Windfall

Windfall – Jennifer E Smith

If you’ve stumbled across this blog before and any other reviews I’ve done for books by Jennifer E Smith there may be a touch of repetition involved here, sorry not sorry. The thing is, I LOVE Jennifer E Smith’s writing style, I love her stories, they are cute, fluffy balls of YA goodness and lets be honest, everyone loves a comforting romance story now and again and she is the queen of comforting, cute, fluffy, YA romances.

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.

Much like I said before and in literally every other review of Smith’s books I’ve done before, (she isn’t a relative. At least I don’t think so… Anyway, the point is that there is no bias here.) I might have to reel in the fangirling and much like her other books, this is similarly a romance between two teenagers facing a bit of adversity with some fluff thrown in for good measure.
This time around, we have troubled teens Alice and Teddy. Alice, an orphan who has been living with her aunt and uncle and cousin, Leo, for the past nine years during which time, she has befriended and subsequently fallen for her best friend, Teddy. Who, in typical Smith fashion, has his own baggage. He is currently living in a cramped one bed apartment with his mum following his dad abandoning the pair of them with huge gambling debts.
The story begins on Teddy’s eighteenth birthday, Leo and Alice both buy him gifts that can only be legally used by eighteen year olds, a pack of cigarettes and a lottery ticket and that lottery ticket, well. That’s when the excitement begins.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I am attempting to keep the inner fangirl under wraps. I don’t know how much I am able to express how much I love this woman’s books BUT as much as I enjoyed this, I have to be honest, it isn’t my favourite of hers (I think This is What Happy Looks Like will always hold that title), but don’t let that put you off, this had so much going for it. The teen romance and angst is there and the connection between Alice and Teddy is slow building and then there is the added drama of being a high school kid with nothing suddenly getting a ridiculous amount of money and how they handle that situation. Storywise, there is a lot going on here and in some ways, Windfall has a bit more substance than some of her previous stories, because of the different elements being presented, I guess, there just isn’t as much fluff as usual and I do love me some Jennifer E Smith fluff. So if like me, you love the cute romances of This is What Happy Looks Like or The Geography of Me and You, then be warned that Windfall isn’t on the same level.

Windfall had a lot of serious issues that were dealt with well, survivor’s guilt, death, coming into money and trying to process what to do with it, plus there was the whole unrequited love with your best friend thing…. These three main characters had a really wonderfully written friendship, I love stories about friendship and watching relationships blossom and Jennifer E Smith does these so well!

Basically, I love this woman, I love her books, this wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but I enjoyed it anyway, so check it out! Windfall is published at the start of May, so keep a look out!

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Hello, Goodbye and Everything in between

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Hello, goodbye and everything in between – Jennifer E Smith

You know what, I could have really done with this book about eight years ago (has it really been that long? god I am old!) when I first left home for university and had to deal with saying goodbye to everything that was familiar and safe and all the people that went along with it.

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they’ll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Firstly, I bloody love Jennifer E Smith books, so thank you bookbridgr for sending me a copy of her latest! I know they get a bit of criticism for being about straight couples doing cute straight couple things, but there’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself in a bit of light hearted, fluffy romance every now and again. Hello is no different to her previous books, we have a story spanning one night (something that Jennifer E Smith does very well is entire novels set over the course of one night or a few days) while two teenagers decide whether or not to call time on their two year relationship the night before the embark on separate schools thousands of miles apart or to stay together and try the long distance thing.

Jennifer E Smith has found a formula that works really well, she is the queen of cute relationships, there is banter and intimacy and honestly, every single on of her books is a bit like looking at a box of kittens, it just makes your heart contract in a very peculiar way. Literally, every single one of her books is just the embodiment of the relationship goals hashtag that I use (ironically of course) on Twitter. This is just a story about deciding the future of a teenage relationship, this is also a story about moving on, growing up, having independence thrust upon you, change and of course, having to say goodbye. Clare and Aiden don’t just have to figure out what to do with their relationship, but also what they’re going to do with their friends, their parents, their entire lives now that everything is different.The relationship side of it wasn’t all teenage and ridiculous either, I know, being that I am nearly 27, that I get a bit frustrated reading YA romance sometimes because I just want to shake the couples and be like, ‘seriously? you are fifteen!’ but this had a couple that really thought about themselves as individuals, as well as a unit, it debated whether they were mr and mrs right or mr and mrs right now, there was a lot of discussion about relationships in general and how to navigate being yourself while being with someone else.

