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Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed

Month

December 2017

ARC Review: Don’t Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci

Summary

When Edan Kupferman dresses up like her favorite character, Gargantua, she feels tall and powerful. That’s important right now, because her family is a mess, her best friend is gone for the summer, her crush is confusing, and Edan’s feeling small and not sure which end is up.
When Edan’s cosplaying, she can be angry, loud, and not the good girl everyone thinks she is. And when she’s at conventions, she feels like she’s found her own Team Tomorrow. But when her personal life starts to spiral out of control, Edan has to figure out whether she needs a sidekick, or if she has the strength to be the hero of her own story.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

purple4

(3.75 stars)

Hey there, fellow readers! How have you been? It seems like forever since my last review. But I’m ready to talk about this next book! The review of the day is on Don’t Cosplay with My Heart by Cecil Castellucci. Now, I remember first hearing about this book and being excited for it, like any other fandom friendly novel. Once I was done, however, I concluded that the book wasn’t as great as I thought.

Don’t get me wrong; this book still had amazing content, like the extra world building added into it for the Team Tomorrow comics as well as the Cosplay Club and bringing up how much harder it is for female fans versus male fans, such as the effort you have to go through to prove you’re a fan sometimes. The world within the novel was pretty great and I was sad to be cut from it abruptly. For instance, by the end of the novel, there were so many issues left open that would have liked to follow up on. It would have been more satisfying if at least some issues had been fully resolved instead of on their way to being resolved.

As for the characters, I felt as if I only got to know Edan and her love interest. I would have liked to know her best friend more, however. Other than those characters, I wasn’t really interested in the rest. I was more invested in Edan’s relationships with them, if that makes sense. But I barely remember them individually. Speaking of Edan’s relationships, I like how the novel didn’t shy away from how these relationships can affect people, even if it’s not in the best way. It’s more about figuring out how to deal with relationships through the hard times, not just the good ones.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Don’t Cosplay with My Heart. While it wasn’t my favourite fandom friendly novel, I did like reading it overall. I just have this instant expectation to like most fandom friendly novels, which was probably my downfall. If you have any comments or questions about this book, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. And to all those who are interested, Don’t Cosplay with My Heart comes out this Tuesday on January 2nd, 2018. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Scholastic Canada in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle

Summary

When Lily Michaels-Ryan ditches her ADHD meds and lands in detention with Abelard, who has Asperger’s, she’s intrigued—Abelard seems thirty seconds behind, while she feels thirty seconds ahead. It doesn’t hurt that he’s brilliant and beautiful.

When Abelard posts a quote from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise online, their mutual affinity for ancient love letters connects them. The two fall for each other. Hard. But is it enough to bridge their differences in person?

This hilarious, heartbreaking story of human connection between two neurodivergent teens creates characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

red4

Hi, everyone! Today, I’m back with another review and this one is on The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle. Now I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed reading it! Not only did the book mix in a good amount of humour and seriousness, but there were so many literary references, including the title’s source material!

Firstly, I loved reading in Lily’s POV. She had a way with words, even when she was babbling, and had to juggle the idea of herself mainly through other people, which can be pretty difficult at times. Not only did I like Lily, though. I also enjoyed learning more about Abelard, Rosalind, Richard, even the parents; they all helped shaped this story. They were realistic portraits of people; I don’t think there were any flat characters in this novel, unless you count the teachers, who I didn’t see much of. Plus, I really liked reading about the romance within this book. Usually, I don’t like reading romance within books discussing mental health, mainly because when I do, I would read about the protagonist getting “cured” by the end of the story. But in this case, the author really pulled it off! The only thing I could say about the characters is that I wish I had seen more of Richard in the second half of the novel. Oh, and that Abelard would have shared POV time with Lily, since we only get Lily’s perspective throughout the novel.

