Meet me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

Meet me at the Cupcake Café was the first Jenny Colgan book I read and also one of my favourites. And it was also the book that had broken my previous resolution of not reading any more re-reads for the rest of the year. But just recently, me and my boyfriend have had this crazy idea to open up a café, so what better thing to read about than I woman who does just that?

(Also if I was ever going to write a blog post on what my favourite book covers of all time were this would definitely make the list- it’s such a lovely cover, and just like a cupcake it tempts you to read the book).

This novel is about Issy Randall, who loves baking and when she gets fired from her safe, corporate job decides to take a risk and open up a cupcake café. One thing I loved about Issy is that she has a hobby; baking but she isn’t afraid to make a career out of it, even though she encounters many problems and many obstacles along the way.

The supporting cast are also brilliant; I loved how different all the characters were, and towards the end even Caroline grew on me. (Although why you would want to eat a healthy cupcake is beyond me!) Although this story is primarily about Issy, there is something interesting going on in everybody’s lives!

I also loved the fact that although it may all seem like sunshine and rainbows for our protagonist Issy when she decides to take her hobby to the next level… it isn’t. Yes, granted started your own business is great, but there are downsides, and it takes a lot of hard work and effort. I felt like Jenny Colgan showed the downsides and the upsides of starting your own business very well.

I also loved that each chapter began with a recipe (which have all been tested by Jenny Colgan) and despite the fact that I haven’t been brave enough to try any of this recipes, I would definitely like to and I’ve shelved them away for later use.

One criticism that I do have for this book is that it occasionally switched point of views without warning; normally it is easy to tell whose point of view it was meant to be. However, personally I would’ve preferred it to just be in Issy’s point of view for consistency.

Overall I would give this book 5/5 star with buttercream icing and a cherry on top. A super sweet read, with great characters and a brilliant storyline.

Warning: side effects when reading this book may include cravings to eat something sweet, so to avoid have something sweet to nibble on when reading this book (preferably a cupcake).



Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

‘Apple and Rain’ was the first book I read by Sarah Crossan despite having ‘One’ on my bookshelf for about a year now. The one reason why I had yet to read ‘One’ was because it was a story told by poetry, and I’m not the biggest fan of poetry (it’s bad enough reading and analysing poetry in English, it’s even worse when it’s in your second language.) But after reading ‘Apple and Rain’ and hearing the brilliant reviews about ‘One’ I’m more than happy to give it a try.

Side note: Before I continue I just have to say that the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t pick it up because of the beautiful cover.

Apple and Rain, is about a girl called Apple who lives with her Nan after her mum left eleven years ago, and in this book her mother returns with another daughter called Rain. Apple then decides to live with her and her life is turned upside down.

The main character; Apple is thirteen, which makes her quite a bit younger than a lot of protagonists from other YA characters who tend to be around sixteen. I found this a refreshing change; a lot of things Apple does and says in the books are a reflection on what I was like at thirteen. Getting annoyed at your guardian for being overprotective and falling out with friends and feeling like it’s the end of the world is a thing a lot of thirteen year olds can relate to.

The female friendships I think were really well done and really reflect friendships in school; it’s very easy to feel like it’s the end of the world when we’re falling out. The friendships were also very realistic, Apple and her best friend (whose name I’ve completely forgotten) at the start of the novel don’t become best friends again, but that’s okay, in some friendships we just drift apart and that’s completely normal. I also liked the fact that due to our protagonist age friendships were significantly more important than relationships.

The only problem I found was with this book is that I found it hard to connect with Apple due to her being thirteen, and I wish that I had discovered this book a couple of years ago so that I could’ve connected with her more.

One thing that really stood out for me in this novel was the poetry, throughout the novel Apple writes poetry for her English assignments, for each assignment she will write one ‘real’ and one ‘fake’ poem, and the ‘real’ one will reflect what she’s going through and I found them all really touching. I loved the fact that despite everything she was going through she still had time to write poetry.

Overall I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars, and I am definitely look forward to reading more of Sarah Crossan’s work in the future. Also side note if you are planning to read this book make sure that you have a lot of tissues ready.

