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ARC Review: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Summary

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

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Review

My rating:

Hello, fellow readers! Another day, another book read! Today, I’ll be reviewing Roshani Chokshi’s Star-Touched Stories, short stories set in the same world as The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. I was so happy to get a chance to read this as I’ve loved the author’s previous books! And I’m glad to say that these short stories didn’t disappoint!

The collection is comprised of three short stories, focusing on the relationships of Night and Death, Aasha and Zahril, as well as Gauri and Vikram. These stories were pretty engaging in getting into the heads of the protagonist, describing the plight in such exquisite detail! And the romance! Oh, my! The romance between these characters was just amazing! It reminded me of old relationships within the previous books as well while also giving me a burgeoning new relationship that make my heart flutter!

Also, I’ve got to say that I’m a big fan of Roshani Chokshi’s writing style. It’s beautifully descriptive, with imagery that gets you right inside the stories. Even when nothing’s going on at that specific moment, I couldn’t help but enjoy the story because of the writing.

Overall, I really liked reading these short stories, with the only thing I can comment on is the fact that they’re way too short for my liking! 😉 But such is the way of a lot of the stories I’ve been reading and loving lately. I just hope to see more stories from this series! If anyone is a fan of this author’s work or would like a taste of her writing, I would definitely recommend reading Star-Touched Stories. And to those who are interested, the book comes out on August 7th, 2018!

That’s all for now! Have a wonderful day, everyone!

– Sumaya

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

 

ARC Review: Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley

Summary

Debut author Alex Evansley delivers a sweet summer romance in this inventive novel about a young heartthrob and teen author falling in love.

Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he’d nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There’s just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he’s stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex-girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.

The weekend isn’t exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family’s lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax . . . and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren’t the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett . . . gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.

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My rating:

blue3

Hello, fellow readers! I’m back with another review! Today’s review is on Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley. From the blurb alone, I knew I wanted to read the book. It had all the things I liked: movies, acting, writing, YA novels, a romantic relationship between the actor and writer. But even with all these factors going for the book, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

Don’t get me wrong; the beginning was pretty great. I loved reading Teddy’s perspective and seeing how nervous he was with things that mattered to him. Also, it allowed readers to delve a bit more into his character to understand the motivations behind his actions. And yeah, I didn’t always agree with his choices, but most of the time, I understood where he was coming from (except this one part where, for the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around).

And then the POV switch happened and Bennet became the protagonist. This is when things started to go downhill for me. I just felt as if Bennett’s POV was too much for me sometimes, because I didn’t understand the reason why she pushed Teddy away. Maybe it was because of trust issues or just because she’s a private person. Either way, it doesn’t explain why acted the way she did after knowing someone for two days! And what’s worse is that we know she can be witty and a joy to talk to, seeing how she was in the first half of the novel through Teddy’s POV, but by the second half, she’s pretty reclusive and is prone to biting people’s heads off. I’m not saying that protagonists shouldn’t have an off day or feel angry or lash out, because that’s the whole point to them being relatable. What I don’t like is the fact that her feelings seem too strong for barely knowing someone. But that’s just my opinion; feel free to disagree!

Well, that’s all I have to say about Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley. It wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, but overall, it was okay. If anyone wants to read it though, the book is coming out this Tuesday June 12th!

Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

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

ARC Review: My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

Summary

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

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Review

My rating:

blue4-copy

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being on My Plain Jane, a retelling of the classic Jane Eyre. Now if I’m being honest, the fact that it was a retelling of Jane Eyre was probably a main reason why I was interested in this novel. I tried to read My Lady Jane, and despite it’s interesting blurb and cover, I just couldn’t get into it. And for a good moment, I thought the same thing would happen with My Plain Jane, but after a couple of chapters, I found the book to be really neat!

First of all, Charlotte BrontĂ« is in it! And apparently she and Jane are BFF! I love how the authors pulled on the fact that they were so many similarities between them, but are also able to contrast to create an effect, for instance in terms of healthy relationships. Also, the fact that we had a commentary other than Jane, who can maintain a bit more objective is great. Because that commentary coincides with Mr. Rochester’s questionable actions, and honestly, it’s amazing!

