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Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed

Month

February 2017

Review: Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen

My rating: blue3

Hey, everyone! Sorry it’s been a long time since my last review, but I’ve been in such a slump lately, picking up books and then finding myself disinterested in them. This book was different, because at least I was interested enough to read through the whole story. It’s about a girl named Charlotte who vows not to be like her mother and sister, falling into love and trouble, and instead focuses on a goal of getting a Stanford admission letter. Along comes Tate, ex-rockstar, and that commitment to no boys goes out the window as he showers her with attention and gifts. All the while, the mystery around Tate thickens as Charlotte is asked to question what made him quit music, or the reason he’s distant at times. While I enjoyed reading the book in the beginning, overall, I didn’t really like Flower as much as I thought I would.

First of all, I don’t like the romantic pairing in this book at all. Together, they are a train wreck, but separate, they are interesting enough. I liked them better when they weren’t together, probably because there were so many signs that Charlotte and Tate had a toxic and unhealthy relationship. As the story progresses, Charlotte goes from being someone with a plan for her future to someone with a full-on obsession with Tate. And to make matters worse, Tate seems to like the fact that she has less control of what she wants and happily chooses for her. Honestly, by midpoint, I was ready for this story to end. Not that the ending was better. If they had stopped a chapter before, I would have been happy with the ending overall. But the way the book ends makes you wonder if what Charlotte did was commendable or not… That’s all I’m going to say on that matter because I feel like I’m close to spoiling the ending, which is the only thing that got me going through in the middle.

As for the plot, while the beginning was amazing, my interest in the book slowly decreased as I was reading, to the point where I felt myself skimming just to get to the designated ending. I liked the fact that the book had a dark undertone to it. Right from the getgo, I knew it wasn’t going to be just another contemporary where protagonist meets love interest and they have a couple of problems before working things out. I thought that it would be more interesting. And at first, it was. Once Charlotte and Tate got together, I started losing interest, unless it was to point out all the red flags in their relationship. Which sounds really horrible, now that I think about it…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen. While I didn’t enjoy it, I feel like other people would. The writing was great; it was just my biases that got in the way of really liking the book. Have you read Flower and what did you think of it? If you have any thoughts or questions about Flower, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 54

Hey, lovely readers! It’s that time of week again: Which Cover Wednesday! Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two covers of the same book and choose which one I think is better for that book (based solely on my opinion). And you can participate as well, in the Comments Section below! Here are this week’s covers:

1.  The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (English and German)

the-art-of-lainey or the-art-of-lainey-2

The second cover has caught my eye, with all the different things going on in it. While I like the first cover’s typography, the second cover just looks more dynamic and colourful to me, which is why I like it more than the first!

2. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (English and German)

open-road-summer.jpg or open-road-summer-2

First cover has my vote! I love the way the sun shines down on this couple, creating a multitude of different colours. I also really like the modern font of the title. It’s simple and elegant. The second cover is nice, too, with its depiction of friendship rather than romance. I just like the first cover better.

3. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

landry-park or landry-park-2

In this case, I’d choose the first cover again. While I admit that the second cover uses more of the space given, the first cover intrigues me more because the model is walking through the words. Speaking of words, does anyone else really like that typography that shows partial images through the title itself? Because I sure do!

4. The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet by Natasha Farrant

secret-diary or secret-diary-2

This is a hard one, because while I like both of these covers. But if I had to choose, it would be the second one. It’s more simplistic than the first, yet still gets the message across. Plus, I actually like the title of the second cover more than the first.

Well, that’s it for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday! If you have any thoughts or questions about these covers, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

My rating:

green4

(3.75 stars)

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

Hey, everybody! I’m back with another review, this one being on Noteworthy by Riley Redgate. It’s about a girl named Jordan, a theatre major attending Kensington-Blaine School for the Performing Arts, who never seems to land a part in a school production. She goes to the lengths of crossdressing in order to join an a cappella group, The Sharpshooters, and win a competition that would not only mean fame for Jordan, but guarantee her parents’ support of her career choice. When I saw Noteworthy on NetGalley, I thought that it was intriguing in theory, especially with its addition of performing arts and crossdressing. It reminded me both of Mulan and this manga I’ve read where the main character disguises herself as a boy in order to further her career in voice acting. Anyways,  as a whole, I really enjoyed reading Noteworthy!

First off, I really liked Jordan as a character. It’s pretty obvious that the girl is a smart cookie, and I’m not just talking about book smarts ,which the book glosses over. I’m talking about full-on critical thinking of the world and how she fits into it. I loved how she thought not only of herself but empathized with others without claiming their experiences as well. I got on with most of her arguments, agreeing with her and liking how it fits into the story itself. Then there’s the fact that I responded well to Jordan’s wit. Mainly because it corresponded well with my own. 😉 Every time Jordan would make a quippy remark, I’d pause reading to say,”Yes!” So, yeah, I really liked Jordan as a character. 🙂

The plot itself was okay. It was kind of predictable in some places, and dragged on near the end. Other than that, I didn’t really like how the romance was set up. I felt as if the romance could have been taken out of the book and it wouldn’t really matter. I guess I just wasn’t invested in it as much as Jordan’s success with the Sharpshooters. However, I did like how Jordan’s backstory is revealed bit by bit and only when it’s relevant to Jordan’s present. It was a good way to set up the book’s exposition, in my opinion.