Lying out Loud by Kody Keplinger

Lying out loud made me want to laugh out loud for two reasons a) I read it as soon as I bought it- which is definitely a first for me since normally books I buy just go straight to the bottom of my TBR list. And b) I bought it despite the fact that I wasn’t overly keen on the other book I had read by the same author.

Lying out loud can either be seen as a standalone novel or a sister novel to ‘the Duff’, you can read it without reading the Duff or after reading the Duff it doesn’t matter. Lying out Loud stars Sonny, Ryder and Amy Rush. For those of you who have read The Duff you may recall that Amy is Wesley’s younger sister (Wesley is the male protagonist of The Duff). And he and Bianca (the protagonist in The Duff) make an appearance later on in the novel. (Which is a nice Easter egg for those of you have already read The Duff.)

Just like the title implies the main character Sonny lies a lot, however unlike what the title implies she doesn’t just lie out loud but online as well. Despite what the title says the mess she gets into in the novel is due to her lying online.

For the majority of the novel I was asking myself the question, why can’t Sonny be honest with everyone? Why is it so hard to tell the truth? Throughout the novel I got really frustrated with Sonny, why couldn’t she just tell the truth?

Also Sonny and Amy’s friendship? Yeah that really annoyed me, it isn’t a really a friendship where one friend allows the other to walk all over them, Amy was a doormat, and most of the time it felt like Sonny didn’t care about her feelings, and worst of all she didn’t really let Amy in and continued to lie to her, despite Amy doing all that she could to help Sonny. Although I did like the character development, and I liked seeing how their characters evolved at the end.

Also side note if your friend is uncomfortable with doing something, don’t make them do it, that’s just a really horrible thing to do. One thing that really irked me during the novel was despite Amy saying that she was uncomfortable with doing what Sonny was asking her to do, Sonny doesn’t listen and instead says ‘it’s only for a little bit longer’ throughout the novel.

Weirdly enough despite not being overly keen on The Duff when I originally read it, I really enjoyed Bianca and Wesley’s cameo, it definitely gave the book a more light heartened feel with Wesley and Bianca there to lighten the atmosphere.

Also the ending, there was just no closure, while I liked the fact that Sonny was being honest and Amy was being fierce, there wasn’t any closure on what Sonny was going to do after graduation.

Overall I would give this novel 2/5 stars it was a quick light heartened YA contemporary, with a beautiful novel, however I didn’t particularly enjoy the plot and I didn’t really connect with the main characters.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’ by Sara Barnard was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2017, in 2016 I read ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ and it was one of my favourite reads of the year. So when reading ‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’ I had pretty high expectations, which it met, making it one of my favourite reads of 2017 so far.

One of the things that attracted me this book was the beautiful cover which was simply mesmerzing (I’m also very guilty of buying books because they have a pretty cover). But this book is so much more than a beautiful cover, it’s a beautiful love story as well.

The novel opens up with a paragraph on the difference between social anxiety, shyness and introvert, and I think that it’s important that people are aware of the difference between these things; they are not all the same thing! I’m an introvert and quite shy but I don’t have social anxiety. Just because you are an introvert doesn’t mean you’re shy and vice versa.

The main character is Steffi, who suffers from selective mutism, and the other main character is Rhys who is deaf. Steffi’s anxiety is portrayed well, and I liked how her recovery wasn’t down to the male protagonist; there are other factors that lead to her getting better.

I loved both Steffi and Rhys (even if Steffi does want to go to Bangor university) and I felt like Steffi’s selective mutism and Rhys’ deafness was portrayed really well and really positively. Yes, Steffi and Rhys have trouble communicating at first due to Steffi only knowing a bit of BSL, but they make use of notes and social media to communicate.

Unlike ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ this novel is a love story, and the love story itself is so adorable and awkward. The awkwardness is one of the things I love about how UKYA; how awkward and realistic love stories can be.

However despite this novel being a love story that’s not the be all and end all, there a lot of other sub-plots in the novel; Steffi really wants to go to University but her parents are worried that she won’t cope. And of course similarly to Beautiful Broken Things there is a great friendship between Steffi and her best friend.

Overall I’d give this novel 5/5 stars, it is by far one of my favourite reads of 2017, and I’d highly recommend it to someone who’s looking for a YA romance with a deeper plot than just two characters meeting and falling in love.