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Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed

Month

May 2017

#ARCstravaganza: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Hi, everyone! I just saw this meme on YA and Wine and loved the idea of it, so I thought,”Why not participate?” Here’s how it works:

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by YA and Wine to give book bloggers/bookstagrammers a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs that they are most excited about! Remember to comment on their weekly posts with a link to your own #ARCstravaganza blog post, or post a picture on Instagram using the #ARCstravaganza hashtag, and you will be entered to win an ARC copy of an upcoming YA novel! One winner will be chosen at random each month.

The first book I could think of when writing this post was Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust. Even though it’s a Snow White retelling and I’ve read a lot of those, I’m really excited for this one because I feel like it’s doing something special in exploring the relationship between the stepmother and stepdaughter. I always admire fairy retellings when they change the fairytale for the better! 🙂

girls-made-of-snow-and-glass.jpg

Blurb

At sixteen, Mina’s mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Have you already heard about Girls Made of Snow and Glass and are as excited about it as I am? Also, what other ARCs are you really excited to read at the moment? Feel free to share in the Comments Section below, as well as any #ARCstravangza posts you’ve already posted, if you plan on participating! Thanks for reading! 😉

–  Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6

“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date.

Hey there, fellow readers! Welcome back to another post of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” While I didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked last week, I think it was still pretty decent. At least I got to read Jenny Han’s Always and Forever, Lara Jean! That book was amazing! 😀

What I Read Last Week:

always-and-forever-lara-jean toward-a-secret-sky

What I’m Currently Reading:

bookishly

What I’m Planning to Read Next: 

dreamfall the-lines-2

Well, that’s it for this week’s “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” Honestly, I didn’t plan on reading Bookishly Ever After until NetGalley gave it to me via wish granting (another reason why I should really be careful with wish granting). But it’s okay so far, so that’s good! I really, really want to get into Dreamfall though, as well as The Lines We Cross! What wonderful books are you reading today? Let me know in the Comments Section below! 😉 Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Down the TBR Hole 9

Hey there, fellow readers! It’s time to go through my TBR pile again, with another pst of Down the TBR Hole hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story. This meme is dedicated to uncluttering your TBR pile, going through each book and choosing which one should stay or go. Making this post is always so much fun for me and today is no exception! So, I’ll just get right to it and introduce this week’s choices:

1.  Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

never-always-sometimes.jpg

I’m pretty sure that at this point, I’m not going to read this book. When I first heard about it, it seemed kind of interesting, but now, it seems kind of cliché to me…

The verdict: Go

2. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman

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I think I’ll pass on this one as well, especially since I haven’t read the first novel. I know that This Shattered World is a companion novel, but I always like reading the first in a series, companion or not…

The verdict: Go

3. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

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I’m definitely reading this one sometimes soon! Just forgot that it was even on my TBR pile!

The verdict: Keep

4. Royal Wedding Disaster by Meg Cabot

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Upon further consideration, I’m going to keep this book on my TBR pile. I honestly thought for a moment that I should take it off, but then I realized there was a third one in the works and got really excited for that, so yeah, I’m probably going to read this book! 😉

The verdict: Keep

5. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

summer-days.jpg

At first, I was really excited for this anthology since a lot of the authors were ones I’d admired. But I actually haven’t gotten around to it because I’m not a big fan of anthologies and I don’t think I’ll get around to it anytime soon…

The verdict: Go

Well, that’s all for now! If you have any thoughts or questions about this week’s post, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

Review: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Blurb

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating: red1.5

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

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being on Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean. First off, I’d like to say that I’m really sorry to NetGalley in terms of wishing for this book, even though later on I realized I had no interest in it. I avoided it as much as possible afterwards, and didn’t even request it (at least, I’m pretty sure I didn’t, since this was a wish granted). But then my wish came back to haunt me and I thought,”Well, I might as well read it.” So I did. And at first, the book seemed really great. But then it went downhill from there…

