Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Lousie Rennison

“Everyone is so bloody keen on me thinking all of a sudden. It’s not what I do.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsOhmygiddygodspyjamas! The tenth marvy book in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson is here! Get ready to laugh like a loon on loon tablets. It’s the FINAL installment of Georgia’s fab and hilarious diary! Does Georgia escape the cakeshop of luuurve? Can there be more heartbreaknosity in store? Will the Sex God pop up again unexpectedly (oo-er)! And what about the supreme accidental snogmaster Dave the Laugh? Will she FINALLY choose her only one and only? So many boys, so little time!

Feelings: OO-ER. (That phrase probably came up a thousand times in this book.) I genuinely don’t know what to say about this book that I haven’t already said about the others. I think Georgia’s voice is great both figuratively and literally (I highly recommend the audiobook). I think her friend group adds an interesting dynamic and her boy toys are pretty different, as well. So there’s some variety in characters, but not with the actual plot line.

I wish there had been visual aids to help me with their school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. I mean…the villagers ARE blood. And the kissing scene involved waves. I just can’t. It had to be pure hilariosity.

Issues: Like I’ve said about every other book in this series…they’re all the same and this one was barely any different. They just…have the same characteristics and the same series of events happening in different ways. It makes for a mindless read, but at the same time, I feel like it could all be condensed into a duology and I wouldn’t have spent so much time finishing this series.

Characters: I’ve always been a fan of Dave the Laugh, and that doesn’t change in this finale. Well played, well chosen, way to go everyone. I like the way Georgia and Dave end up and I’m hoping that she will finally experience something real-ish with him.

Oh, Massimo, you sweet Luurrvvee God and Italian Stallion. He was willing to give up his career to stay around for Georgia…and she’s only like 15! He made the right decision in the end…for multiple reasons. But I was SO frustrated with Georgia when she was trying to decide between asking him to stay or letting him go. But honestly, that may be because I’m an adult reading this and not a teenager.

Final thoughts: I’m glad I finished this series, only because my boy won out in the end. But again, I think you could stop reading the series at any point and your life will go on. I wish I had read this series as a teenager because I think I would have enjoyed it much more. As an adult, there was little sympathy or understanding from me towards Georgia. The writing is really funny and the diary format makes for a quick read; Georgia’s narrations are engaging and hilarious, so it has its merits!

Goodreads rating: 4.21/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.2/5

My rating: 3/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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Love is a Many Trousered Thing by Louise Rennison

“It’s always tough to hurt someone and tell them the truth. I know that. You’re a really lovely girl. Lovely . . . mad . . . but
lovely. I’ll always like you. Don’t worry.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsThe original Sex God has re-landed, Masimo the Italian Stallion wants to be her boyfriend, and Dave the Laugh is still a regular snoggee. How will Georgia cope juggling all three boys of her dreams? Have her days on the rack of love really gone for good? Or will this just lead to confusionosity and merde?

Feelings:  I decided to once again go for the audiobook version. This book had a different narrator, so it isn’t narrated by the author. It was still narrated really well and I think this reader really captured Georgia’s personality and spirit.

Georgia always makes me laugh, but for some reason this book in particular made me laugh out loud multiple times. Literally – out loud, on my own, just laughing. For example, there’s a scene where Gee is complaining about a documentary they have to watch at school about bees. When it’s over, she’s talking about how awesome it was and how they wanted to watch two queen bees in a bitch fight a second time. So great and so classic Georgia.

Issues: The only thing I really have to say about this book is that it kind of dragged sometimes. The tempo of the story slowed down quite a bit at times, but then it would pick back up and I’d be interested again.

Characters: One thing I thought was really funny was how Georgia kept referring to her love interests as desserts. She just kept going back to that cake shop of love and switching things up – so funny to listen to. Ever since I started reading this series, I’ve mentioned I want Georgia to grow up some more. I’d say we see that in this book more so than the others, and I’m HERE for it. We’ve only got 2 books left, so I’m allowing myself to hope for some maturiosity.

I feel nothing towards Masimo. I don’t find him to be a particularly interesting character and I’m ready for Georgia to move on from him. I get that he’s foreign and has that accent…but being from Pizza-a-gogo land isn’t doing it for me. Surprisingly, I was okay with Robbie being back! That surprised me, but it’s probably mostly because I was bored by the Italian Stallion. Still rooting for Dave the Laugh, I have to say!