Paired with the fact that it’s about ghosts and people who hunt them, My Plain Jane is a thrilling retelling that will you leave you second-guessing and wanting more! I especially love how the modern paranormal genre fits into the gothic novel so effortlessly! Plus, the novel had so many references from other works, like The Princess Bride, The Shining, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. It just made the book more enjoyable to read when catching a reference.

Overall, I really liked reading My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows. This retelling makes me really want to go back to the original and read it again. Even after all that sarcastic commentary about it. Especially after all that sarcastic commentary about it. And to anyone who is interested, the book is in stores today!

Have you read Jane Eyre or any other Jane Eyre retellings? Let me know in the Comments Section below!

Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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

ARC Review: Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Summary

Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.

Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother’s death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends–a group of magnificently silly theater nerds–while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.

Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life–and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn’t telling her the whole truth.

All Rose knows is that it’s becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn’t ready to lose.

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Review

My rating:

purple3

Hi, everyone! I’m back! Before I start talking about this book, I’d like to say thanks to anyone who has given me advice about my reading slump problem. I’m currently rereading The Alice series, and I’m having fun with it so far, even though there are a few odd things that I haven’t noticed before… But I’m still rereading with a passion, so I guess it’s not too bad. The series still contains a lot of gems, though. But enough about that; let’s talk about Invisible Ghosts!

Now, if I’m being honest, I was really, really excited for anything written by Robyn Schneider. Especially after The Beginning of Everything and Extraordinary Means. I kept on going back to her Goodreads page over and over again, just to see if she was writing a book and when it would come out. When I finally found out more about the book she was writing, there was nothing that could have stopped me from reading it! Especially since it also had to do with theatre! That hype is probably why it ended up being more of a miss than it would have otherwise. I was just too invested to the point where my expectations would never be met.

It’s not that I didn’t like the characters. They were interesting enough. I especially like Rose and her brother’s relationship, even though it kind of worried me in the beginning. And her friends were pretty fun, albeit a bit slippery. But overall, the dynamic of the characters and dialogue were worth reading.

It was actually the world-building and mythology that didn’t appeal to me as much. There was just so much left open to guessing in that area. Where exactly did Rose and Jamie’s ability to see ghosts come from? How come ghosts haven’t been popping up everywhere Rose goes? How do ghosts affect Rose versus Jamie? And that’s just the tip of the question iceberg! 😉

So, in the end, I didn’t enjoy Invisible Ghosts as much as I thought I would, but I’m glad I got a chance to read another one of Robyn Schneider’s novels. And for anyone who is interested, Invisible Ghosts comes out on June 5th, 2018!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

– Sumaya

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

ARC Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Summary 

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business
but Grady’s got some changes in mind


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Review

My rating:

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Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being on Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian. This is actually the first book that I’ve read by the author, but the premise sounded sweet (pun 100% intended), so I thought I’d give it a whirl and request it. Luckily, the publisher granted my request on NetGalley and I got a chance to read the book!

When I first started reading this book, I had high hopes for an enticing plot. And while I did like reading the book overall, sometimes, I would get a bit bored, waiting for something big to happen. It wasn’t until the end where big strides were made in change, and even then, readers don’t get to see how it pans outs. Which is okay for a standalone, but in this case, I wanted to see more action than what I got. The diary entries of Molly Meade were interesting, though. It gave readers a bit more history regarding Meade Creamery.

As for the characters, I didn’t really connect with any of them. But I did respect their development throughout the book, like Amelia, Grady, and even Cate. They all start the summer uncertain of aspects within their life, only for it to be more rectified by the summer’s end. I did admired Amelia’s gumption at the end of the novel. It was great to see her find her passion! I think that’s the time when she really shined (at least, for me).

Well, that’s all I have to say about Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian. While the novel didn’t grab my attention sometimes, I thought that it was good overall. Has anyone else read anything by Siobhan Vivian? If you did, which of her works would you recommend that I read next? Also, Stay Sweet is coming out this Tuesday, for those of you who are interested. 😉

Have a nice day!

