Stacking the Shelves (37) + Giveaway!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, sharing the books I've acquired this week! I'm still studying for my GRE, which means I haven't read any news books recently, but that doesn't mean that I haven't received any *wink wink*.

Here are the books I got for review:

(Thanks to the bro for modelling the books)

Superpowerless by Chris Priestley
Show Stopper by Hayley Barker
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (ARC)

I also got an eGalley:

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 

Thank you so much to Sahsa at Pansing and Cassie at Disney Publishing Worldwide!

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 

Eid Mubarak!
As it's Eid today, how about a giveaway?

Enter to win...

Any one of the books below 
OR 
Any book under $20 (USD) from the Book Depository that is either by a Muslim author or features a Muslim protagonist. 

(covers link to Goodreads)

There are definitely quite a lot of books I'm missing out on, so definitely share more recommendations in the comments! I sadly haven't read many YA (or MG) books featuring Muslim main characters or books written by Muslim authors, but I'm hoping that will change soon, because representation is important you guys! #WeNeedDiverseBooks

RULES
  • You must be 13+ to enter this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to you (not sure? check here).
  • If you are in the US, depending on price, I might opt to send you the book through Amazon instead.
  • The covers above will be most likely the version that you will receive. I reserve the right to choose the cover based on price (sorry!).
  • If you choose to go for the second option (choice of book), then I'll have to check whether it is written by a Muslim author/features a Muslim protagonist.
  • This giveaway will run from June 25th until Sunday July 9th, 11:59 pm EST.
  • One entry per person–no cheating! Cheaters will be disqualified.
  • I am not responsible for any lost or damaged packages.
  • I will not retain or give out any of the information you enter. Your address will not be shared with anyone if you win.
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below (and may the odds be ever in your favour!).

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

The Haves. The Have-Nots.

Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

Okay. I wanted to like this book. I really did. I mean, I enjoyed The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (read my review). And I love–and I truly mean love–psychological thrillers. I live for the stuff. The genre keeps me on edge and gets the brain working, people. And this one was set up so perfectly too! Two perspectives, two girls from different economic backgrounds who've both got secrets, one guy thrown into the mix...what could possibly go wrong? Answer: quite a bit, unfortunately. A lot of it was good, but there was just some things that didn't do it for me. 

Okay, let me tackle this piece by piece. First of all, our two main characters Kate and Olivia. I loved the fact that both of them were different, as I previously mentioned, because we have one character who moves around from school to school on scholarships, has to room in Chinatown, and has no money, and another character who is super rich and has everything she wants. And then of course–the secrets. 

Olivia Sumner and I shared only one class, AP English, but that's all it takes.
Watch me now.
Pay close attention.
Survival of the fittest, baby.
–p. 4, ARC*
*text is subject to change

I liked the reveals. Kate's was slightly more obvious, but Olivia's took me by surprise. Books with two perspectives in this genre tend to work out well when it comes to reveals, and thankfully it did. And I'm not forgetting Mark's character–the slow build up was done pretty well. I definitely did not see a lot of it coming, and the last third of the book had a pretty dramatic shift in tone.

Butttttt....oh, the but. There was a lot about this one I sadly did not enjoy, which, again, is a shame because Toten's writing is amazing and I loved her other book. The two characters were really unlikeable. Actually, all of the characters sucked. Except for maybe Anka and Olivia's dad. And (of course) Bruce. This is probably what made reading this not such an enjoyable experience. There was also the romance, and while I liked that it took place in the background of whatever was going on, I seriously didn't get it. Like, how it started, what actually happens–it was sort of just thrown in without any serious consideration or development.

And then...there's the end.

It fell flat for me. I was expecting this huge twist to happen, but nope, it seemed rather anticlimactic. The events leading up to the very end were kind of so-so, in the sense that there was quite a bit that happened and some of it was kind of thriller-y, but eh. I was hoping better, especially with a promise that things sort of flip at the end. So yeah, I was just left confused at the end and unsatisfied.

Suspenseful and promising, Beware That Girl–despite an excellent set-up–tragically didn't live up to my expectations. I would give it a try though, because it really is a Gossip Girl-esque thriller. While this one wasn't for me, I will absolutely be reading more of Teresa Toten's books in the future, because she is a wonderful writer, and I'm looking forward to what she comes up with next!


▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Julia at Penguin Random House for a sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 187

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases that I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
Witch Town by Cory Putman Oakes

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.


Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.


Secrets have their own power.

July 18, 2017 ● Goodreads

I haven't read a book about witches in FOREVER, so I think it's about time that I got back into that. Beautiful cover (love the typography!), and the synopsis is short and sweet, which definitely brings the suspense. Can't wait to find out more about this one!

What are you waiting on?

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Dumplin', Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

I don't know if it's just a recent thing but there are now tons of books featuring "fat" girls and I. AM. LOVING. IT. Way to go for body positivity! Coming from someone who has always had to deal with body issues, Dumplin', and other books that focus on the same topics, are steps in the right direction. Anyhoo–this was my second experience with Julie Murphy. I enjoyed her debut Side Effects May Vary (read my review), but I enjoyed this one a lot more. I mean, by the end, I was tempted to go join a pageant or something (obviously I didn't...but I felt like I could, which is equally as important!).

I enjoyed our protagonist's confidence and will-power throughout the book, but sometimes I found Will pretty irritating. I mean, she shames other larger girls, or girls with disabilities. For someone who feels sometimes uncomfortable in their own body, and gets picked on for it, I was expecting a little more compassion. And the romance was just a big noooppee. First of all, it's a love triangle! Definitely incorporated better than several young adult books out there, but still a romance that follows that dreaded shape. I didn't have a problem with either of the guys, but the way Will goes about it just wasn't right. I mean, yes–on one hand, character development! On the other, don't play with people.

Other than my problems with the main character and the romance, the rest of the book was GOLD. I don't know much about Dolly Parton–I don't listen to much country music!–I ended up coming from this book with an appreciation for what she comes to represent for many people. I also enjoyed the drag show and the friendship that grows in this group of misfits. There were a ton of important topics explored in this book, and I'm grateful for it.

Fierce and different, Dumplin' is like none other. Julie Murphy's prose hits the predominant beauty standard hard with a protagonist who isn't afraid to show what she's got. I also can't wait for the film, because the actress cast as Willowdean looks PERFECT and exactly how I imagined her. We need more books like this one!

If you like this, try...

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.


Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.


But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana–and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…

I was flipping through my kindle and found The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak. I remember being pretty excited for this one way back when, but never actually got around to reading it. I mean, with a cute title and cover like that, the promise of a wild night set at a convention...what's not to want? Well, I finally did it folks. I dug into it, and wowie wow wow–why didn't I read this one before?! I love quirky contemporaries that place a person-meets-person story in an interesting setting, and this one was so original!

I've never been to a comic/science-fiction convention before but it sounds AWESOME. I'm sure the mishaps that Ana and Zak go through aren't the usual scenario, but oh my goodness, it actually sounds great. However, I don't know too much about Star Wars and Star Trek, and all the other science-fiction-y/high fantasy things out there, other than Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Still...it does sound like a ton of fun. There are some wacky situations present folks. Bound to raise an eyebrow (or two), but damn, reading this book was so much fun. There were some funny quips here and there–even during the final third of the book, despite the fact it took a turn for the ridiculous and highly-unrealistic.

My only problem with this book came down to the two main characters. Don't get me wrong–they were well-rounded and I liked them in general. I liked Ana's character–I get why she would be super high-strung. However, I didn't appreciate Zak's constant commentary about things, and Ana's constant judgement of many of the women at this convention. Jeez. Zak's full of surprises though, I'll give him that, even though I found his cockiness a little annoying. Other than this though, I thought that both these characters had a lot of heart to them and that they were very real. It was just the little things that bugged me.

It's crazy that a majority of this book takes place in one night. Told through alternating perspectives, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak was an incident-packed, laugh inducing story that readers are bound to love. You're definitely in for a wild ride!


If you like this, try...

The Golden Compass Blog Tour: Review

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Release Date: July 1995
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Series: His Dark Materials, Book 1
Rated: MG 12+
Format: Paperback (my edition is a bind up of the His Dark Materials series)
Source: Bought
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads  Website

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

It's been FOREVER since I'd read The Golden Compass, and reading it for the second time just made me love it even more! When I was invited to join the blog tour I jumped at the opportunity because this was the perfect excuse to dive into a childhood favourite. I've never actually read the whole His Dark Materials series–I've only read The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife–and hopefully this gives me a chance to finally do so.