 

My main concern when reading this book was the amount of loose ends in it. Jordan’s old friends only appear at the beginning of the book but have no further purpose than reminding us what she had lost by centring her world around her boyfriend, Michael. It would have been nice to see some tension between her acting as a boy as well as rebuilding relationships with friends that don’t know she’s crossdressing. It would make things so much more complicated! 😀 And then there was the history surrounding the a cappella group, the Sharpshooters. While you get to know more about some of the members, other members remain a mystery, like Trav. I would have liked to know more about him, especially since the book hints that he’s been through a lot. But as readers, we only get to know what Jordan knows, and she doesn’t really know much about Trav outside of a cappella and his family situation.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Noteworthy by Riley Redgate. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the section below. For anyone whose interested, Noteworthy comes out on May 2nd, 2017. 😉 Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 53

Welcome back, wonderful readers, to another Which Cover Wednesday! Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two different covers of the same book and give my opinion on which does it better. And feel free to join in and give your opinions on these covers in the Comments Section below! The covers for this week are are:

1.  The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

broken-hearts.jpg or broken-hearts-2.jpg

I’m sorry, but even though I can see the elegance of the first cover, the second one just appeals to me more. It’s mainly because of the motorcycle and the way the model puts her arms up in the air as well as the font face of the title. I do like the first cover’s typography though…

2. Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah

ten-things.jpg or ten-things-2.jpg

In this case, I’d choose the second cover. While the title’s typography for the two covers are pretty much the same, I like the cover art of the second cover more. Whether it’s the background, the photos alternating between Jamilah/Jamie’s different identities, or the message on the top outlining the main issue of the book, I think that the second cover does a better job of conveying the story than the first cover.

3. Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

going-vintage.jpg or going-vintage-2.jpg

This round goes to the first cover! 😉 While I like the second cover’s typography as well as the dress and vintage camera, it’s a bit more bland compared to the colour bursting from the first cover. The first cover gives the book a retro feel without looking washed out, which is why I like it more.

4. Airhead by Meg Cabot

airhead.jpg or airhead-2.jpg

The first cover gets my vote! The main reason I chose the first cover over the second is that the second one looks more MG than YA, with its cartoonish cover. The first cover also looks more organized in terms of where the words on the cover are placed, whereas the second cover’s word placement seems random. And I really like the typography of the first cover, with the font used for “Airhead” alone capturing part of the story. Then there’s the line on the bottom, illuminating the issues of the story more than the second cover’s line on the top.

That’s all I have to say about the covers for this week? Were there any that caught your eye? If you have any thoughts or questions about these covers or Which Cover Wednesday in general, be sure to share it in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

Review: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

My rating

red3.5.png

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another review! This one is on The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee. It’s about a girl named Mimosa, one of the only two aromateurs in the world. Using  her sensitive nose, she finds love for other people based on the compatibility of their scents, all the while mixing herbs to open their eyes to each other. But never for herself, since this will render her nose useless. While this precaution may have been easy to follow before, when Mimosa abandons homeschooling to go to public school, it complicates things. A lot. I’ve got to say, I really liked reading this book from the getgo. It was light, airy, and the plot was fun to read. For me, it was a good read that was short and sweet.

The main thing that I liked about The Secret of a Heart Note was the amount of drama Stacey Lee could fit into 384 pages. From matchmaking to her own drama, Mimosa never leaves us bored. With the amount of stuff going on, no wonder she’s pretty tired and stressed by the end of the book. Anyone would be after going through the wringer like that. I also enjoyed the amount of history and detail put into the story of aromateurs- how they came to be, their ancestry and whatnot. It made me wish that I could learn more about the earlier aromateurs that shaped Mimosa’s life in the present. Especially Larkspur, the ancestor who caused the curse that forbade future aromateurs from love.

While I did like the book, I also found some parts of it to be perplexing. For instance,the main character, Mimosa, didn’t seem as interesting to me as the other supporting characters. I liked hearing more about Mimosa’s mother and aunt’s relationship rather than her love story. And I didn’t find her to be a believable character because of the language she uses. It seemed too formal for a teenager. I thought that maybe because she was homeschooled, Mimosa learned to talk this way, rather than from other children while growing up. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt that way, but it still grated me whenever she got too formal and less colloquial.  But that’s just my opinion; I’m sure others thought that Mimosa is fine just the way she is.

Overall, I liked reading The Secret of a Heart Note, but I wouldn’t think of it as a first choice for recommendation. Have you read The Secret of a Heart Note or any other books by Stacey Lee? If so, what did you think of them? Any thoughts or questions you might have are welcome in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

– Sumaya

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