I think one of the main reasons why I flew through this so quickly was that it  made me a bit nostalgic for that last summer between sixth form and university where it was all fun and games and underage drinking and then suddenly we were all packed into our cars and being driven to different points on a map not knowing what life was going to be like the next day or whether we would ever even see each other again once our first terms have ended. It’s a scary time and I remember really wanting to have a book or a film or something that would help me deal with that situation. Then, along came High School Musical 3 (which objectively is the best of the trilogy), a book called Roomies and this, they were all a little late for me having to deal with leaving behind everything and everyone that was familiar while I embarked on the next stage of my life, but they are here now and they’ll probably help someone.

Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between is adorable, quite frankly, it’s an easy read, but one that deals with very real thoughts and feelings and one that I would highly recommend. Even if you’re not heading off to university/college/whatever, even if you aren’t about to leave your loved ones for a prolonged period of time, even if you have a heart of stone, I think you should give this and a few of her other novels a read. Like I said, everyone needs a bit of light hearted and fluffy romance every now and again. Also look at that cover, that cover is amazing. I for one am quite pleased to have that one my shelf!

 

 

Novel Playlist – This is what happy looks like

This is a feature I’ve been toying with for a whole, recently I’ve started creating playlists in my music library that remind me of certain books, just to keep the story alive a little longer. Some books, like Nick and Norah, Perks and Eleanor and Park helpfully give you playlist suggestions within the text, others don’t so I have to make it up as I go along. And honestly, what better way to get kick ass music recs than to unleash said playlists on the internet?

So, without further ado:

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Here’s the playlist I made when I was reading This is What Happy Looks Like.
I reviewed the book here, and I think I made many, many mentions of how absolutely adorable that book is, so hopefully that is reflected in the music choices!

Smile – Mcfly
Happy – Pharrell Williams
Sophomore – Darren Criss
Seaside – The Kooks
Toothpaste Kisses – The Maccabees
Accidentally in Love – Counting Crows
Love is Easy – Mcfly
In My Arms – Feltbeats
No Worries – Mcfly
Up, Up, Up – The Givers
Bubbly – Colbie Callait.
Anyone else but you – Moldy Peaches
A punk – Vampire Weekend
I was made for you – She and Him. 

Basically, This is What Happy Looks Like is cuter than a box of kittens and sweeter than a tub of candy floss and hopefully, this playlist will express that!

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#LoveThisQuote – Geography of You and Me

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This book was so gosh darn cute, but there was one thing that really did jump out at me, I love quotes about books!
Once again, the book depository book mark isn’t quite big enough for the whole quote, so you just get the end of it highlighted, but this is the whole section:”That was the thing about books, she was realising, they could take you somewhere else entirely, it was true, but it wasn’t the same thing as actually going there yourself.”

I realised the other day that the past few books I’ve read have featured couples doing really cute little courting rituals, one of them had a couple using a copy of the Great Gatsby to flirt with each other and this one featured two teens conversing internationally using post cards and now I want a partner, just to do those things!

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Top 5…

Holiday reads!

So I’m going on holiday!
In ten days I’ll be strolling around the city of Paris which I am ever so excited about! I’ve wanted to go since watching Midnight in Paris and then I read A Moveable Feast and decided I HAD to go, so, just in case you guys are also planning your holidays, here are five and a half books you might want to consider taking with you.

Choosing books to take away with you is a difficult task. I say this as some one who was reading One Day on a train at THAT moment and had to try really hard not to make a noise. I also thought it was wise to read The Fault in our Stars on a 7 hour flight to New York and spent at least half of it trying not to have a break down. It’s times like this when I wish I’d maybe waited to read Anna and the French Kiss or something, just so that I could have something Parisian to take with me! Some of the following books have featured on this blog before, some of them from way back when this was a 52 books project! I’ll link reviews where applicable.

#5 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
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13 Little Blue Envelopes is the perfect travel companion. It’s about a girl going on an international scavenger hunt aided only by a group of envelopes left to her by her aunt which send her all over the world on an adventure. This book will give you such a need to travel that even if you’re not on holiday, you’ll want to start planning one immediately!

#4 Where Rainbows End – Cecelia Ahern
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While this isn’t as traumatic as PS I Love You, it still isn’t a walk in the park, I know that when you’re on holiday, you just want a nice easy read, this is a book that is charming and enthralling and one that I remember reading three times on one holiday because I feel a little in love with this and whenever I see the cover it makes me think of blue skies and sandy beaches, which is of course, what I want you guys to enjoy on your holidays.

#3 and #3.5 This is What Happy Looks Like – Jennifer E Smith/
Billy and Me – Giovanna Fletcher

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I’m lumping these two together because they are essentially about the same thing. Both are about a girl who meets a famous boy and they get together. It’s a story that This is What Happy Looks Like does infinitely better, but both of them are cute, easy and most definitely beachy reads. Once you get over the annoying “blooming hecks” in Billy and Me, it’s actually quite enjoyable and it’s nice to read the same story from the point of view of an adult human and a teenage human and the different ways in which they deal with the situation. Also, Happy is set in a seaside town which makes it even more holiday related.