Also, I really liked all the allusions to older material. Not only were The Letters of Abelard and Heloise referenced constantly, there were also other material that was mentioned, like Frankenstein, Anna Karenina, Hildegard of Bingen, etc. And these references were fit into the scenes nicely, not in a pretentious manner at all! Another fun fact was that since this was a retelling of a medieval story, there was a lot more references to Medieval literature as a result, which is pretty cool to me! I’ve seen a few retellings in that realm, but not a lot, so this retelling was something I was excited to read as soon as I heard about it! I’m glad it lived up to the hype! 😁

Well, that’s all I have to say about The Love Letters of Lily and Abelard by Laura Creedle! I, for one, cannot wait to read Laura Creedle’s next novel! If you have any questions about this book, feel free to ask in the Comments Section below. Take care, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 22

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

Hello everyone! Another week has gone by, but this time, not only did I meet my reading goals for the week, I exceeded it! I honestly hope the same thing happens this week. Now, if only my review posts could catch up! 😉

What I Read Recently:

What I’m Currently Reading: 

the dazzling heights

What I’m Planning to Read Next: 

Well, that’s what I plan to read for this week. I’m really excited to read The Dazzling Heights and find out if any more interesting things happen! And I’ve heard great things about Daughter of the Pirate King, so I hope it lives up to its expectations! 🙂 What is everyone else planning to read this week? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section below!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Summary

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

red3-5

Hello, lovely readers! I’m back with another review. Today’s review is on Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz. I thought it would be interesting to read a Pride and Prejudice retelling after a long time. I think the last time I read a Pride and Prejudice retelling was 2012 or 2013. I just remember for a good moment I read them A LOT. To the point where I would only be reading Pride and Prejudice retellings. Never mind the fact that I didn’t read the actual book it was based on until my third year in university. I was lost in the sea of multiple retellings to the point where the original didn’t mean as much to me. Just the idea of it, I guess.

Anyways, I liked reading this retelling, because it mixed a whole bunch of things together, character-wise. For instance, at times, I felt as if Darcy Fitzwilliam was a combination of the Elizabeth and Darcy of the original Pride and Prejudice. Same goes for Luke Bennet. But I loved the original parts to the story as well, like Darcy’s job or her backstory in terms of her relationship with her family and hometown. I also liked how the novel didn’t leave me with any questions. It was pretty entertaining to read!

You might  wonder why I gave this book 3.5 stars instead of giving it 4 stars or more. That’s because while it was a quick and easy read (I finished this book in a few hours), I thought that it was a bit too “Hallmark movie” for me and did barely anything to subvert the genre. Also, at a certain point, I was ready to move on from the novel, but it kept on going with more plot. But I understood afterwards that the extra plot was meant to tie up any loose ends, which was a pretty good reason for it. And even though I liked Darcy’s POV, I would have liked to have heard from Luke as well.

Overall, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz was a pretty quick read that I would recommend to people who don’t mind predictable stories (both because of the retelling aspect and the fact that it adheres to certain tropes and ideas). Have any of you read Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe or other Pride and Prejudice retellings? Let me know in the Comments Section below! Have a nice weekend, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

Summary

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

black1.5

Hi, there! Another day, another review; this one is on The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz. Now with this book, I’ve got to say, I really wanted to like it. The book sounded intriguing with the ballet premise, the mystery of what has happened to the girls to their current predicament, the Master’s past and so forth. However, it didn’t come together the way I expected, and was thoroughly disappointed because of this.

First of all, I didn’t really like how the author kept on hinting at the mystery of it all by adding phrases like “Or so she thought.” at the end of a passage, making it less of a hint and more of a shout-out (for lack of a better word). If there was more show than tell, it might have been better. Also, it was weird that while the book was centred around dance, it barely talks about it. These girls could have been easily horseback riding and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I love reading books about performance art, so you could only imagine how disappointed I was when it wasn’t really relevant to the plot.

Another thing I thought had potential was the backstory given about the Master. I’ve always liked backstories to see what motivates people to act the way they do. And while I liked the backstory given, I didn’t really understand his motives to control a whole bunch of people. Maybe when it was about revenge, sure. But after that, nope, I couldn’t understand the purpose of holding a school, especially when the other pupils didn’t even matter in the story. They were basically the backdrop for Penny’s big debut. I know that we don’t get as much info on secondary characters since first person is a limited POV, but in this case, I don’t think her fellow classmates were relevant in the slightest. There was just no camaraderie, massive tension, or even some round characters, that made me care about them at all. Again, she could have been the Master’s sole pupil and it wouldn’t have changed the story. Overall, I felt as if some parts of the story weren’t really necessary.