This whole world is just gorgeous. I love the different kinds of people it features, and the landscapes are beautiful and terrifying. I've always wanted a dæmon after reading this series, because these life companions that are part of the characters was such a unique quality to an epic fantasy adventure. The politics involved, the role of the church and the various religious undertones, the mystery behind what 'Dust' is...this is seriously a book like none other.

Lyra is such a brave heroine, and even though she makes mistakes along the way, she's such a wonderful character to follow into this strange and dangerous world. Pan is such a cute companion, and I enjoyed his loyalty to Lyra and his constant desire and fierceness when it comes to protecting her. In the large ensemble of characters, we meet many creatures and beings, such as the various bears, the witches, an aeronaut, the gyptians, and several more. I loved the constant questioning of morals as the lines between who is 'good' and who is 'bad' constantly blurs, all the way to the end.

I feel like a child again! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The Golden Compass is a brilliant start to a classic series, one that has contributed to the foundations of fantasy, inspiring works that we come across today. Even though the film was met with criticism, I still remember loving it, and after reading this one, not only am I definitely going to continue with the series, but I'm longing to see it come to life on screen. If you haven't picked up this series yet, you're in for a treat. 

If you like this, try...

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis ● Goodreads

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

It has recently been announced that The Book of Dust, the much anticipated new book from Mr. Pullman, also set in the world of His Dark Materials, will be published as a major work in three parts, with the first part to arrive in October 2017. 

Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Other volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra’s Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess; The White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com and hisdarkmaterials.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 

Continuing in the world of His Dark Materials...
LA BELLE SAUVAGE
THE BOOK OF DUST, BOOK 1
Fall 2017 ● Goodreads

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 

Thank you so much to Elena at Random House Children's Books for having me on the blog tour!

Stacking the Shelves (36)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, sharing the books I've acquired this week! Well... this post is actually going to be abut the books that I've received in the past month, since not much has been going on as I'm trying to get back in the rhythm of blogging.

Here are the books I got for review (and the titles link to Goodreads):

(Thanks to the bro for modelling the books)

Because You Love to Hate Me (sampler) edited by Ameriie
Monster by Michael Grant (ARC)
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith ● Review

I also got a few eGalleys:

Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff
Gork, the Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson
Windy City Magic by Crystal Cestari

(Okay, this is most definitely not all of them because HarperCollins added a ton on Edelweiss and I went a little crazy...)

▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing, Dani at Penguin Random House, Catie, and Amy at Disney Publishing Worldwide!

More Than Magic by Kathryn Lasky

More Than Magic by Kathryn Lasky

Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Rated: MG 10+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Join Rory and Ryder in their adventures in our world—and the world beyond the TV. 

Ryder Holmsby is the same age as Rory, the popular TV cartoon character her animator parents created. Ryder and Rory are alike—bold and brave! But Ryder is a bit lonely: Mom passed away a couple of years ago, and Dad is dating a woman with snooty teenage daughters. Ryder doesn’t fit in with them at all. 

And then: Shazam! Rory jumps out of the TV into Ryder’s bedroom to tell her that the TV studio behind her parents’ show is trying to turn Rory into a dopey princess—no more adventures. She needs Ryder’s help! The two girls team up with a crew of animated and real-life friends to save the day in both worlds.

I've been trying to get more into middle grade fiction lately, because there have been a whole bunch of releases that look amazing, and also why not? Middle school was time when I started to really love reading (even more than I did before!), and started moving away from middle grade to young adult fiction. More Than Magic is one of the several middle grade books that I had waiting for me when I got back to university, but unfortunately due to the work load I was faced with that semester, I put it off until recently. Unfortunately, in the end, I didn't really enjoy this book. I've heard good things about Kathryn Lasky's books–I mean, she wrote The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series! Even though I've never read it, I've always wanted to because people rave and rave about it. However, this book just wasn't for me.*

*Clarification time: okay, when I say "wasn't for me" I mean that I recognise that this is a middle grade book, intended to be consumed by middle grade readers, but even so, I've read several other middle grade books and I've found them to be pretty good in terms of plot and character. Not to say that this book didn't, because it definitely did. I just think it was missing that little spark, that extra umph, because I came away from this one not completely satisfied with how things turned out in the end.

