled it off. The bookish quotes and adorable love story worked so well with the witty dialogue and clever descriptions. What really made a difference was that the book was written in 3rd person and fast-paced style keeps you focused and wanting to keep reading until the end.
  5. You become part of the story in so many different ways. Amy is probably the most relatable character I have read in a long time. The lives of the characters are interesting, yet normal enough that you can project your own experiences into the story. The descriptions, and way emotions are written make you feel like you are in the moment, yarn-bombing a bench with Amy, or getting sparked up yourself to defend something you love. It’s honestly such an incredible story that is fluffy and light while also deep and emotional and you won’t want to let the characters go when it ends, but they will stay with you long after the final chapter.
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Romantic Fiction: Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

Published: June 2019 by Berkley for Penguin Random House LLC

Genres: Fiction, Romance novel, Contemporary romance

Rating: 4.5/5

Blurb: “Can a romcom-obssessed romantic finally experience the meet-cute she always dreamed of or will reality never compare to fiction, in this charming debut adult novel from Kerry Winfrey.

Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.

When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?

Blurb taken from Goodreads.com (check out the site for more great books and reviews)

Photo by Blondey on a Mission – book by Kerry Winfrey

UHH This book! It was the type of book you fall in love with from the first chapter and it keeps you hooked and chuckling to yourself until you reach the very end.

  1. The most memorable best friend duo. Who doesn’t love reading about an incredible friendship? I feel like best friends don’t always get enough credit but Winfrey rectified that with Annie’s best friend Chloe stealing the show every time she was on the page. A true best friend who will be brutally honest, even when you’re a bit too fragile for it, but will be there in a flash with pizza or to help you out. (P.S. I’m looking for a bestie like this so if you love pizza and books, send me a message in the comments section 😉 )
  2. It’s predictable – in the best way! It’s a romance novel so of course there are going to be clichés and some predictable parts of the plot. But that’s half the fun! Even though you can guess what’s coming, you then get to be absorbed more by other aspects of the story. It’s light-hearted and fun, and gives you all the perfect moments to gush over the hot love interest, chuckle alongside the best friend banter and roll your eyes at the obvious chemistry that all but the two protagonists can see.
  3. The perfect, adorable ode to classic and all-time favourite rom-coms. For anyone who loves romcoms, then this is the book for you. Literally. Everywhere you look, there is a little reference to one of those classic romance films. I mean, just look at the title! The protagonist’s obsession with those candyfloss films is such an adorable quirk, and will make you feel like rewatching all the romcoms mentioned just because.
  4. Wow! I aspire to write like this one day … Kerry Winfrey’s writing style is light, witty and inflicted with just the right amount of serious and funny. From the romcom obsessive anecdotes to the more than hilarious dialogue and interactions, this book keeps you laughing and invested.
  5. It’s real enough to not be a complete fairy tale. Okay the chances of a dream job just landing in your hometown, accompanied with a handsome side order of a completely coincidental ‘prince charming’ aren’t high. I know that. But the struggles that the characters face, and quite a few aspects of their lives aren’t as neatly polished or cliched as a standard fairy tale makes such a difference. It always makes the love and happiness a little bit sweeter when there is just enough realism to balance it out.
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Non-fluffy book: All the bright places by Jennifer Niven

Published: January 2015, by Penguin Books for Random House

Genres: Novel, Young Adult Fiction, Romance novel

Rating: 4.3/5

Blurb: “Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
 
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.”

Blurb taken from Goodreads.com (check out the site for more great books and reviews)

Photo by Blondey on a Mission – book by Jennifer Niven

This is probably one of the most intense novels I have ever read. It was filled with depth and emotion, as well as being an incredible story. Now there are many controversial opinions about this book so please just remember that these are my opinions, so please don’t take my words as the truth. There are many people who enjoyed and didn’t enjoy this book, and I fall under the former so that’s why I chose to review this book.

  1. It’s incredibly real. From the difficult family relationships, to the interactions between the main characters and even to the mental issues they are struggling with, you can see the realism in all of it. It’s not often that characters struggle with depression on this level, or the interactions at school are brought to life in all the harshness that they sometimes can be, and I greatly appreciated how real (and thus relatable) this book was.
  2. Not another cliched high school romance. The stereotypical high school romance is boy meets girl, they fall for each other, some problem potentially splits them and then they get together at the end. Happily ever after. Unfortunately, that’s not how love usually works in the real world – it’s messy and complicated and often doesn’t develop as smoothly as the books tell us. This novel changes that by showing a different type of love story – one that isn’t easy or predictable and wow does it make you that much more invested in how things turn out.
  3. This book brings tears to your eyes. Literally. Okay I know that sounds more like a reason to not read this book. Yes your heart is broken and the tears come and that’s awful, but it’s also incredible. I know I’m more of a softy and many things can make me cry but I don’t always cry in books – this one deserves the tears that are shed. I may have been left with tears by the end of the book but it was executed so tastefully that it made the crying worth it.
  4. It’s inspirational. Case and point. I think people often forget how many people, particularly teenagers, struggle with mental illnesses and I don’t think that enough books tackle them in a way that is helpful to readers. This story showed that not only is it okay to struggle with things, but that there are ways you can get through it. It truly shows what heroes people who battle with mental illnesses are for having to battle their own minds every single day, and I can’t express enough appreciation for that.
  5. Niven doesn’t shy away from tackling difficult issues and does so without romanticising mental illnesses or sugar coating the problems. It’s so challenging to write about mental illnesses and problems of this magnitude without it coming off as sugar-coated or degrading and I applaud Jennifer Niven for taking on such a hurdle. This novel tackles real issues in such a raw, honest way and while it isn’t fluffy candyfloss, it’s still an incredibly beautiful story.
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These are all such wonderful books, and while I know that they are all pretty much romance novels, they are so different, wonderful and inspiring that you just have to give them a chance! Hopefully I’ve convinced you to try at least one of them out … Are you planning on reading any of these (your answer should be a resounding YES, YES, YES after all that work I did)? Let me know in the comments section and if you’ve already read one of them, what did you think?

Thanks for reading and happy reading yourselves!

Lots of Love

Blondey on a Mission xxx

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