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Contemporary YA

Review: A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

Summary

Blue Echohawk doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing.

This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don’t know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can’t love you back might be impossible.

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Review

My rating:

blue3

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 A Different Blue by Amy Harmon. Now I’ll be honest: when I first saw this on NetGalley, it wasn’t the forbidden romance factor that drew me in, but the protagonist herself. I wanted to know more about Blue and witness her development throughout the book. So with that, I really wanted to love this book!

But then I started reading it and realized I didn’t really like Blue as a character. Don’t get me wrong; I understand that she’s been through more than what anybody should have. Plus, I don’t think we’re meant to like her at first, as readers. She’s pretty much mean to everyone at first, but slowly softens throughout the book. But I felt like she had so much more potential than what readers got to see in this novel.
Also, I wasn’t much of a fan of the romance between Blue and Wilson. It wasn’t that I was against it; I just wasn’t really invested in it. Especially when at times I felt there was nothing there between the two characters. What I was invested in were those moments where Blue would learn about herself, her history with Jimmy, as well as how she would try to be a better version of herself, one she could be proud of. Unfortunately, the book ends upon a huge realization, and I would have liked to have seen more develop on that note. Overall, it was an okay read, but not as great as I hoped.

Well, that’s all I have to say about A Different Blue by Amy Harmon. While it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, it did have its moments. Have you read A Different Blue? What did you think of it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments Section below, whether you’ve read the book or not! Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Summary

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

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Review

My rating:

green4.5

Hi, everyone! I’ve got to say, I really liked reading Eliza and her Monsters! Ever since I first heard of i t-and to be honest, I don’t know from where exactly- I knew that I really wanted to read it! Lately (meaning a few years) I’ve been interested in reading fandom friendly fiction, so I thought that this book would be an obvious match for me. And it was! I loved it so much that I couldn’t put it down and finished it in hours!

One thing I liked about Eliza and her Monsters is that it was so engaging, not only with Eliza’s perspective but with the amazing parts of the comics that readers got to see. By the end of the book, I was fully hooked to the comics just as much as actual story that I was grinning so widely at the last comic panel. Plus, it makes me want to read The Children of Hypnos comics, mentioned in the book, which I recently learned was real, only it’s not actually a comic but is told in written format only. 🙂

I also like how the story was set up in relation to the characters. It wasn’t solely focused on the romance; there were other things going on, like Eliza’s relationship with others, her art, herself. Throughout the novel, I thought that Eliza was pretty real to me, and I could understand some of the choices she’d make, even if they weren’t always the right ones, or the ones you know would come back to haunt her…Also, it was nice to see that while Wallace had some effect on her, it wasn’t overdone or unrealistic. For instance, there was this one moment in the book where he was such a jerk, but I liked that it broke from his usual nice guy demeanour. I didn’t like him in that moment as a person, no, but I thought it made the story better and more rounded.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia! Would I recommend this to anyone looking for a really good read, fandom friendly novels in particular? Definitely! If you have any thoughts or questions. let me know in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Book Bargain: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

Hey, lovely readers! Just wanted to let you know that It Started With Goodbye by Christina June is currently on sale (eBook) for $1.99 on Amazon, Kobo and iBooks! I really liked it and would recommend it for anyone looking for a really good modern Cinderella retelling! 😉

If you want to know a bit more about this book, I’ve added a link to the summary on Goodreads as well as my own review of It Started With Goodbye. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle

Summary

Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver’s fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She’s his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

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Review

My rating:

blue2

Hi, everybody! I just finished reading Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle and, to be honest, I’m glad that it’s over… Maybe at the beginning, when it was full of promise, I was intrigued by it. But by the end, I was ready to move on to the next novel, which was really sad since I liked the author’s debut novel, The Sound of Us.

It wasn’t all bad, though. What I loved most about this novel was the IM correspondence between Elena and Oliver. As you might have seen from a recent post of mine, I really like it when people get to know each other out of the context of their day-to-day lives. It just proves how much people can get along without all that extra baggage weighing them down. Especially in terms of that ridiculous family feud that doesn’t even concern them at all.

