The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Rating – 5/5

“The first day of senior year: everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief. Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?”

I think the majority of readers know and love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe but I haven’t seen as much love for The Inexplicable Logic of my Life but I think it’s even better than Ari & Dante.

Benjamin Alire Saenz creates beautiful characters which, coupled with his beautiful words, create a truly unique story. The families he creates are truly one of a kind and are always so supportive of their children. Sal’s father is honestly one of my favourite characters I’ve ever read about and he makes this book so special. He also creates such sweet and caring young men who adore their families and would do anything for their friends. Sal was such a wonderful character and I adored his friendship with Fito, but especially with Sam. I rarely read books where family is such a main focus which is why this book was so unique to me – Sal’s family were loud and boisterous but you could see how much they loved one another.

This book deals with death, grief and loss so beautifully and I couldn’t help but cry throughout. I know a lot of people aren’t fond of the ‘absent parent’ trope and the death of parents is quite overdone in YA but it was handled respectfully. This book also deals with homophobia and racism as Sal’s father is gay and they are a Mexican-American family. The book does not make light of these topics but focuses more on the positives like supportive friendships and family network.

I highly recommend this book as well as Aristotle and Dante if you have not read that either!

 

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Blood for Blood trilogy by Catherine Doyle

Vendetta – 4/5

Inferno – 4/5

Mafiosa – 4.5/5

I’d heard nothing but wonderful things about this trilogy so I thought it was time I picked it up and I’m so glad I did. It was the right amount of cheesy contemporary mixed with dark, thrilling mafia families that kept me on my toes from start to finish. I read all 3 books in a matter of days which shows just how much I enjoyed this trilogy.

We follow our protagonist Sophie as she gets sucked into a world of blood feuds, gang wars and hot Italian mafia boys whilst trying to navigate life with her father in prison and her mother withdrawing herself from the world. Sophie was such a wonderful protagonist to follow; I often find female leads in contemporary novels to be quite irritating but Sophie was witty and intelligent making her a joy to read about. We also see quite a lot of Sophie’s best friend Millie throughout the books who may be one of my favourite female characters ever – she was incredible. The friendship that two shared was breathtaking and I hope to find a friend like Millie someday. There was no fighting between the two of them, just pure love and support. This review would not be complete without a mention of our hot mafia boys and what I really liked about the Falcone brothers was how I was never completely sold on just one. They had such complex personalities and I was constantly back and forth deciding whether I liked the character or not. By the end of the trilogy I wholeheartedly loved Luca but not before wanting to slap him a few times first!

This trilogy is so over the top yet entirely realistic which shows just how incredible a writer Catherine Doyle is to make something so unbelievable seem believable. This trilogy was so much fun to read but it also made me cry as it deals with loss and grief which is something we can all relate to. There’s also really important messages in regards to family and friendship.

I think this trilogy is wonderful and I highly recommend giving it a read – you won’t regret it!

What I read in November…

November started off as a very slow reading month but I bought a couple of short stories / novellas on my Kindle and managed to read a total of 8 books which I’m really happy about! There is a full spoiler-free review for books marked with an asterisk (I have a series review for Percy Jackson).

*Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan – 4.5/5 – I really enjoyed this book in the series and I read it in a matter of hours.

*Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan – 3.5/5 – this was my least favourite of the Percy Jackson books and I’m not entirely sure why…

*Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan – 4.5/5 – the final book in the Percy Jackson series and the best one yet. Enough said!

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman – 3.5/5 – I read this book in anticipation of watching the film (which sadly is not being shown in any cinemas near me) but it disappointed me. I had such a high expectations and unfortunately, the book did not live up to them.

Fence by C. S. Pacat – 4/5 – this is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read and I really enjoyed it. I did read it on my Kindle so I don’t think I got the full experience but I can’t wait for the second instalment.

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant – 4/5 – this story is so pure and I fell in love with Austin Chant’s writing. This is an own voices story about a gay trans-man and I highly recommend reading it!

Peter Darling by Austin Chant – 4/5 – after reading Coffee Boy I immediately bought another Austin Chant book, this one a retelling of Peter Pan where Peter is a trans-man who falls in love with Captain Hook. I adored this story.

*Making Faces by Amy Harmon – 4.5/5 – this book is beautiful and I wish everyone would read it.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – 4/5 – this book seemed to take me ages to read but I really enjoyed it by the end. This isn’t my favourite Silvera book but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

What did you read in November and what are you planning to read in December? Let me know in the comments!

Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Rating – 4.5/5

“Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’s been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have… until he wasn’t beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.”