As I said, in the beginning, the book was a treat to read! I liked the way I felt like I related to Maren, being sent over seas to new relatives you didn’t even know, learning customs that made you feel kind of out of place. I also really liked the mysterious vibe added once Maren learns more about her parents’ past. But then Gavin came along and ruined everything! Once he got on the scene, I felt as if the storyline suffered. Maren wouldn’t be seen interacting with her friends as much to the point where I wouldn’t even call them friends (more like acquaintances). Or she wouldn’t think of herself in such a great light, thinking that if he didn’t like her, it was all her fault, even at times when Gavin clearly states that the fault is his! Plus, with Gavin there, Maren doesn’t have as much chance to be a hero, with him saving her all the time! I get that he’s otherworldly, but come on! Maren shouldn’t have to be such a damsel in distress because she has an otherworldy being on her side! And then there was the fact that the instalove is way too much for me in this book! It was extremely unbelievable, so much so that I cringed every time they were together.

Also, the plot seemed really unorganic to me. I felt that they were sacrificing some serious tension and suspense by just by explaining things right off the bat, not making the protagonist or the reader work for them. I don’t want to read exposition that’s lazily put in there just so that the story can move along. Overall, I felt as if the story could have been really something, but a lot of the potential, both in the character development and plot, was lost…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean. It wasn’t my cup of tea, and has certainly taught me to be really careful with wishing on NetGalley, just as much as you have to be careful of requesting books that you’d like as well. I think that this might be a good fit for Twilight fans though, even if I didn’t like it… If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Take care, everyone! And keep reading!

–  Sumaya

Book Signing: Jenny Han

I finally got to meet Jenny Han! Yay! She was at Indigo Yorkdale for a book signing, but to be honest, I just wanted to go there to hear her talk. But I wasn’t sure if it was just a plain and simple book signing or something with an actual discussion. In the end, I opted to go and asked a customer service representative at Indigo if she was going to speak before signing, and she said yes. So I ran over to get my ticket because I thought that it might be connected to where we sit (but it wasn’t really…). Then the waiting began. And more waiting. And even more waiting, until the seating was arranged (I may have went there a bit on the early side). While I was standing around waiting, I got to know a few fellow book lovers, which is always nice! We got to sit down, talk about books we’ve read, and had the chance to win some prizes, which I didn’t win, but the person sitting beside me did. Here’s what it looked like:

Anyways, once it’s finally time, Jenny Han appears and you can tell that everyone’s ecstatic! At first, she tells us that this is the last leg of her tour, and that she’s always loved coming to Canada for publicity purposes. Then she gets into a little detail about how Always and Forever, Lara Jean came to be. I think it was covered in the news or a social media posting, but basically, after writing P.S. I Still Love You, Jenny Han tried to move on and start another project but couldn’t get Lara Jean out of her head. It went to the point where she considered writing another novel and even asking fellow writer, Siobhan Vivian for her advice, which was basically to go for it. And aren’t we all glad for that! 🙂

After that, there was some Q&A with some very interesting answers and making me really happy to have come. First of all, I asked a question and had my suspicions confirmed! My question was about the characters and their Hogwarts Houses, since Lara Jean is revealed to be a Hufflepuff and Margot a Ravenclaw. I’m surprised that I nailed Kitty being a Slytherin, but I’m sure it was pretty obvious to everyone else! 😉 What was even more surprising, though, was that Jenny Han states that she’s a Slytherin as well, which made me really happy since I’m one, too! Other info that came about during Q&A was the fact that the concept of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came from Jenny Han’s own experience writing secret love letters and keeping them in a hatbox, which were luckily left unsent. She also mentioned the fact that she likes that Lara Jean represents a facet of the American girl and that having a story with a POC character doesn’t mean it’s a story just about their struggles; it could also be a sweet and light contemporary.