Speaking of the feud, I’m glad that I read this novel, because now I know just how much I hate feuds. Particularly the ones that extend beyond generations and divide everyone’s loyalties. I was so upset every time Elena and Oliver acted like jerks to each other, and not even for a logical reason. I like drama and tension just as much as the next person, but when it doesn’t even feel real or draw out any emotions of relating to characters, I can’t really get behind it. I mean, yeah, they can hate each other, but it has to be understandable. But maybe that was just me…

As for the novel’s development plot-wise, I didn’t really like it as it got near the end. The resolution wasn’t really believable and I thought it was too fast to not be questionable. Plus, in my opinion, the parents’ drama was more deserving of a book than their kids (like a prequel NA novel or something). It made much more sense of why they didn’t get along, while also portraying some seriously good drama that would have interesting to read about!

Well, that’s all I have to say about Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle. While I was really in love with her debut novel, her second novel didn’t live up to the hype I built in my head. If you have any thoughts about this book, let me know in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

ARC Review: I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski

Summary

I see London, I see France
I see Sydney’s underpants.

Nineteen-year-old Sydney has the perfect summer mapped out. She’s spending the next four and half weeks traveling through Europe with her childhood best friend, Leela. Their plans include Eiffel-Tower selfies, eating cocco gelato, and making out with très hot strangers. Her plans do not include Leela’s cheating ex-boyfriend showing up on the flight to London, falling for the cheating ex-boyfriend’s très hot friend, monitoring her mother’s spiraling mental health via texts, or feeling like the rope in a friendship tug-of-war.

In this hilarious and unforgettable adventure, New York Timesbestselling author Sarah Mlynowski tells the story of a girl learning to navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.

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Review

My rating: black4

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

Hi, everybody! I’m back with another review, this one being on I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski. Now, I’ve read a few books by this author and liked all of them! So when I saw for the blurb for this one, I was thrilled! Luckily, this book didn’t disappoint! 😉

What I really liked was the traveling and the adventure of it all. It’s probably because I’ve always wanted to go traveling to other places, but have hardly left my home city… But I loved seeing what each city had to offer as well as what Sydney and Leela did there. And even when they went to seemingly random places, there was some sort of purpose to it. Except Belgium. Other than the fact that it’s a quick getaway, I feel like that could have been skipped and it wouldn’t have affected the novel’s trajectory at all. Plus, all the traveling around kind of made the romance in the book sweeter (problematic but sweeter)! The only downfall to the focus on traveling is that there is less focus on Sydney’s home life, which is granted. I only wish there was much more of a closed ending regarding Sydney and her family…

Then there were the characters, I thought that they were pretty realistic. They didn’t hide the fact that they were humans and made mistakes or did things that wouldn’t have been in the best interest of the trip and each other. With that being said, I still didn’t like Leela, Sydney’s best friend, until about more than halfway into the book. I empathized with her, but at times, I was in total agreement with Sydney in hoping Leela wouldn’t dedicate their vacation to moping around a lot. But once I warmed up to her, I could see why she and Sydney were friends. As for Sydney, I really liked her overall. She was the character I was able to relate to the most, maybe because I could see where she was coming from since it was her POV. t. I admired that she was trying to do the best she could for everyone, even when it did come back to haunt her.

Overall, I liked I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski, although there were a few things that irked me. I would recommend this book for people who like to read about travelling! Well, that’s all I have to say about this book for now! If you have any thoughts or questions though, I’d be happy to hear about them in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Summary

Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.

Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn’t go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won’t stand out for being Mexican.

One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective…only to learn she’s set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants…only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they’ve sworn to leave.

As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don’t know about each other’s pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they’ll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.

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Review

My rating:

blue4.5

Hi, everyone! I’ve finally read Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler! I’ve been meaning to read that for a while, ever since I bought it last year… But for some reason, I kept on putting it off. Maybe because didn’t enjoy the last novel I’d read by the author, maybe because it was a book that I bought and therefore, I reasoned to myself, it could wait while other books couldn’t. Whatever the reason was, it doesn’t make up for the fact that I had a pretty great book under my nose the whole time and didn’t realize it!

