ARC Review- The Upside of Unrequited

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Rating: 4 and a half stars

Review:

First of all, thank you so much to Penguin Random House for supplying me with this review copy to read – when I read the email that said my review request had been accepted, I think part of me died and went to heaven, purely because this happens to be the book I’ve been most looking forward to reading.

Okay, for this review, I think I’ll do it a little differently – first I’ll quickly go through why I didn’t rate this a full five stars, and then I’ll list some of the reasons why you HAVE to read it. Sound good? Okay, lets get cracking.

 

I didn’t relate to Molly as much as I related to Simon in the first book – Simon’s the adorkable Harry-Potter-loving, secret romantic, and I get that so much, whereas with Molly, I didn’t connect with her in the same way. That’s nothing against the author – it’s a purely personal thing. I understood how Simon was feeling, because I’ve had to deal with similar stuff myself, but since I’ve never had to experience Molly’s issues, I didn’t fully connect. Hence, the four and a half stars.

Another little thing that I find issue with, is the use of the word ‘fat’ to describe Molly. Again, maybe this is just me, but I hate that word and the connotations behind it. I’d much rather have preferred to read other words like ‘big girl’  or ‘plus-size’ rather than ‘fat’ – that word gives me the squicks, and a horrible feeling inside.

Other than that, I adored this book, and these are just five of the many reasons you should read it when it’s released in April:

  1. SO MUCH DIVERSITY!! I love how much diversity is in thi
    s book – there’s Molly’s who’s a plus-sized Jewish girl; Cassie who’s gay; their interracial mums, one of whom happens to be bisexual (!); Mina who is pansexual….the list goes on and on, and it’s wonderful.

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  1. Reid Wertheim – just….Reid. He’s a Game of Thrones/Tolkien fan, and he’s just amazing. I want to marry him so freaking much, and just have lots of little nerd babies with him….and I’m getting carried away now. Moving on-
  2. Cameos from ‘Simon Vs’ characters – you better believe I was fangirling when Simon appeared suddenly. I was basically like this:

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  1. The mothers – Patty and Nadine are so cool, I almost want them to be my mums too! They’re so chill about basically everything, and they treat Cassie and Molly like adults, instead of little kids, which is very nice to read.
  2. The Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage – part of the book happens at this time, and it actually talks about it, and I’m so happy that something as important as this ruling was given its own moment in the book. This alone should be reason for you to read ‘The Upside of Unrequited.’

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And now, let me tease you with some of my favourite quotes from the book:

Classic adult logic. Reid and I are vaguely the same age, so of course we’re basically soul mates.

That’s two legit new friends today, and it’s not even four thirty. Mina of the Labia and Middle Earth Reid.

I’ve had crushes on twenty-six people, twenty-five of whom are not Lin-Manuel Miranda.

It would be nice if I were the kind of person who didn’t require a battalion of wingwomen to make this happen.

I mean, how does a person explain YouTube to her seventy-year-old grandmother?

When Patty came out, the first thing Grandma did was try to set her up with the cantor’s daughter. Who is actually straight, but Grandma gets thrown off when women have short hair.

“Yeah, so this one and his boyfriend just spent two hours arguing about whether I’m a Gryffindor or a Hufflelump.”

Hufflelump?” Simon covers his face. “I can’t. Jesus Christ. Abby, you’re embarrassing yourself.”

 

The Upside of Unrequited is being released on April 11th 2017

LGBTQ Favourites

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of LGBT-themed books – I’m always either reading one, or looking for another to read – so I figured I’d let you in on my personal list of favourites that I’ve read in past years. Some are recent, whereas others, I haven’t read in a while. These are in no particular order, just because I’m the most indecisive person in the world, so just enjoy.

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

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

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

My Feelings: If you’re looking for a cute YA boy-on-boy romance that ends with a ‘Happily Ever After’, then this is bound to leave you smiling from ear to ear by the end of it. It’s sweet and adorable, without being too cliche and sugary. Also, the sequel (of sorts) is coming out this year!!!!!

You can read my review here.

 

Fox-Hat And Neko (August Li):

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Synopsis: Tokyo high school student Tsukino Ayumu never wanted to stand out. He’s always been content to run at the middle of the pack and go unnoticed, and he doesn’t expect much to change when he moves to the small fishing village of Yuuyake to live with his grandfather.

In Yuuyake, Ayumu makes his first real friend in Ikehara Haruki and forges close ties with two girls, Shizuka and Chou. Together, the four friends muddle through the messy world of dating and relationships while trying to succeed in school and prepare for the world they’ll enter when it ends. Fate has other plans for them, though, and Ayumu in particular, as an invisible threat targets the village’s young people.