I enjoyed the scene where Jas puts her new found acting skills to use, role playing as herself talking to Tom. It seemed like Georgia was noticing that Jas isn’t completely useless, as she’s stated many times, but then NOPE. Back to complaining about her “best friend”.

Final thoughts: I think this is a good series and I enjoy it. It’s not deep, compelling literature for the ages, but it’s entertaining and fun. It’s also nice as a buffer between serious novels or non-fiction. Georgia lightens things up and I like that about her!

Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison

“Rosie get off your desk, and please put your beard away.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsBlimey O’Reilly’s trousers! Three maybe-boyfriends is a lot for any girl to handle ”red-bottomed or not. What with Robbie the Sex God back from Kiwi-a-gogo land wanting to “get coffee” and whatsit, Masimo the Luuurve God saying things like “Ciao, Georgia, see you later” (the good see-you-later or the bad see-you-later??), and her mate Dave the Laugh snogging her in a pond, it’s enough to make any girl mad. Good thing she has the ace gang to keep her sane. Ish. But now that she has tearfully eschewed Robbie the Sex God with a firm hand, Georgia is left with two potential snoggees to choose from, and it’s high time she left the cakeshop of love for good. This time with a gorgey Italian cakey. Or a nip-libbling Dave the Tart. But certainly not both. Maybe.

Feelings: While all of Georgia’s stories are packed full of drama, this one felt like things were actually happening, rather than her just imagining them. So that helped bring the story to life and keep it moving. I think because of this, I may have enjoyed this installment the most of the series so far. And also, “fisticuffs at dawn” is probably my new favorite phrase. So thanks for that, Georgia and Dave.

Issues: Georgia is back to being a jerk to her parents. Her mom and dad are having marital problems and very obviously struggling and all Gee can do is hate them. Like literally. She hates them because they won’t let her go spend time in Italy with an older boy…by herself. Georgia continues to be completely unaware of others around her and is still incredibly selfish. This is book 9. I was really expecting more growth by now. I thought that when Angus got hurt, reality would slap her in the face and she’d mature some, but…no.

Characters: Crazy Georgia thinks she’s going to be able to hop over to Italy to visit with her older boyfriend without any adults with her. Typical Georgia. And when she is putting lip gloss on and changing her outfit so she can talk to him on the PHONE – dead.

Yes, Jas. This character has grown into herself and given us some very tangible growth over time, thanks be to the Almighty. Honestly, she’s the only one growing and changing. And Georgia keeps giving her a hard time for being herself and Jas is standing up to her more and more. And I am HERE for it.

Svan and Rosie’s Viking wedding plans are killing me. And the Viking dance has got to stop. These are the moments in my reading where I stop and go, “Why is this happening? Why am I reading this?” Like it’s not even funny anymore, it’s just annoying. There are plenty of really, truly funny moments in these books…but this whole Viking thing is not one of them.

Final thoughts: As much as I enjoyed this installment of the series, I’m glad I’m almost done reading these books. It just feels like a different variation of the same plot line every book. I’m kind of wishing that this was the end of the line, but we’ve got one more!

Goodreads rating: 4.16/5

Amazon.com rating: 3.8/5

My rating: 3/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

“Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins.”

Synopsis from GoodreadsThirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s mother has disappeared. While tracing her steps on a car trip from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, Salamanca tells a story to pass the time about a friend named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother vanished and who received secret messages after her disappearance. One of them read, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” Despite her father’s warning that she is “fishing in the air,” Salamanca hopes to bring her home. By drawing strength from her Native American ancestry, she is able to face the truth about her mother.

Feelings: I remember reading this book when I was in 8th grade. It was an assigned text and while I couldn’t really recall what it was about exactly – I remember loving it. Recently, I’ve been reconsidering what books I teach in my 8th grade class and thought I’d see about this one, so it was time for a re-read. I’m SO glad I picked this book up again!

Something that really jumped off the pages to me is the way Creech writes. There’s something really poetic and magical about the words and phrases she uses. I felt myself getting swept away in her language and that’s something I really love about reading.

There are a lot of things going on in this story – a lot of really well woven together elements. In the “present”, we’re traveling with Sal and her wild grandparents and she tells us a story of the past, introducing us to Phoebe Winterbottom and Mrs. Cadaver. As she relays this story, we learn more about her as a person than we could if we were just in the present. Within this tapestry, there’s mystery and sweet young love and heartbreak and layers and layers more.

Issues: At the very beginning, I got a little confused about whether or not Sal’s mom was alive. She told us her mom was “resting peacefully”, but then talked about how the trip with her grandparents was so they could “bring her home.” I don’t know if this was something the author used to make us question intentionally, but it’s probably the closest thing I have to an issue in this book.