–  Sumaya

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

ARC Review: Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner

Summary 

Sixteen-year-old Brynn Harper’s life has one steadying force—Rachel Maddow. She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project—and actually getting a response—Brynn starts drafting emails to Rachel but never sending them. It’s an outlet; Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with Sarah, her first serious girlfriend, about her beloved brother Nick’s death, her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

But then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. She learns that one student representative will be allowed to have a voice among teachers and administrators in the selection of a new school superintendent. Sarah, along with Brynn’s arch-nemesis John, believe only honors students worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn knows they are more interested in power and perks. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position the knives are out and her brother’s memory and her new crush Michaela are shamed. Brynn asks herself: What would Rachel Maddow do?

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Review

My rating:

blue4-5

Hey there, everybody! Another day, another review, and this one’s on Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner! Now, when I first heard about it, I was a bit intrigued with the premise. How many times have I wanted to send a letter to my hero and have it answered? So I could totally relate to the title! And I really wanted to see what would happen to Brynn as the novel progressed.

One thing I really liked about this novel was that it didn’t end the way I expected it to. Usually, this is something I would critique on, but lately, I’ve been finding it works with a lot of standalone novels, especially when there is a lot going on. You can’t cover everything within about 300 pages. And that’s okay. As long as it ends on a somewhat more positive note than the beginning. Plus, it would be pretty predictable if everything I thought should happen in a novel did actually happen… 😉

As for the characters, I’ve got to say that I enjoyed reading about them. From Brynn and her reluctance altruism, Lacey and her brilliance, Justin and his sheer honesty, and a lot of others. Even when Adam and Sarah came into play, I was totally invested in how they would interact with everyone. Did I like them as people? No way. But they did make the plot more interesting, so I’ll give them that.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner. My final note is that I was in it for every email in that book! If anyone else is interested, Dear Rachel Maddow is coming out on June 5th, 2018. Thanks for reading, everyone!

– Sumaya

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

ARC Review: Flight Season by Marie Marquardt

Summary

From Marie Marquardt, the author of Dream Things True and The Radius of Us, comes a story of two teenagers learning what to hold on to, what to let go of, and that sometimes love gets in the way of our plans.

Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.

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Review

My rating:

blue4

Hi, everyone! Another day, another book! Today, I’ll be talking about Flight Season: A Novel by Marie Marquardt. Funny thing is that I actually wished for this book from NetGalley, but I didn’t think I would get it! But I’m glad that I did, because Flight Season: A Novel was pretty great!

What exactly drove me to liking it? Maybe it was the amazing main characters that basically made up this story! From Vivi to TJ to Ángel, these characters allow readers to peek into their minds and let us into their lives and struggles. Although, out of the three, I think I prefer Vivi and Ángel over TJ, mainly because he’s really rude for no good reason in the beginning, making things harder than they have to be. But by the end, I kind of understood where he was coming from. But still, I felt as if he was a little harsh in judging Vivi based on one experience. I probably feel that way because I access to Vivi’s POV and know that she didn’t deserve that.

And then there was Ángel. First of all, I was really intrigued by the writing style of his POV. It seemed as if he was aware that there was audience, because he is addressing someone as “you”, and it isn’t any of the characters within the book. At the same time, it could be because he’s lonely, lying in a hospital bed all day, unable to do anything without help. And second, I loved any scene that included Ángel because he was bound to liven it up, not just for Vivi and TJ, but for readers as well! But there were also times where I would feel so teary reading his POV, as well as so mad at all the circumstances leading him there, the injustice of it all. His story ends in an open way, which isn’t always satisfying, but in this case, it works.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Flight Season: A Novel by Marie Marquardt. It was an interesting read that I would recommend to anyone who isn’t afraid of a good cry! Flight Season: A Novel comes out on February 20th, so if you’re interested, you don’t have to wait much longer!

And if you have any thoughts or questions about this book, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

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

ARC Review: Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy

Summary

Fandom and first love collide for Iris on the film set for her grandmother’s famous high-fantasy triology—perfect for readers of Fangirl!

Unlike the rest of the world, Iris doesn’t care about the famous high-fantasy Elementia books written by M. E. Thorne. So it’s just a little annoying that M. E. Thorne is her grandmother—and that Iris has to deal with the trilogy’s crazy fans.