Now, before this gets into a true rant, I’ll quit while I’m ahead and say that The Midnight Dance was not for me, despite wanting to like it. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about the book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Which Cover Wednesday 80

Hello, everybody! Welcome back to another Which Cover Wednesday! For those of you who don’t 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. And you can join in on the fun as well! Just leave your thoughts about these wonderful covers in the Comments Section! Anyways, let’s begin! 😁

1. Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen

In this case, I’d probably go with cover number 2. I just really like the background as well as the dress sketch in the middle in comparison to the first cover. Also, I find that the typography compliments the cover overall by being understated, which is a nice touch! The first cover is still cute, though. It just isn’t my favourite…

2. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

OMG! The second cover looks gorgeous with the detail given to the bird’s illustration. However, I would still choose the first cover in terms of amazing typography (I’m a sucker for good typography), and a captivating image!

3. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

First cover all the way! I really like the colours worked into the cover as well as the fact that it is beautifully illustrated overall. The second cover is okay, but I don’t understand what is underneath the model’s head, to be honest.

4. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

First cover gets my vote this time around. 😉 I love the cover art all around it, filling space, and the background complimenting the cover art very nicely. The second one is okay, other than the fact that it hides some of the typography, but it’s the first one that really captures my heart.

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

–  Sumaya

Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Summary

Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

blue4

Hi, everyone! Another review coming your way, this one being on Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley! Now, besides being Aussie Lit, which I love reading btw, it was a pretty great story with dual POVs, focusing on two friends at the core of it all. But if I’m being honest, there was a third “character” I liked reading about, and that was the book shop, Howling Books! It made me want to show more support to local bookstores! 😁

Anyways, I enjoyed reading Words in Deep Blue because of how much love for books is shown. Lately, when I’ve been reading about book lovers, it’s usually people trying to find love in the form of their favourite fictional character. While I was reading this book, it was like reading Obsidian and finding a kindred spirit in Katie. I know I use Obsidian and Katie as reference for my favourite kind of book lover, but no more! Words in Deep Blue has a whole array of characters that love books just as much! I also adored the idea of the Letter Library, which had to be the sweetest part of the book, even better than the characters in some cases.

The characters, though, were pretty amazing themselves. I love the amount of effort put into making such round main characters. I feel as if I know so much about them, and yet I read about these characters in just a short amount of time. The only reason I would give it four stars instead of five is because I also became really invested in the secondary characters’ lives, but the book doesn’t discuss them as much. I understand why that is, with first person being a limited POV, but I would have liked to know more about Henry and Rachel’s parents, Lola, even Amy, although she was kind of horrible… I really wanted to know what made her tick, though! 

Well, that’s all I have to say about Words in Deep Blue for now. I really liked reading it and now want to read some other novels by Cath Crowley, like Graffiti Moon. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 21

Hello, fellow readers! It’s Monday and you know what that means! It’s time for another segment of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”, hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. I’ve got to say, I really liked reading Words in Deep Blue last week and cannot wait to post my review! Here are some of the books I’m reading this week as well:

 What I Read Recently: 

words-in-deep-blue

What I’m Currently Reading:

the-midnight-dance.jpg

What I’m Planning to Read Next:

 

Well, that’s all for now! I hope I get to finish all these books this week! I’ll just have to wait another week to see if I’ve met my goals! 😉 What books are you reading or planning to read this week? Let me know in the Comments Section below!

–  Sumaya

Back Again

Hey, everyone! Sorry I haven’t been posting for a long time! I’ve just been so caught up with my internship that I barely had time to read and post. But now that my internship is over, I can say that I’ll have some more time to spend reading and talking about books on this blog. I can’t wait! 😉

– Sumaya

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