The characters were interesting. They lacked a little depth, but they were still likeable characters. I enjoyed the parallels between the real world and the world of Ecalpon, because it was cool to see how Ryder's parents applied so many of the characteristics of the people around them into the characters they created for television. Ryder was a strong main character, and so was Rory, and I enjoyed the fun moments of trying to navigate between the worlds and the reactions of characters on both sides. What I couldn't buy was the adults in the book jumping in on what's going on and being totally cool with it. A little more freak out would be slightly more realistic, but they just seemed to accept it and move on.

While this book wasn't what I hoped it would be, it was still a cute adventure with important lessons about strong female figures in media (definitely relevant in this day and age!). I don't know if this will be a series or not, but I'm unsure whether I'd pick up the sequel or not. More Than Magic, besides my criticisms, was a fun story with headstrong heroines that I can see younger readers enjoying. 


▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Josh at Random House Children's Books for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...


▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ 

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 186

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases that I'm DYING to get my hands on.

This week's WoW is:
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. 

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

Goodreads ● August 15, 2017

I remember seeing this one way back before it had the jaw-dropping cover and a synopsis and thinking, "Hibiscus Daughter? OMG IS THIS A RETELLING OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE'S SHORT STORY 'RAPPACCINI'S DAUGHTER'?!" Well, I clearly didn't say that exactly because I forgot that the story was actually called 'Rappaccini's Daughter,' not Hibiscus. Nonetheless, I'm really excited for this one because magic, people, MAGIC. Apparently the prose is absolutely gorgeous, too. August can't get here fast enough!

What are you waiting on?

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date: May 4, 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!
GoodreadsWebsite

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Okay, before I dive into anything I'm going to talk about the cover. Since 2012, when The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (read my review) was released, Jennifer E. Smith's book's covers have always had the same style. Same typography, same-ish colour scheme–the works. But this time round, things have changed. Neither the US or the UK cover follows the pattern, and it's throwing me off a little bit. Anyway. Cover aside, this was the second book I've read by Smith, despite now owning four of her books (well, I'm halfway there? Kind of?). While I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the insta-love in the story threw me off and now it's kind of fallen into the sea of young adult contemporary plots, and it doesn't really stand out in memory. This one, however, had a lot more depth to it regarding the plot and character relationships, and I ended up loving it more than TSPoLaFS.

"Al, come on," he says. "Yes or no?"
I swallow hard. "I need to check to be sure. I don't want to...I don't want to get your hopes up. But..."
"But?"
"I think..."
"Yeah?"
"We might've..." My heart is thundering. "I think you might've won."
p. 49-50, paperback

What would you do with millions of dollars?

I've kind of been thinking about that question ever since reading Windfall. I honestly have not much of an idea. I'd probably use the money to travel, pay for house and education expenses, buy a ton of books (of course), donate to various charities, and so on. I liked how the book examined the ups and downs of winning the lottery, and it was a great exploration into how money can change people, both for better and worse.

Alice, Teddy and Leo were such cute friends! I really enjoy reading about friendships that stem from childhood. Alice was a great character. She's touched by tragedy as her parents died when she was young and she now lives with her Aunt Sofia, Uncle Jake and her cousin Leo. Speaking of whom, I love supportive families or parental figures in young adult fiction. Sometimes they're portrayed rather terribly, so I'm always happy when I see nice adults in literature, and this was no exception. Leo was super cute too–I just wish that he didn't keep disappearing in the book. His little quips were pretty funny here and there, and it looks like he goes through quite a bit too with his own stuff. And then there comes Teddy. Okay, so I liked Teddy, but I didn't love him. I think he was a little too cocky for his own good, and yes, I get that he's cute, but that doesn't excuse being over-confident. His character definitely undergoes a lot of change–along with Alice, of course–so it's interesting to see how it all turns out in the end.

Whimsical, moving and full of heart, Windfall was a lovely read. Jennifer E. Smith examines a larger-than-life situation with a loveable cast, which now has me desperate to read more from her. A story of friendship (and something maybe more than that) put to the test, Smith's latest had me smiling from ear to ear by the end of it. Cute and poignant, don't miss out on this one.


▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...