When Iris gets dropped in Ireland for the movie adaptation, she sees her opportunity: if she can shut down production, the Elementia craze won’t grow any bigger, and she can finally have a normal life. Not even the rascally-cute actor Eamon O’Brien can get in her way.

But the crew’s passion is contagious, and as Iris begins to find herself in the very world she has avoided her whole life, she realizes that this movie might just be amazing


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My rating:

blue4

Hey there, wonderful readers! It’s time for another review, this one being on Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy. Now, I remember seeing this title last year and feeling that I really wanted to read it. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably aware of my love for books concerning the entertainment industry/ the arts! Musicians, artists, actors, you name it, I’ll read it! Added to that fact that this novel is also pretty fandom-friendly, I was obviously excited for Now a Major Motion Picture before I even got my hands on it!

Firstly, I’ve got to say that I was in love with the world built around the fantasy series within the novel! It was really well done to the point where I wanted to know more about Elementia! As for the world outside Elementia, it was great as well in terms of plot. One moment you think everything’s going okay and the next minute there’s a crisis. And then that crisis is averted only to have another one in its place! But I believe that these problems push the characters into who they become in the end; this was especially the case for Iris, at least.

Then there were the amazing characters of this novel. From bold Shoshanna  to heartthrob Julian and nerdy Eamon, to mischievous Ryder and determined Cate, to our headstrong protagonist, Iris! I really admired the character development Iris went through to become a lighter, happier version of herself compared to the beginning of the novel, when her nickname was Jaded Iris. I did like those moments when people had interacted with her dad, only to tell her, I get why you are the way you are. Because it’s true; her dad basically enforced his worldview on her. Thankfully, it gets better afterwards, but I still thought of the dad as the bad guy, even though he was made into a more complex character with some backstory. I kind of wish I heard more from Iris’ mom, though, or at least about Iris’ mom. I understand why I haven’t heard from her, but still…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy. It was a pretty quick read that I did enjoy!  I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a good contemporary novel! For those of you who are interested, Now a Major Motion Picture comes out on April 3rd, 2018! And if you have any comments or questions, let me know 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.

ARC Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Summary

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

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My rating:

blue4-5

Hi, everyone! Another day, another review! I’m really excited to talk about today’s book, though, which is American Panda by Gloria Chao! I remember being excited for this book as soon as I saw the announcement on Twitter last year! It just sounded so good! Now, I’ll be honest; I tried to keep my expectations low so I’d enjoy it, as that worked the last time I read a book. But I just couldn’t! It’s okay this time around, though, because the reading experience was amazing! 🙂

First of all, I really liked Mei as the main character. I believe that her voice made this book what it is. I really got a chance to relate to her as well, with her whole “going-off-to-college” experience. You rarely have YA go in that path (what characters are usually thinking about is getting to college, but rarely is their experience fully viewed). In fact, the only YA books I can think of with a college setting are We are Still Tornadoes and I Hate Everyone But You. It was that experience of discovering what you want to pursue, going to lectures, tests and whatnot that I enjoyed reading about. That and seeing how she handles it while balancing expectations from her parents in upholding her end of the bargain by becoming a doctor. I totally got that since at one point in my life, I was influenced into becoming a doctor and selecting my courses and major because of it. I understood exactly what Mei was going through, which is probably another reason of why I ate this novel up!

I also like how this story had a nice balance of humour and seriousness to it. All throughout, you’d get these fleshed out characters who you want to see more of! With the progression of the novel, the characters developed alongside until it was over and I was sad to leave them behind. The only character I actually didn’t want to see fleshed out was Eugene, a potential suitor for Mei. Shocking, I know! I’m usually complaining about the fact that a character isn’t developed enough and here I am wanting this character to remain flat. It’s just that I didn’t think that Eugene’s presence benefited the story’s plot in any way. You could leave his minor appearance out and it would still be the same. It was the idea of Eugene and arranged marriages in general that actually mattered to the plot.

Well, those are my thoughts on American Panda by Gloria Chao. I really liked it and I would recommend this book to anyone looking in the Contemporary sphere! If you have any questions about this book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. And for those of you who are interested. American Panda comes out on February 6th, 2018!

Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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

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