Once the signing actually started, I got in line immediately since I was one of the first few. You’re probably wondering why I was in line if I didn’t bring a book to be signed. Since I already read the library’s copy of Always and Forever, Lara Jean, I didn’t feel like buying a copy of the book, and was ready to give up my group one ticket to someone who wanted it. That’s when a woman sitting in my row gave me the idea that I should get my picture with Jenny Han instead, which I didn’t even think of! But apparently, you needed a book to sign if you wanted to enter the line. So the woman sitting near me gave me a copy of Always and Forever, Lara Jean that she bought for her daughter to sign so that I could get my picture, which was really, really nice of her! I honestly couldn’t- and still can’t- express how grateful I was. So, in the end, I got a picture and a really great experience at a book signing! I’m so glad I got to meet Jenny Han!

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Me awkwardly holding my stuff while taking a picture with Jenny Han! 

There’s probably a whole bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting, but I’m just going to leave it at that for now! Oh, and if any of you are interested in hearing more about the book, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, I’ve written a review for it that you can check out! Thanks for reading, everyone!

– Sumaya

Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Blurb

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

pink5.png

Hi, everyone! I just finished the loveliness that is Jenny Han’s last novel in the Lara Jean series, Always and Forever, Lara Jean! I guess by this point, you can already tell that I enjoyed it! I was kind of curious to see if it would match up to the same level of awesomeness as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You, and let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed in the least! Right from the very beginning, I was back in the world of Lara Jean, and I loving every second of it! 💖💖💖

Even though I could kind of guess what would happen in the story partway through the book, it was nice seeing it come together as well as all the little moments that made the book so sweet and funny.  Honestly, if I had to state a problem I had with the book, it would be that I couldn’t stop reading it. Other than getting a latte, I didn’t put the book down and powered through, reading it in only five hours, without any skimming, too!

Can I just say, I love (just in case I haven’t used that word enough 😄) Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky together! They are the definition of adorable! It’s so cute the way they know each other, tease each other, as well as the confidence they have in their relationship for the most part (but are still learning in others). Usually, in stories, I tend not to care much about the romantic aspect of it, especially if I don’t think the couple is suited to each other. I seriously couldn’t imagine a better couple than the Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky of this novel! The feels! The feels! 😍 But I’m not going to say anymore on that front for fear of spoilers…

As much as I love Lara Jean and Peter K., I also liked seeing all the characters from before, like Kitty, Margot, Chris, Dr. Covey, Lucas, and even John Ambrose! They weren’t just secondary characters to me and I wanted to know as much about their lives as I did Lara Jean’s. They gave the story its oomph, you know? But honestly, out of all of them, my favourite character is hands-down Kitty! The amount of audacity and sheer boldness in her is amazing to see, especially in contrast to Lara Jean’s niceness.

Overall, while I was kind of nostalgic by the end of the novel, especially with that quote at the end, I thought that the series couldn’t have ended more perfectly (just my opinion), which is why I gave it five stars! So if you haven’t read Always and Forever, Lara Jean, what are you waiting for? Go read it! 😁 Oh, and if have any comments or questions, whether it’s about this book or the other books in the series, let  me know in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 65

Hey, everyone! Well, it’s time for Which Cover Wednesday again! For those of you who do not know, Which Cover Wednesday is a weekly meme I host. What happens is that I compare two different covers of a book and give my opinion of which cover looks better. Feel free to give your opinion of these covers as well! Here are today’s contenders:

1.  Alice Alone by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

alice-alone.jpg or alice-alone-2.jpg

I really like the first cover! It’s just that I find the second cover to be a bit confusing in comparison to the first, where Alice looks melancholy and truly alone. I do like the second cover’s diary design though! 😉

2. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

the-last-dragonslayer.jpg or the-last-dragonslayer-2.jpg

In this case, I’m a fan of the second cover! I guess I like how subtle it is about the dragon into the plot in comparison to the first one… Plus, I like the simple elegance of the cover art outlining background as well as the typography.