#2 Harley’s Angels – Leah Smith
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Sorry I’m not sorry. My dad and my auntie both selected this as their holiday read. So although it isn’t about beaches or travelling (unless you count that chapter where an angel and a teenage boy both use public transport) I thought I would include it. Also, you know, who is going to promote me apart from me?

#1 Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
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Every holiday needs a killer soundtrack, this book, although set all in one city, is the story of two different people who meet at a gig and then spend an evening together travelling around in search of a secret gig and the songs that await them at each destination as they have this crazy adventure around the city. Plus, it’s Levithan, you you know it has to be good. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is one of those books that stays with you after you’re finished, and if your holiday happens to be in New York City, it’s kind of perfect for this list!

So those are my top 5 1/2 holiday reads! I hope you enjoy these if you haven’t read these and if you have, do you agree or disagree and more importantly, which books should I be packing in my suitcase?

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The Geography of You and Me

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The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer E Smith

Eurgh all of her covers are so pretty! Whenever I see a Jennifer E Smith novel I sit and stare at them and generally do this:
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So, aside from the pretty cover, what is this about?
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they’re rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father. Lucy and Owen’s relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and — finally — a reunion in the city where they first met. A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel shows that the center of the world isn’t necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

Now, Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a book that I wanted to read pretty much from the moment that I set eyes on the cover and when I finally did get my hands on it, I thought it was cute, but also a little bit forgettable, so it was with some trepidation that I picked up This is What Happy Looks Like (which I reviewed here.) I loved that so much that when I saw this, I though I’d give it a go, based purely on how absolutely adorable This is What Happy Looks Like is and I have to say, The Geography of You and Me is probably my favourite of the three.

Imagine a basket full of wide eyed kittens sat beside a big ball of candy floss and you’ve got a general idea of how lovely, warm and fuzzy this book is likely to make you feel. Geography reminded me a lot of Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, it’s set in NYC, which, if even if you’ve never been, everyone knows is a place of magic and adventure and honestly, Lucy and Owen’s first meeting fitted with it’s setting perfectly. A night of a city wide black out in the city that never sleeps. Gorgeous.
After that we get a subject I’ve wanted to read about for a really long time but not successfully found anything about, a long distance teenage relationship. I don’t know why, but I feel like there is a lot of foil there for a good emotional story. This wasn’t wrought with tension or anything, they were two kids who had a connection and were now travelling and exploring the world whilst keeping in touch using post cards, there were no grand announcements of love or broken promises, which was quite nice and I think makes this a nice gateway into more intense stories with that kind of friction.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that both Lucy and Owen wanted to travel and explore and wanted to do that for different reasons, the places that they visited and their individual wanderlust are just as much characters and plot lines as they are themselves. I love travelling, I don’t do it often enough, and whilst I, like Lucy, would often claim to be most at home in a city, I do love a good view and I love the culture shock of being somewhere new.

Basically, I could harp on all day about the different sights and sounds and the general adorableness of this book, but all I really need to tell you is that it is well crafted, beautifully written and rather cute. So, give it and everything else by Jennifer E Smith a go, particularly if you’re stuck in on a rainy day or you need to give yourself a little TLC, it is absolutely perfect for that.

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This is what happy looks like

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This is what happy looks like – Jennifer E. Smith

Well, good gosh this was all kinds of adorable.
I read the Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight a few months ago, and although it was cute, it was also a bit predictable and down right irritating at times. This though, this was as cute as a basket of kittens presenting you with a bag of candy floss. In fact, I think this book might just be what happiness looks like. Reading this put me in mind of a McFly song (am I the only person who’s not upset about the McBusted thing?) so, I thought I’d link ya’ll to it, just so you can have a soundtrack when reading this that is the same as the soundtrack I had when reading the book.

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 
Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

This did what Billy and Me did, but much more successfully. Small town shop worker meets with a secret past meets famous film star and the pair strike up a relationship. The two stories were fairly similar and although neither of them are particularly ground breaking, this was much cuter, its the sort of story that leaves a massive smile on your face, it’s light, funny and totally sweet. Graham was exactly what I hope all celebrities are like. He put me in mind of Darren Criss or maybe a much younger Tom Hiddleston, he was charming, like a disney prince or something. This should have been a disaster, it should have been cliched and boring, but it wasn’t, it was actually kind of lovely.

Also, this had a beautiful cover and some amazing fonts inside. I love a good typeset.

This is post four of my six week challenge.
6 Week for leah smith leah smith leah smith I’m sure you all know about this already and are really bored of me telling you about it but I’m going to review every book that I read until the 13th December. You can find the reviews I’ve done so far by clicking here.

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