Characters: Making this journey with Sal made her more relatable to me. I haven’t experienced everything that she has, but because she was telling her story to us herself, I felt what she was going through. There were moments where I could tell that Sal had hardened her emotions, which is understandable, but we got to see her let people in and let herself feel. This is so powerful, especially to young readers who may see themselves in her situation.

Phoebe is a PILL. Sometimes I wanted to tell her to shut up, but I never got so annoyed by her that I skimmed over her dialogue or hoped for her life to fall to pieces. I certainly wanted her to appreciate her mother more and I think she was well on her way there by the end.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this story was spending time with Sal’s grandparents. I’ve lost beloved grandparents and reading about her travels made me imagine laughing with my family, too, and that’s a precious thing to me. Their love for each other and for Sal was really sweet and a dynamic that I think YA literature is missing the mark on more and more.

Final thoughts: This is still one of my favorite books even after all these years. I’ve been reading so much modern YA lit lately that it was nice to pick up a book that was written more than 10 years ago and see how different stories were. (Because they may have had a lot of similarities, but there are for sure a lot of differences!) I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something a little bit different.

 

Goodreads rating: 3.95/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.7/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers (audiobook) by Louise Rennison

“What in the name of Beelzebub’s stamp collection are you on about?”

Synopsis from GoodreadsHilariously funny author Louise Rennison’s fabby sixth book of the confessions of crazy but lovable teenager Georgia Nicolson. Guaranteed to have the nation laughing their knickers off! Laugh your socks off at Georgia’s tales from her trip to Hamburger-a-gogo land, and her attempts to entice Masimo, the Italian stallion. Can Georgia become the composed sex-kitten she aspires to be!? Surely not!

Feelings: Once again, I chose the audiobook. I’m just finding it to be more enjoyable! 

I have to say…I’m getting “over” wanting Georgia to mature. She’s experiencing some very real realities of growing up (as well as some really extreme and weird situations.) When I decided to stop analyzing these books like they’re classic literature, I found myself really…finally enjoying the story. It’s like I’m really starting to get it: the appeal and draw of Georgia. And I’m a fan. 

Issues: I think the only part of this story that I had an issue with was when Robbie showed back up again. It seemed like we were headed towards two other love interests, but then the Sex God poked his head back in and reminded Georgia he existed. So now she’s got 3 guys in her life and a lot of feelings to navigate through. I don’t know…I guess this is a stretch for “issue”…it’s more like a personal annoyance. 

Characters: In both this book and the one before it, I found myself enjoying Georgia much more. I thought it was really funny how while planning out her trip to America, she thinks it should be simple to get from Memphis to Manhattan so she can track down Massimo. There are multiple problems there, but her teenage girl mind doesn’t see them. I was also really happy to see her having a very real moment with her mom and actually enjoying herself! Hoping mom’s advice plays out in Georgia’s favor!

We started to see a different side to Jas when she and Tom decided to take a break, but she was almost unrecognizable in this book. She was so down in the dumps! But then she started to come out of it, but I’m glad she experienced this. It’s good for her. 

Narrator: If you missed my review of book five in this series, I talked about how the audio books are narrated by the author, Louise Rennison, and it makes ALL the difference. Obviously, nobody understands her characters the way she does so she hits everything on the head. In this book, she does some American accents and it’s pretty hilarious.

Final thoughts: Again, I’d recommend the audio versions of these books. They’re just really fun and enjoyable. However, the print copies of these books are still good reads. The style it’s written in makes it easy to read. As for Georgia herself, I’m enjoying her more and more and I’m ready to continue on with her adventures…which is good because we’re only halfway through!

 

Goodreads rating: 4.09/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.1/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Dancing in my Nuddy-Pants by Louise Rennison

Probably because I am such a kind and caring person, Jesus has decided to take me for His sunbeam by letting me off the hook.”

Synopsis from Goodreads: Since Georgia’s been dating the yummy scrumboes Sex God, Robbie, her glossy lips are always at the ready, and her “red-bottomosity” is kept under wraps. Along with Naomi the Sex Kitten’s new litter (thank you, Angus), Robbie’s announcement that his band will be traveling to Hamburger-a-gogo land (Georgia can only hope to go with), and a class trip to France, Georgia is one camper in a state of teenage splendiosity. The small trouble is, Georgia also wonders if Dave the Laugh might still be the guy for her, and when Robbie gives a surprise-ending twist to his travel plans, she gets a “weird feeling of reliefosity” that makes her wonder if she must venture out and bravely use her “red bottom wisely.”

