01 October 2011

September Favourites (Monthly favs #9)

My favourite books I've read in September aka the month of Awesomesauce!!!

Yay, I finally got my reading mojo back. I really missed it, I didn't have it at all since January and life was lonely without it.  Anyway, if I count my DNF and my 70% read book from yesterday, I've read 21 books in September! Also, I've finally started to read sad books. I've always avoided them before, because of several reasons, but now I finally manage to read them, I'm finally catching up, so if you have any suggestions/recommendations hit me with them, please :)

There were a lot of books to chose from this month, obviously, the following are the ones that impressed me most.

Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts - Claire LaZebnik

Despite her name, Keats Sedlak is the sanest person in her large, nutty family of brilliant eccentrics. Her parents, both brainy academics, are barely capable of looking after themselves, let alone anyone else, and her two uber-intelligent siblings live on their own planets. At least she can count on one person in her life, her devoted boyfriend Tom. Down-to-earth and loving, he's the one thing that's kept Keats grounded for the last decade. But when Keats's mother makes a surprise announcement, the entire family is sent into a tailspin. For the first time, Keats can't pick up the pieces by herself. Now she must re-evaluate everything she's ever assumed about herself and her family - and make the biggest decision of her life.

This is the only chick-lit novel I read during September, and in fact the first I've read in quite a while. I love this gem of a book. It's smart and it's funny. I enjoy the quirky writing style, it made me think and laugh out loud. The similarities between Keats life and my own where a bit spooky sometimes.

Epic Fail - Claire LaZebnik  
Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.
When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

I started this one immediately after having finished Families and Other Nonreturnable Gifts, because I needed an other LaZebnik fix. Epic Fail is her first attempt at YA and she succeed at it.
My short review I wrote on Goodreads right after finishing Epic Fail:  Claire LaZebnik is my hero :) Honestly, ALL her books are wonderful! This one was really cute and well-written. Yes, I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, but I don't actually like all the re-tellings and adaptations. Yes, there are good ones out there, but there are also many bad and redundant ones.
I liked this take on Pride and Prejudice a lot. It's cute and refreshing and doesn't follow the original too close, so it doesn't get boring. It manages to reproduce the spirit of the story and it doesn't feel forced or awkward. Really cute and likeable!

Raw Blue - Kirsty Eagar

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing … and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago at schoolies week.

And then Carly meets Ryan, a local at the break, fresh out of jail. When Ryan learns the truth, Carly has to decide. Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?
Go READ this one! Seriously! It's awesome. Yes, I know I'm gushing.I'd heard so much good about this book before reading it. And frankly I was quite scared to read it myself. What if I don't like it? What if I'll be disappointed? Aussie books are quite different from US or UK Young Adult books. Not sure why though. They're darker, more realistic maybe, the writing is different. This is my quote from Goodreads after finishing Raw Blue in the middle of the night: "Help, what am I going to do now? I need more. More of this blanket called book that wrapped around me all cozy and blue and left my body and mind so raw. It's perfect." 

 Fixing Delilah - Sarah Ockler

Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.
She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.
Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?
Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.
I bought this one after having read and enjoyed Twenty Boy Summer, Ocklers debut novel. Fixing Delilah is everything I wanted it to be and I actually enjoyed it more than Twenty Boy Summer. It's sad and it feels real.

 Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian's, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is.  Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

Someone on Goodreads said that Fixing Delilah reminded them of Saving Francesca, which I hadn't read. I've read so many raving reviews about Melina Marchetta so, yep, I just had to read this. It took me a while in the beginning. The writing, the language was difficult for me, but after the initial slow beginning I was all hooked and couldn't put it down again. It's a slow burn, it draws you in and doesn't let you go. It's was a really surprising experience for me.

Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
I don't think I need to say much about this. You all know why you NEED to read this. Enjoy!

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