First off, I’ve got to say that I loved the femship between Reagan and Victoria! Often when I read a contemporary novel, the friendship between women aren’t given much thought in comparison to a romantic relationship or even a friendship between men for that matter. Sometimes, I feel (with emphasis on I feel since this is just my opinion) that if women are friends in a story, it’s a given, but the femship itself is never really explored, which is why I was really excited for this book! For a while now, I’ve been wanting to read a book focused on solely on friendship, especially after Toward a Secret Sky! Just Visiting couldn’t have been read at a better time! What I loved about Reagan and Victoria is how they just clicked even if they didn’t share any of the same interests, with Rae being more of a studious bookworm and Victoria being passionate about fashion! I never got tired of reading them together, and never thought, “this doesn’t sound like a real friendship”, like I did with some books. Sure, they had their ups and downs, but it doesn’t stop them from being there for each other, or trying  to figure out what to do in terms of their future.

As for the plot, I got into it pretty quickly and would have gladly read this in one sitting, if not for the fact of responsibility coming in the way of things… However, once I got ahold of the book, I couldn’t put it down, wanting to know more about Victoria and Reagan’s lives. In terms of their perspective, I didn’t prefer one over the other and thought that they both complimented the story pretty nicely! It’s been a while since that’s happened for me! 😉 The thing about the story was that it revealed info about our protagonists bit by bit, leaving readers wanting to know more! Plus, while the ending wasn’t the one I was expecting, I was still pretty satisfied with it! I thought that they both ended up right where they should be… But before I say too much, I’ll just leave it at that!

Well, that’s all I have to say about Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler! I seriously loved this novel and would recommend to anyone looking for a good femship to read about! Have any of you read Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler? If you have, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, as well as any questions or comments you might have, in the section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

Review: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Blurb

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary.

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

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Review

My rating:

blue3.png

(2.75 stars)

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

Hi, everyone! Today, I’ll be reviewing Isabel Bandeira’s Bookishly Ever After. If you follow my posts of “Down the TBR Hole” or “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”, you’ll probably know that I actually took this book off my TBR pile and decided not to read it anymore. But I guess NetGalley had other ideas! 😀 All the same, thank you NetGalley for granting my wish! It was an okay novel, overall. I just had some issues with it, but that’s mainly due to my own biases…

At first, I thought that the book was interesting, maybe because it didn’t focus on the unattainable boy Phoebe’s obsessed with… I really liked the bookishness aspect of it all (obviously 😀 )! From signings, to these little excerpts of fake books, to reading while sipping lattes and that new book smell (which is probably a candle scent at this point)! I loved it all! It’s once she starts crushing on someone who’s real and approachable that it kind of goes downhill. It’s not that I have a thing against real relationships; the thing I liked best about the unattainable guy she liked was that she spend so much of her time on him And I’ll admit, Phoebe and Dev had pretty great chemistry. The only thing I didn’t like about their burgeoning relationship was that was almost all they talked about in the book! Crushes this, crushes that, how to flirt, what to wear, to the point where I wanted to scream! Honestly, it was really a relief, those times where the characters didn’t talk about boys and did other things, like books, camp, hobbies, etc. But then again, the book wasn’t trying to hide the fact that it was boy centric; it’s in the blurb for crying out loud! So it’s kind of on me, really, for not liking it…

Another thing I didn’t like about this book was how it seemed to drag on longer than necessary. I felt like I could have been finished halfway through the book, but then “the misunderstanding” happened and made things extra difficult for our protagonist to be with her desired love interest. It really irks me when the couple doesn’t get together because of a small misunderstanding that could be rectified if someone said something. Instead, this misunderstanding ends up making the rest of the book boring and awkward, especially since the protagonist is still obsessed about her crush. The ending did kind of make up for it, though. 😉

Also, at some point in the novel, I forgot the protagonist’s name. And that has never happened to me, even with first person narrative. I don’t know when it happened, but I noticed three quarters in that I couldn’t remember her name, but could remember everyone else’s, from her sister to the random cheerleader named Cassie. It kind of bugged me until someone actually said her name, which probably had a hand in dampening my reading experience. Or maybe it was because I liked the secondary characters better than the protagonist…

In the end, even though I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would, there were just some things that bugged me. I’d still recommend this to people looking for fluffy contemporary and don’t mind slow middles. It just wouldn’t be the first contemporary I’d recommend…Well, that’s all I have to say about Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira for now! If you have any thoughts about this book, please feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day!

– 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?

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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

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