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Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed

Month

June 2016

The Real Neat Blog Award

Hello, everyone! OMG! I’m finally doing an award again! 😛 It’s been such a long time since I’ve completed one of these… Kind of because there are so many nominations I don’t know  where to start. But I’ve recently been nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Shruti @ This is Lit and I thank her for that! I’ve also been nominated before by Jesalin @ Blogging Everything BeautifulDreaming Through Literature and Kayla from Booked Solid; thank you so much, even though I haven’t completed it till now. I wish I could answer all of the questions from these amazing bloggers, but since there are so many, I’m just going to answer the most recent nomination questions. If you haven’t already visited their sites, you should really check them out! 😀

The Rules: 

1. Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.

2. Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.

3. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

Shruti’s questions: 

1. List all your favorite books. Go ahead and go crazy. We want to know ’em all!

I can’t name all of them, but some of the books that I adore include the Harry Potter series (especially Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), the Night World series, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, The Naming by Alison Croon, Last Chance by Sarah Dessen, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and so much more! 😀

2. Which book character do you absolutely abhor?

You might have already heard about this from previous posts, but I absolutely detest Mare from Red Queen! I remember reading the book and questioning the point of her character in general…

3. Which book made you cry the most of all books you’ve ever read?

Falling for You by Lisa Schroeder. I remember crying on the subway when reading that book; that’s how far gone in the feels state I was…

4. Which children’s book would you not mind re-reading now? Why?

I guess Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, just because I have actually reread it several times…

5. Do you use bookmarks or do you remember page numbers?

It depends on if I have a bookmark available… 😉

6. Which character from a different book would you like to see in Hogwarts?

Hmmmmmm…. I guess I’d go with Cather from Fangirl. 😀 She’d probably really fangirl if she gets put into a world so much like Simon Snow’s! 😉

7. Do you like big books or do you prefer smaller ones?

I honestly prefer smaller ones, because they’re easier to finish. But it can’t be too small and leave out key areas for development or plotlines that need to be filled! 😉

My questions:

1. Have you ever fallen out of love with a genre? Which one?

2. Do you prefer chain or indie bookstores?

3. Would you prefer reading a book by an author you know and love but in a genre you hate or reading a genre you love but by a debut author?

4. Name a fictional land that you’d want to go to.

5. How do you schedule your blogging?

6. Name a non-canon book couple that you would love to see together.

7. Are you enjoying the book you’re reading at the moment?

I nominate: 

Katie @ sherlockianbooklover

Caitlin and Cynthia @shelfiepodcast

Taylor @ Taylor Reads Books

Beth @ Hello Beautiful Book Blog

Zainab @ TeenBookLit101

Jasmine @ How Useful It Is

and YOU! 🙂

If you’ve already done this tag or don’t feel like it, just ignore it. 😉 Thanks for reading!

-Sumaya

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Which Cover Wednesday 26

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another Which Cover Wednesday! For those of you who don’t know, Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two different covers of the same book and suggest which one is more appropriate for the book. And you can join in on the fun as well, by commenting about these covers in the Comments Section below. Well, this week’s titles are:

1. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

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I love the second cover! Where to begin? There’s the font, which looks gorgeous, as well as the intricate background design and the two metal scorpions front and centre!

 

2. Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern

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In this case, I’d go with the first cover. It’s just that the first cover is a bit more connected to context, when compared with the second cover… I have to admit that the second cover has more of a dystopian feel to it, though! 😉

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth

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While I like both of these covers, I think I’d choose the first cover because it’s simplistic yet elegant. The second one, on the other hand, feels like there is too much going on in the cover, from the text on the side, to the birds, to the girl sitting on a rock outside of civilization.

4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu (English and Serbian)

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Second cover all the way! Look at that font; it’s so pretty! Then there’s the way the sword is positioned in the design, so it can be used as an integral part of the cover, rather than just a small detail. And even though I can’t place the significance of the background (if there is one), I still acknowledge that it looks amazing! 😀

That’s all for today! See any covers that caught your eye? I’d love to hear about what you think about them in the comments below! Thanks for reading and have a nice day! 😉

-Sumaya

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read Right Now!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey, everyone! It’s Top Ten Tuesday and this week is a fun one! Instead of having a topic chosen for us, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, meaning that we can write about whatever topic we want! The topic I chose is actually based on the last two weeks of Top Ten Tuesday, where we talked about the books of 2016 that we were excited for. In it, I discovered that I was actually more excited for other titles that came out earlier and less for books of 2016, especially from the second half of the year. So, this week, I’m going to talk about the books I really really want to read at the moment, typically those I have immediate access to. 😉 Well, here’s my list!