After being plagued by disturbing, violent dreams, Ayumu learns what the spirit world expects of him. He must learn to fight and to lead—but he’s only ever been ordinary. With the support of friends he would die to protect, Ayumu faces a destiny only he can fulfill. But others have taken an interest in Ayumu. The mysterious Fox-Hat and Neko know more about Ayumu than he knows about himself, and they lead him onto a path that might end in the destruction of them all.

My Feelings: This was the first ARC I ever recieved, and it’s a delightfully quirky mix of fantasy, and folklore, and romance. Warning though, you’ll get way too invested in these characters by about halfway through the book. That’s how good it is.

You can read my review of this here.

 

What Happened To Lani Garver (Carol Plum-Ucci):

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Synopsis: The close-knit residents of Hackett Island have never seen anyone quite like Lani Garver. Everything about this new kid is a mystery: Where does Lani come from? How old is Lani? And most disturbing of all, is Lani a boy or a girl?

Claire McKenzie isn’t up to tormenting Lani with the rest of the high school elite. Instead, she befriends the intriguing outcast. But within days of Lani’s arrival, tragedy strikes and Claire must deal with shattered friendships and personal demons–and the possibility that angels may exist on earth.

My Feelings: This book brings together philosophy and teenagers in a way I wasn’t expecting to get drawn into so much. Lani Garver, this androgynous angel, who is just what Claire needs, is absolutely perfect. Everyone needs a Lani in their life in my opinion – someone who isn’t afraid to tell you the hard truth when you need a reality check, but who’ll also hug and comfort you when you need that as well. This is a must-read for everyone.

You can read my review of this here.

 

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me (Julie Anne Peters):

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Synopsis: When Alix’s charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee’s room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee’s cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T. The most recent text reads: “Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you.”

Shocked and betrayed, Alix learns that Swanee has been leading a double life–secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time she’s been with Alix. Alix texts Liana from Swanee’s phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news.

Brought together by Swanee’s lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they’d thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to–but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?

My Feelings: If you want an adorable girl on girl romance that’ll keep you on your toes, this is something you need to read. The whole time I was reading it, I was waiting for the moment when the truth was going to come out, but it was a good feeling. It’ll make you shiver with….

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You can read my review of this here.

 

Anything Written By L.A. Witt.

 

This is more of a generalisation, but seriously, I am in love with all of L.A Witt’s books, and she’s one of my top auto-buy authors at this point, even though I only discovered her back in 2015 when I started this blog and started looking for ARCs on Netgalley. She writes these intriguing Male/Male romances, with just enough steam in them to get you a little hot under the collar. I know, I’ve felt hot and flustered quite a few times while reading (especially with Running With Scissors).

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Here are ones I’ve read and reviewed, and if you click over to my Book Review page, you can read the reviews for each of these.

 

Also, I just finished reading Just Drive by L.A. Witt, and To Live Again, so look out for those reviews coming up soon!

The Art of Being Normal ( Jeff Garvin):

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Synopsis: The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

My Feelings: Yay for diversity! This is a heart-wrenching novel about someone who just doesn’t fit in – the lost sock in the dryer of life. I was entranced the whole way through, and I just became so invested in all of these characters – Bec, Riley, Solo. If you’re looking for a book that deals with gender fluidity, and identity, this is a must-read. Well, it should be a must-read anyway, but that goes without saying.
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If you have any recommendations for me, my comments section is right down below, and I always want LGBTQ books to read! The more diverse the better.

Happy reading!

Pokemon GO Book Tag

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I first saw this on Jesse’s blog, and then on Cristina’s when I was browsing this morning, and I’ve now seen everything now there is a book tag for Pokemon Go. Still, since I do actually play it, and I’m kinda sorta obsessed with it, so lets do this thing.

This tag was actually created by Aentee (Read At Midnight), as were the cool Pokemon graphics, so I claim none of this except for my answers. Also, any gifs used here, I got from either Tumblr or Google Images.

Lets go catch ’em all!

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Most people will be saying Harry Potter for this one, but for me, it was actually a combination of ‘The BFG’, ‘Matilda’, and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine.’ I got a big hardcover book that had all three in it, and that was me. I was hooked.

 

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There is absolutely no question about this, in my opinion – Harry Potter . This series (hell, this whole fictional universe) is a modern classic, and will still be read fifty years from now. Personally, I could read the HP books over and over again and never get bored. It’s like coming home to a warm and familiar hug, every time I open one of the books.

 

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I’ve heard a lot about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, but I still haven’t had a chance to read it yet!!! I guess I’ll get to reading it at some point or another, but at this stage, I’m kind of indifferent whether or not I read it at all.