Feelings: Georgia’s back at it again! In this fourth installment of this series, we travel with Georgia and the Ace Gang to Paris, we experience the throes of young love, and the woes of growing up. In the last three books, I’ve hoped to see Georgia mature a little bit more. By book four, we still don’t see much growth on that front. She’s still complaining about her parents, but there may have actually been a little less of that in this book. She’s still mean to Jas, her best friend, but Jas seems to dish it out a little bit more and defend herself here. So while Georgia isn’t changing too terribly much just yet (still hoping), there are SOME changes happening. Of the four books I’ve read, this one was harder for me to get going with. I read the first 20 pages or so and just felt like we’d been there before. It got better by the second half, but I just wasn’t feeling this one as much for a while.

Issues: Jools was mentioned a couple times in this book and I had legitimately forgotten about her. Georgia has the Ace Gamg friend squad and I can only tell you about 4 of the 5 girls. I think that’s a shame!

Has Georgia gotten even meaner? Her attitude towards Pamela Green makes me sad and also kind of angry. When P. Green played Nana the dog in their school production of Peter Pan, Georgia taught her dog tricks to be cruel. There’s a moment towards the end when I was thinking Georgia would grow up a little, but she ended up making fun of both Pamela and her mother.

Finally, I get that Georgia’s whole unique thing is all the -osity she adds to words and the funny phrases she uses. But it got really old, really quickly in this book. Seriosity, maturiosity…I’m over it.

Characters: Georgia’s “Sex God” boyfriend drops an unexpected bomb on her in the last few pages of this book and we see her feelings for Dave the Laugh grow as a result. I’m expecting book five to really develop that choice she’ll have to make. As always, my vote is with Dave. He’s a laugh, after all, and they’re able to be comfortable and just talk to each other. Robbie seems even more distant in this book, for multiple reasons.

I’m all about Jas’ budding confidence. She’s defending herself a little more and figuring out what she excels at. It may be a little nerdier than what Georgia wants for her, but I like that she’s sticking to it. You be you, Jas!

Georgia’s parents are unlike any YA family I think I’ve ever read about. Her parents fight and then make out and then mom flirts with the doctor and then dad does dad stuff. It’s all kind of exhausting. And kind of weird. Especially when Georgia’s mom is flirting with the doctor and taking her daughter to his office because her elbows look weird. Like what even is that?

Final thoughts: I’m glad I decided to read this whole series, but this book just felt like one of those in-betweeners. You know, the type that just serves to bridge us from point A to point B. It didn’t seem like much actually happened, up until the last 10 pages or so. If you’re reading these books in order, then you definitely should read it. Especially considering it’s only 200 pages. But it wasn’t my favorite. Come on, book 5!

Goodreads rating: 4.01/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.2/5

My rating: 3/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2017

Earlier this year, I listed out 10 books I was looking forward to from the first half of this year. (You can see that post HERE.) I included 5 books that are part of a series and 5 stand-alones that were released through the month of June. Now it’s time to look at the second half of this year, which I cannot BELIEVE it’s time to do. For each book, I’ll include the release date and the synopsis from the book’s Goodreads page. The first 5 are either the first book in a new series or a continuation of an existing one, followed by 5 stand-alones.

The Last Tudor (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #14) by Philippa Gregory

Released August 8 — The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen.
Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days, dying on the scaffold for her faith. But few people know about her two sisters, cousins to Elizabeth I who also faced imprisonment and death sentences for treason.  Katherine Grey was the beauty of the family who earned the lifelong hatred of her cousin Elizabeth I when she married for love. Mary Grey was an extraordinary little person known as a dwarf in Tudor times, who defied convention to marry the tallest man at court in her own secret love match.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Released August 29 — Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world. Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Released September 5 — Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken. His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them. But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake

Released September 19 — The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail? With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer

Released November 7 — The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

 

The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marise Wiseman

Released July 25 — On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn’t allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She’s never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it’s for Lilly’s own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time–and sold to the circus sideshow.
More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents’ estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl. At first, The Barlow Brothers’ Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus’s biggest attraction… .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly’s fate and her family’s shocking betrayal and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last.

Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

Released July 25 — Solo, a YA novel in poetic verse, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret, Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Released September 5 — On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Released September 19 — Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions. Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Released September 26 — One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted. International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

What books are you looking forward to for the rest of 2017? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! – Caitlyn