1. Half Bad by Sally Green

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I actually just started this after adding it to my TTT and I have to say, it’s amazing! 😀

2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

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Just got this from the library, since everyone’s been raving about it!

3. Ruined by Amy Tinetera

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My cousin actually recommended this to me, saying it’s similar to Throne of Glass

4. Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods

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Ever since I’d heard about it on Samantha‘s blog, I’ve been wanting to read it! 😉

5. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Maston

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I’ve never read Morgan Matson but I’ve heard plenty of great things about her and this book seems pretty interesting…

6. City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

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I really want to reread this book again! 🙂

7. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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Just received an ARC of it and the concept sounds intriguing!

8. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

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I’m into all things fandom at the moment, so this seems like a good book to read for that sort of thing…

9. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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I’ve got this down as a buddy read! 😀

10. Accidental Superstar by Marianne Levy

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This has been on my shelf forever and I know I should really read it, but…I never seem to have it as priority.

Well, those are my Top Ten! What was your Top Ten this week? I hope everyone had fun with their topic! Any comments or questions, as well as TTT, are welcome in the Comments Section below. That’s all for now! Have a nice night! 😀

-Sumaya

 

 

Review: All the Feels by Danika Stone

Rating: pink5

(4.5 stars)

Hello, fellow bloggers! I’m back with another review and this time it’s on All the Feels by Danika Stone. Now, this is the first book I’m reviewing that I’ve actually reread for fun! It’s kind of shocking, seeing as I don’t really have time to reread a book when there are so many other novels out there. But trust me, this book is worth the reread! 😉 For those of you who don’t know, All the Feels is about a fangirl named Liv, whose obsessed with the movie franchise, Starveil, and its protagonist, Matt Spartan. When Matt Spartan is killed off and the movies end, Liv starts an online revolution to bring them both back! Really cool concept for a novel and I loved see the grassroots movement! 😀

When  I first read this book, it was offered for a limited time only on Swoon Reads. While most of the revised novel had the same content, there were a few key differences. Some of those changes made were actually for the better, because some actions didn’t really make an impact to the novel. Other corrections made me miss the old text, since the ARC laid more emphasis on certain issues, like Liv’s relationship with dad. Sure, the end was more realistic and less dramatic in this newer version of All the Feels, but I feel that the older version acknowledged something incremental to Liv and her behaviour, while the new one barely mentions it.  I guess it was to make the story a  lighter read. If that was what it was trying to achieve, then it definitely succeeded. Other than that, All the Feels was a really great book to read, and you wouldn’t notice the difference if you haven’t read the ARC version of it.

Then there were the characters! Liv stays pretty true to the socially awkward fangirl, with her devotion to Starveil as well as how she interacts with people online versus in real life. There were times where I just wanted to hug Liv and tell her not to worry. Maybe because I found her really relatable in certain circumstances, like in the university setting or when dealing with parents. I, for one, wish I had half of her passion for anything! 😀  Xander, on the other hand, was really sweet! From his steampunk outfit to his attitude towards actors (even though he is one), Xander’s the type to keep it real without being too overbearing, which is a really important skill to have. And their relationship was pretty nice to read about. From page one, you could tell that they’d support each other no matter what!

Also, it was really refreshing to see a different side to fandom. Not just fan fiction writing (which was there a bit of), but other forms were represented as well. Like Liv’s vidding or Xander’s everyday use of cosplay. I think vidding might be less thought of than fan fiction because it’s using past videos to make a new one instead of creating new content from an established world. The way Liv and Xander brought vidding to their cause, however, was spectacular and shows the practical uses of knowing your way around video editing. And I loved reading about those YouTube video descriptions, imagining them in my head like a separate narrative. Even if it wasn’t real to Liv and Xander, it was real to me! 🙂

So that’s all I have to say about All the Feels. For anyone who liked Fangirl, This Song Will Save Your Life, and The Improbable Theory of Amy and Zak, this book is for you! 😉 If there are any comments and questions about the book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thank you all for reading!

-Sumaya

Digital Storytelling: Is this the Future of Publishing?