3. Sweep #1 by Cate Tiernan

sweep-1.jpg or sweep.jpg

Second cover most definitely! The first cover is okay, but it’s the second cover that catches my eye, with this rustic old leathery paper quality to it, reminding of days when I would bake paper in my over to make it look old… 😀 Also, I love the fact that some of the typography of the cover looks like fancy handwriting!

4. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (English and Arabic)

23207027 or three-dark-crowns-2

This one’s a tough call! In all fairness, I would love to see the second cover be reproduced for a graphic novel cover, if a graphic novel for Three Dark Crowns is ever released. There’s something about it, maybe it’s the detailedness of the illustrations or the fact that it reminds me of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But in this case, I’d have to choose the first cover because of its simplicity in choosing icons to represent the sisters as well as the fact that it’s more suited to a novel than the second cover…

And that’s a wrap for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday ! What did you think of these amazing books and their covers? Feel free to share your opinions in the Comments Section below; I’d love to hear them. Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a wonderful day!

–  Sumaya

ARC Review: It All Comes Down to This by Karen English

Blurb

It’s 1965, Los Angeles. All twelve-year-old Sophie wants to do is write her book, star in the community play, and hang out with her friend Jennifer. But she’s the new black kid in a nearly all-white neighborhood; her beloved sister, Lily, is going away to college soon; and her parents’ marriage is rocky. There’s also her family’s new, disapproving housekeeper to deal with. When riots erupt in nearby Watts and a friend is unfairly arrested, Sophie learns that life—and her own place in it—is even more complicated than she’d once thought.

Leavened with gentle humour, this story is perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.

Sourced from Goodreads 

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Review

My rating:

green4

(4.25 stars)

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

Hey, everyone! Can’t believe I’ve already finished Karen English’s It All Comes Down to This! But it was so easy, since I was really engrossed in it. I could barely bear to put it down! There was just something about it that made it easy to read, even if it was an MG novel, an age group I haven’t read in a while.

First things first, I loved Sophie! She was a breath of fresh air, with her youthful idealism, her insights on everything, from her familial situation to her friends and peers. She had this fanciful way of imagining her life and the lives of others (like her sister or aunt) as stories with a certain structure meant to be played out. It makes me think that Anne from Anne of Green Gables might have been an inspiration behind that, especially when the book appears several times throughout the novel. I love how determined she was in her goals to be a writer/actress. Although the book only documents the summer before she goes to high school, I have a feeling that she would stick to writing; that’s just how passionate she was about it. Readers will definitely love this real depiction of a girl trying to understand the world she’s living in.

As for the plot as a whole, the sad thing is that even though this book is set in the sixties, moments would remind me exactly of 2017, with what’s going on in the world in terms of police brutality and systemic racism. At moments, I would choke up at the unfairness of it all, even as I expected it. And while I probably should expect it for a book set in the sixties, I wish I didn’t have to expect it today. Books like It All Comes Down to This are reminders that while it isn’t as bad as before, we need to do better.

Well, that’s all I have to say about It All Comes Down to This for now. If you have any thoughts about this book, let me know in the Comments Section below. For those of you who are interested, It All Comes Down to This comes out on July 11th, 2017. Thank you for reading.

– Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5

“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date.

Hi, everyone! Another week has flown by, and in that time , I got a whole bunch of reading done! I actually made my reading goals last week and then some (some being one book, but still 😉 )! Yay!

What I Read Last Week:

heart-blade girls-cant-hit the-hanging-girl it-all-comes-down-to-this

What I’m Currently Reading:

always-and-forever-lara-jean.jpg

What I’m Planning to Read Next: 

dreamfall.jpg toward-a-secret-sky.jpg

Well, those are my reading goals for now! And who knows? Maybe I’ll surpass them! Here’s to hoping! 😀 If you have any thoughts, questions or would like to share what you’re reading this week, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

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