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When I was first reading ‘Obsidian’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout, I definitely got some Twilight-like vibes – girl moves to a ridiculously small town, meets a hot guy who seems too good to be human but is actually very arrogant/mean, almost gets hit by a truck, finds out hot guy isn’t actually human at all – but I actually still love the Lux series, despite the Twilight similarities.

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Okay, so I have actually started reading the A Song of Ice And Fire series, but I haven’t made it past the start of the second book, purely because it’s so intimidating and big – it’s so big! One day, I promise….

 

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Simon! I stayed up til about three in the morning to finish reading ‘Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ and I have no regrets, because this book is literal gold.

 

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Really? I have to pick one? Ugh, fine! Hmm…

Daemon and Katy, I choose you!

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Talk about fast-paced – ‘Red Queen’ had me on the edge of my seat through the whole book.  I was constantly being surprised and then that big plot twist at the end had me thrown for a serious loop.

 

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I will never EVER get tired of seeing spin-off series for the Shadowhunter universe. We had the Mortal Instruments series, and then Cassie gave us the prequel series that is The Infernal Devices, and now we have ‘The Dark Artifices’ and I am in Shadowhunter heaven. Give me all the LGBTQ Shadowhunters!!!!

 

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I wasn’t expecting to like ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ as much as I did, and when I finished it, I just kind of sat there for a minute, wondering how I loved it so much. It’s just an awesome book, alright?

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I do think that the hype over the ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ series could be a little overdone, but I’m still looking forward to reading it and seeing how good it actually is.

 

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Look at this Harry Potter collector’s edition! Also, buy it for me? Pretty please?  Just kidding. Mostly.

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I don’t have any current debut novels that I’m looking forward at the moment, but I know I was very excited for ‘Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ to be released last year. That was one I was very excited for.

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J.K Rowling. ‘Nuff said.

 

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It’s been less than a year, but it feels like I’ve been waiting an eternity for the second instalment in the ‘Magnus Chase’ series by Rick Riordan – AKA ‘Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor.’ Only a few months to go….. *sob*

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I tag:

Hannah @ La Chat Blanc

Olivia @ Heir of Glitter

Lizzie @ Accio Padfoot

Eleanor/Amy @ A Fangirl’s Opinion

Frodo/Sam @ Fangirls On The Road

Happy reading!

 

Discussion: Bechdel Books

Who here has heard of the Bechdel test? Well, in case you haven’t, it’s a litmus test developed by Liz Wallace and named after Alison Bechdel (the artist/writer behind the comic below)

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To pass the test, your pop culture media must have:

Two Named Female Characters
Who Talk to Each Other
About Something Other Than A Man

I’ve decided to choose five books off my shelf. and put them to the test – the Bechdel test.
Hush Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
As much as I do love this series, it fails miserably at the Bechdel test. Almost every time the main character and her best friend Vee talk, it’s about guys, which is really something that irritates me. Ladies, there are other things happening in the book to talk about besides the guys you want to date! How about the fact that your boyfriends are fallen angels?!
Grade: F
Uglies – Scott Westerfeld
You’d think this would fail the Bechdel test because it’s about superficial beauty and all that, but actually this book series passes the test. Shay and Tally generally do talk about other things besides men. They talk about the possibility of a world outside the pre-defined notions of ‘ugly’ and ‘pretty’ and new pretty’ which society has drummed into them. Of course, they do talk about guys – like David or Peris – but mainly just in passing.
Grade – B
Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
This is one of my favourite book series’ of all time, and I’m delighted to say that it passes the Bechdel test with flying colours as well. Two of the main female characters – Meggie and her Aunt Elinor – spend lots of time talking about things other than men, like their shared love of books. Yay Inkheart!
Grade – A
Emma – Jane Austen
I know this book is set in, and was written in Victorian England, but this test fails the Bechdel test as far as I can see. Emma is obsessed with finding a husband for her friend, and that is basically the centre of the book. I know that in that time, unless you were super rich, you had to marry as well as you could, but this fails the test unfortunately.
Grade – D
Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda 
Despite this being from a boy’s point of view, this actually passes! Simon’s sisters talk about other things besides guys, such as their lives and what they’re doing. There’s a bucketload of reasons why this is my favourite book and this is just one of them.
Grade – B
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Which books do you own that either fail or pass the Bechdel test? Do you agree with the books I’ve given? If you’re looking for some books to read that pass the Bechdel test, then here’s some recommendations from me:
-The Hunger Games
-Divergent
-To Kill A Mockingbird
-The Harry Potter books
-My Sister’s Keeper
-The Fault In Our Stars
Happy reading!

My Life In Books – A Tag!

I was tagged to do this by The Paper Dragon, and because I’m a book tag junkie, I’m going to do this one for myself instead of leaving it to languish in my ever-growing To-Do list, getting squashed between other bloggy things I have to do but can’t be arsed doing. This is also going to be my own little test to see if the Supernatural fandom really does have a gif for everything.