Hey, everyone! Today, I’m going to look at a topic that has recently grabbed my attention: digital storytelling. Now, I’m not talking about the eBook market or anything. I’m talking about interactive storytelling through digital media. You can use it to build your own adventure story, play games and quizzes, or just add overall texture to your story via illustrations. At Book Summit, a publishers’ conference, I attended a panel that discussed this matter and I was really intrigued with the general idea of how storytelling is evolving and the impact it has on the publishing industry. I just had a few concerns about this area of storytelling.

One is that while I see the appeal of interactive digital storytelling, especially for children to garner interest in reading, at the same time I’m wondering how this is any different from just playing a game. Sure, I loved seeing Inanimate Alice on the screen that day and I’m not saying that it isn’t viable as a product; I’m just expressing my concern on its labeling. Inanimate Alice, an interactive story about a girl who wants to be a games designer, seems a lot like a video game rather than an actual story. If this is the case, shouldn’t all games be labeled digital storytelling? What would happen to the publishing industry as a result?

Also, in the panel, there was a discussion on augmented reality research and using it to tell stories. Instead of just reading the text itself, you can use other devices to illustrate images that would move alongside the text and the person’s reading. My problem with this form of storytelling is that you would need another device to read the story in that manner. It doesn’t seem appealing to need more in order to engage with the text. Maybe if it was optional and already available on certain devices, like a smartphone, then it would be a smarter decision… My first thought after this panel was “Is this how people felt when eBooks first came to be?” That there is no use for this medium and why fix something that isn’t broken?

To sum it up, this was an interesting topic to learn about, but I’m not sure all of it is ready for the publishing world. Maybe once there is a need in the market, like advanced technology being owned by a lot of people who can use these methods, then it might be more popular to use. Well, that’s all I have to say on the matter! Thanks for reading!

-Sumaya

Social Media as books?

Well, it started out with texts being and direct messages being included into books, like the  Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle and  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, to the OMG Shakespeare Series that are made up entirely of texts…. Now it’s a whole new mode of publishing with Social Media. Instead of integrating digital communication into the story, the story has been taken from online sources of communication, like Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. Publishers are now actively scouring the web for stories they might want to publish. Some of these books include Hot Dudes Reading, from the instagram account @hotdudesreading, The First Wife by @thefirstwife, to Hyperbole and a Half, based on Allie Brosh’s blog.

Since the digital age has progressed, the mode of acquiring books has had to evolve with it. Efforts have been made by publishers to actively search the web for unique and desirable content, like The Great Tumblr Book Search, pairing Tumblr and Chronicle Books together.  There’s also the fact that the popularity of someone is translated to the number of likes or followers they have and thus, easily trackable by publishers. It is easy to assess what would work based on the person’s writing and the amount of attention they receive for their work.

However, there is a downside to publishing Social Media entries. Should we actually pay for reading Social Media, something that is supposed to be free? Sure, it’s in a condensed and packaged format, but the information isn’t anything I couldn’t get online for free. Paying for a Social Media book seems to be like paying for the sidewalk: a ripoff. That is why it is important to differentiate the account’s content with the book’s. An easy remedy to that would be to dislodge one medium for the other. In other words, delete the free content for the revenue of the book. Another solution would be to offer snippets of content, rather than the full version, enticing readers to buy the full novel once it reaches retailers. Overall, books based on Social Media can achieve success depending on the packaging or the type of content offered as well as the demographic it is meant to reach.

-Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 25

Hello, everybody! It’s time for another Which Cover Wednesday! Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two different covers of the same book and suggest which one is more appropriate for the book. And you can participate, too, by giving your opinion on which cover you think is better in the Comments Section below. Well.. let the games begin! 🙂

1. Marked (House of Night #1) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

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I think I’m in love with the second cover! It’s just that the first cover looks a bit plain in comparison, with its background and bored looking model in the corner of the cover. The second cover, on the other hand, looks more vibrant and mysterious in that the model is shrouded by the colour… 😉

2. Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods #1) by Melissa de la Cruz (English and Indonesian)

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Second cover again! It won me over with that background! 🙂 The second one just looks so much more glitzier compared to the first, which seems relevant when talking about rich vampires…

3. Night World No. 1 by L.J. Smith

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In this case, I’d go the second cover! While the first one shows readers a passive model, the second one has the model appearing active (in the process of sucking blood) while staring directly at the audience. It’s kind of chilling! 😉