I can think of no better way to describe this book than beautiful which is fitting considering beauty is one of the main themes. From start to finish I was hooked and I read it in a matter of hours due to the short chapters and the irresistible story that left me wanting more.

The characters are what truly made this story and I think the story would have been very different without Bailey. Bailey was my favourite character for so many reasons; his humour and positive outlook on life despite being handed one of the worst situations was outstanding and his influence on all the other characters made him truly special. I loved Bailey and Fern’s relationship and it was possibly my favourite element of the book. I was a little worried going into the story that the romantic relationship would be heavily focussed on the girl ‘saving’ the guy but this was not the case and I adored the romance in this book.

The book deals with some really heavy and difficult topics such as war, domestic abuse, grief and guilt, disability and religion but the topics are handled respectfully and make the book so special. This book truly is a masterpiece and I know it will continue to mean so much for me for many years. I highly recommend reading this story!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Rating – 5/5

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief – 4/5

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters – 3.75/5

Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse – 4.5/5

Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth – 3.5/5

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian – 4.5/5

I managed to pick this series up for £12 from Amazon a couple of months ago after feeling an urge to reread them after owning them when I was 11/12. I’d seen a lot of love for the Heroes of Olympus series so I decided to give Percy Jackson a reread so that I can continue with Rick Riordan’s books. I was a little worried going into them that I would find them a little childish as they are children’s/middle-grade books but I absolutely adored them!

Percy Jackson is such a wonderful character with such a unique voice and I really enjoyed reading from his perspective. The books follow Percy from age 12-16 so we get to see his character develop throughout the 5 books, as well as in each individual book. The other characters we are introduced to are also wonderful – Annabeth is definitely one of my favourite characters and I adore Grover too! I won’t talk about any other characters as we are introduced to so many throughout the course of the series but there are some characters introduced in the later books that are also favourites of mine!

These books are so funny which is what really made them stand out for me. Humour is something that I think is very difficult to get right in books or is often not seen at all but these books are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud! There are also some hidden depths to this series regarding family and absent parents, alongside friendship and loss which is dealt with really well.

Greek mythology has always been something that has interested me and Rick creates a world that is so easily accessible – you are learning whilst enjoying a humorous, fast-paced story. I think all children should be introduced to these books but I also think that no matter what age you are, you are guaranteed to get something from this story. I highly recommend picking this series up and I can’t wait to read the Heroes of Olympus series!

What I read in October…

I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone! I had a much better reading month in October than I did in September and I read some really good books. As usual, I have marked books with an asterisk which I have spoiler-free reviews for.

*Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo – 3/5 – I have a series review for the Grisha trilogy but Ruin and Rising was my favourite of the 3 books.

*It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne – 5/5 – I loved this book so much! Holly is one of my favourite authors and I highly recommend this book!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – 4/5 – I read this series when I was around 11/12 and decided to give it a reread so I can read Rick’s other series and I’m really enjoying myself!

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – 4/5- this is such a unique story and I can’t wait to (hopefully) read the sequel next month.

*All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater – 3.5/5 – definitely not my favourite of Maggie’s books and it took me a while to get into but I enjoyed it by the end.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – 3/5 – I found this book to be quite similar to other YA contemporary I have read so I didn’t love it.

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan – 4/5 – I don’t think this book is as good as the first one but it’s still brilliant. Percy has such a strong voice and I love reading about his adventures.

*Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison – 4.5/5 – I can’t believe how long it took me to read this book but I’m so glad I’ve finally read it. Please please please read this book!!

What books have you read this month and what are you excited to read in November?!

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Rating – 4.5/5

“Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait, especially since her crush from school will be there. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?”

I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to read this book! I’ve seen nothing but glowing reviews and I’d like to add another one to the pile.

My freshers experience was nowhere near as dramatic and exciting as this but this book was still so relatable. I loved the dual perspective as it allowed us to experience two quite different university experiences. I think any university student can relate to the feelings of doubt that Luke experiences, especially in regards to second year housing!

I really loved both of our protagonists. Phoebe was so cool and I adored the friendship between her, Frankie and Negin. I laughed aloud at all their antics and poor Phoebe’s embarrassing moments. I think Phoebe and her friends joining the Quidditch Society was the highlight of the book for me and I wish I’d had the confidence to join a random society when I was a fresher! Even though Luke was a bit of an arse at times, I still really adored his character. His feelings of loneliness are relatable to any fresher and I really liked how he questioned what was going on with the football team, even though he didn’t try and do anything about it. Although it could be seen to only be a small part of the story, I think the Becky plotline is so important and what makes this book stand out.

I highly recommend reading this book whether you have been a fresher, are going to be a fresher, or don’t plan on going to university at all, I think there is something in this book for everyone