Anyway….

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Find a book for each of your initials.

Well, since my initials are R.E.D (yeah, yeah, I know), lets try….

 

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Page

 

Count your age along your bookshelf. Which book is it?

I’m 21, so……

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Pick a book that represents a destination you would love to travel to?

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I’d LOVE to travel to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, so that’s obviously the Harry Potter series by the queen herself, JK Rowling. Bow down to the queen.

 

Pick a book that’s your favourite colour?

Ironically, my favourite colour happens to be red (see question one), but my favourite book also happens to have a red cover – ‘Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli. Yay for red!

 

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

I remember when I was a kid, I used to have this Roald Dahl compilation book, which had ‘Matilda’, ‘The BFG’, and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ in it together. It was my first proper big book, and now every time I see a copy of ‘Matilda’ or the others, I fondly remember that big book.

Which book did you have the most difficult reading?

Someday I will finish reading Les Mis. One day. It’s just so thick!

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Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest sense of accomplishment when you finish it?

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If I can ever finish the Game of Thrones series, I’ll be so fucking proud of myself. Have you seen how many books there are? And how many pages each book is?! Each one could double as a doorstop! Not that I would ever mistreat a book like that. That’s sacrilegious.

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I tag:

Hannah @ La Chat Blanc

Olivia @ Heir of Glitter

Lizzie @ Accio Padfoot

Eleanor/Amy @ A Fangirl’s Opinion

 

 

 

 

Desert Island Book Tag

Another tag! This one has been sitting in my pingbacks for FOREVER, but I’m finally doing it. I was tagged by both Jesse from Books At Dawn, and Nick from The Paper Dragon, so once you’ve finished reading this post, go see what their answers were.

Water — A book you simply cannot live without

You try and separate me from my Harry Potter? We’re going to have some problems.

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Food — A book that is a close second on your favourites list

‘A Single Girl’s To-Do List’ by Lindsay Kelk is definitely one of my top favourite books ever. It;s about a girl who gets dumped by her long-term boyfriend, but then her best friends help her to make a list of awesome things to do now that she’s single and free. It’s pretty much the definition of chick lit but that’s why I love it.

Shelter — A book that makes you feel at home and safe

Let me refer you back to question one…

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Flare Gun — A book you would recommend to someone who doesn’t read

If I found someone who didn’t read, I’d shove a copy of ‘Throne of Glass’ into their hands. That book is pure gold, and I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t absolutely love it. Actually, I’d be more like this….

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Matchsticks — A book that warms your heart

‘Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ truly warms me right from the core – it’s the cutest love story I’ve ever read, and I love it just as much as Simon loves Blue.

Compass — A book that directed you towards your love of reading

When I was little, I had a big hardback book which was a collection of Roald Dahl stories – ‘Matilda’, ‘The BFG’, and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine.’ I think that was one of the books which really steered me in that direction. Since then, I’ve practically lived life with a book in my hands.

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I tag:
Victoria @ The Petite Book Blogger
Rebeca @ Books and Messy Buns
Jessica @ Bookish Serendipity

The Rec(ommendation) Room – Books For Romantics

Welcome to the Recommendation Room! Come in, come in, make yourself comfortable. This is a place where every kind of person can find five books to suit them, no matter who they are. This week, all you bookish romantics will get what you deserve – five amazing books! Lets start!

 

Anna and The French Kiss

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This whole series is adorable from start to end, but this particular book is my favourite. Etienne St Clair is one of my favourite book boyfriends, because he’s such an adorable little cupcake, and I’m even getting feels from just typing this – eee!

 

Jane Eyre

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It’s a classic, but every time I read it, I love seeing Jane and Mr Rochester grow even closer and seeing their relationship develop over time. It’s a must-read for any romantic out there.

 

The Wrong Boy

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I read this way back when I was in school – I must have been about fourteen at the time – but it’s still one of the most romantic and adorable books I’ve ever read. It’s got a little bit of a Romeo and Juliet vibe to it – the main character’s family loses their wealth so they have to move to just outside a crappy estate in London, but that’s where Grace (our heroine here) meets JJ, a talented graffiti artist with a heart of gold. Read this book!

 

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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A relatively new one, compared to the others on this list, but ‘Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda’ is a must-read. If you like adorable guy-on-guy romances, and online flirting (!), then I wholly recommend this one.

 

Romeo And Juliet

 

Finishing off with another classic, I have to say that if you haven’t read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at least once in your life, then you haven’t really lived at all. Even if the whole dying thing isn’t to your liking, then read it for the beautiful language and the feeling behind the language. Once you finish reading this, go get a copy of this play!

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Thank you for coming to my Rec Room – who will be let in next week? Wait and see.

 

Happy reading!

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