4. Hearts at Stake/My Love Lies Bleeding (The Drake Chronicles #1) by Alyxandra Harvey

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Second cover for the win! 😀 It’s not that the first cover isn’t great. The second one just seems more thought out and organized with its word placement and cover art. Plus, I love how the model appears to be formed from the background itself, which in my opinion is really a creative design! 😉

Well, those are our covers for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday! Which ones did you like? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section below! Also, any questions or suggestions about next week’s Which Cover Wednesday are welcome as well! That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

-Sumaya

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Releases So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey, everyone! It’s Top Ten Tuesday again! This week’s topic is about our favourite releases so far this year!  This is opposite to last week’s topic, which was about the anticipated releases for the second half of the year. Compared to last week’s, this week’s Top Ten was easier to write about! Well, without further ado, here’s my list:

1. The Siren by Kiera Cass

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This was everything I wanted and more! 🙂

 

2. Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

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I love books about fandoms! ❤

3. The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

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I didn’t know that this was the conclusion, but if I did, it would only have made me anticipate the book more! 😉 

4. Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

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A great contemporary read!

5. The Crown by Kiera Cass

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It’s finally over! Yay! 

6. Proposal (Mediator #6.5) by Meg Cabot

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It was nice having a refresher before Remembrance!

7. Remembrance (Mediator #7) by Meg Cabot

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Loved seeing Suze and Jesse again!

8. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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Reading this whenever I have the time and immensely enjoying it!

9.  My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

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Reading a bit of it made me really want to read the rest! 

10. All the Feels by Danika Stone

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This book is literally waiting for me to start reading it again! 😀

That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Do any of these books match your Top Ten? If you have any thoughts you’d like to share (whether it be questions, comments or your TTT), feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

-Sumaya

Review: Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

My rating: red4

(4.25 stars, actually)

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hello, lovely readers! It’s Monday (ughhhh…) but on the bright side, I have just finished an incredible book that I’m now  going to review! 😀 It’s called Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung. The book is coming out in the fall through Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House Children’s), but it was actually published in Australia as Laurinda. Both titles are great because they get to the core problem of the novel, which is how Lucy is struggling with identity (social, racial and economical) during her first year at Laurinda, a wealthy private school.  The novel is structured in a format where Lucy writes to Linh about her time at Laurinda, while slowly leaving her friend behind.

In terms of plot problems, the beginning of the novel was the only place I had trouble keeping interest, due to it setting up the story. An example of this would be when they were describing the Cabinet (who are basically the Mean Girls of Laurinda) and how Lucy was fitting into her new school. However, there were still areas of the beginning that I loved, like reading about the scholarship test and how Lucy and her friends experienced it differently. Or when everyone found out that Lucy got the scholarship (that was kind of funny). But once a really major event happened, my interest in the book piqued even more. It caused me to think that the whole school was run on a cult mentality, with the Cabinet being the ones in power. Other than that slow beginning, I really got into the novel.

As a new student, Lucy is able to see what lies beneath Laurinda’s pretty exterior. While everyone else seems to bow down to the Cabinet, she notices that what they were doing to students and teachers alike is really wrong and wouldn’t be acceptable behaviour at her old school. Lucy had to learn that being educated and “cultured” didn’t translate to being nice. It doesn’t necessarily mean that she is immune to her surroundings, though. The more Lucy interacts with the Cabinet, the less she feels like herself. There were points within the novel where even I thought Lucy’s thoughts were suspect (and I was sucked into her perspective for the most part)… like when she said that maybe everyone was right about the Cabinet and that they’re really nice girls after all (*cringe*). Her letters to Linh were also starting to get really sad, where you could tell she was breaking off from Linh (who is an important part of her identity).

The main struggle of the story was Lucy trying to keep her home life and school life (as well as her two selves) separate. And that was when problems started to occur, with Lucy lying to save face and her slow regression from her former self. Reading Lucy’s nostalgia for an earlier and easier time was pretty easy because it was just so relatable. There are so many instances where I remember something and think “that was such a more peaceful time”. While Lucy is at Laurinda, she starts to compare her parents to those wealthy parents of Laurinda’s students, which results in her embarrassment of them. Luckily, Lucy learns a valuable lesson about her parents that allows her to appreciate them more.

There is so much to write about! But I feel like if I keep talking, I will never end this post (or probably reveal more than I should… 😉 ). I think that Alice Pung’s novel, Lucy and Linh, is really insightful in revealing how a person loses and finds their self and values again. That’s all I’m going to say, but if you have any questions about Lucy and Linh, I’d be happy to answer them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

 

 

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