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where YA books are reviewed

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Review: November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson

My rating: blue4 copy.png

(3.75 stars)

I received an ebook copy from the author for an honest review

Hello, everybody! I’m back with another review! This recent book review is on November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson. I’d like to thank Shannon for giving me a copy of this book, as well as its sequel, to read! November Rain is set in the near future (the year 2089) where bad bloods, the name given to people with supernatural abilities, are feared and prosecuted. In the book, there is an election going on that will either be in favour of the bad bloods or against it. In the centre of it all is Serena, a bad blood who has just escaped the blood camp, and Daniel, the boy who saves her from being caught on the streets again. Separately, these bad bloods are surviving, but together? Who knows what they can accomplish. 😉

Bad Bloods was originally supposed to be a single book but has now been split into two: November Rain and November Snow. And that might be the reason why it feels kind of slow paced within the first novel. November Rain does a good job setting things up, but I feel as if things just start to get really interesting by the end of the book. Don’t get me wrong; a certain amount of exposition is needed to understand what is going on in the novel. I just feel as if the book could have ended its major exposition mode early on and have more action-filled scenes…

While its exposition choices left something to be desired, this book was really strong in plot. I remember starting it and thinking “I wonder what’s going to happen next?” At the beginning, it seems clearcut and dry, but by the end of the first book, it leaves you befuddled on how these events had occurred. And that secret reveal at the end? Really makes me want to read the next book!

So that’s all I have to say about November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson. While it is a bit slow to read, I really liked the idea behind it and am eager to read the next book and see what happens. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading! 😉

–  Sumaya

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that have been in my TBR pile way too long!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Hey, everyone! It’s Top Ten Tuesday again, and this time, it’s all about the infamous TBR pile! As book lovers, there might have been a lot of books we’ve read and enjoyed, but there are also a lot out there that we haven’t gotten to reading. Sad, but true! Here are just some of the books I haven’t read:

1.  The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

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While I did love Kirsten White’s Paranormalcy series, I wasn’t ready to jump on board with another series… 

2. The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

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I kind of wish I continued this series, because the last book did end on an interesting note! 😉 

3. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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I had this on my TBR before I even knew that Morgan Matson was popular…

4. Cress by Marissa Meyer

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I guess I fell out of love with the series… 

5. The Last Best Kiss by Claire LeZebnik

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I didn’t like Persuasion to begin with, so I wasn’t so keen on reading its retelling

6. The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

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I probably should have read it since it was the last in the series… I just got tired of it…

7. The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow

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It seemed really interesting, and I regret not reading it still… 😦 

8. Intertwined by Gena Showalter

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I think this was really popular at the time, and that’s why I wanted to read it… *shrugs in a confused manner*

 

9. Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger

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I returned this one to the library before I could read it and haven’t gotten it back since…

10. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

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Tried to read this a bunch of times, but never got into it…

 

So that’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! How many books have you haven’t read? Are there any books on your TBR that you have truly fallen out interest or has this TTT renewed that former interest? I’d love to hear from you all in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day! 🙂

–  Sumaya

 

Review: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

My rating: green3

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

Hey, everyone! I’m here with a review on Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall! It’s about two friends who realize that there is more to their relationship than just being best friends. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a copy! I was really excited to read this book, because the last two books by Sandy Hall were amazing, so when my request was finally accepted, it made my day! Once I started reading it though, I had mixed feelings for it.

The first few chapters of the story were interesting and got me interested in the characters and their lives. But after? Been Here All Along kind of alternated between interesting and too simplistic. The story knew what it was doing and let readers in on it, too. There weren’t really any twists or turns; everything was laid out from then on out and by that point, I wasn’t really interested. The text itself sounded really artificial to my ears by the middle. Not that there wasn’t some good dialogue going on in the story, especially between Gideon and Kyle. It’s just that the main problem of the story wasn’t really interesting and was resolved pretty quickly. I saw there was potential for it to be more, but it was restricted by the characters unwillingness to be more complex, since no one wanted to be the antagonist of the story…

The characters were really flat as well. At first, like the plot, I really loved reading in their perspective, but by the end, I was ready to say goodbye. With a few exceptions (from secondary characters at that), all the characters seemed to be of a stock quality and do not break the restrictions they have, if that makes sense… Like one character being a cheerleader and greatly invested in their image or being manipulative… While there were explanations made that add to their overall character and establish them as more complex, I don’t think it helped that much. It felt like it was all tell and no show. It would have been much more interesting to see the characters act out their complexities than think it in their heads for readers only… Overall, I wasn’t really into the portrayal of the characters.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Been Here All Along. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section. Thank you for reading!

– Sumaya

Review: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

My rating: blue5

Hey, everyone! I’ve just finished reading The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, and I have to say, I really liked it! More than I thought I would! 😉 It focuses on Lydia Bennet’s story after the Pride and Prejudice narrative has run its course. Only it’s not a typical Pride and Prejudice narrative, but one based on YouTube webisodes. In it, Lydia was betrayed by Wickham rather than marrying him, which I find to be an interesting take on the classic. It seemed so problematic to me at the the end of the original text for Lydia to end up with Wickham and no one really give a thought to her afterwards. That’s a major reason on why I liked this book. It really fleshed out her character, even more than the webisodes, if you can believe it. And I know I really liked this book because I had been reading it through both the print and ebook format; I just couldn’t get enough of it. When I would be unable to read the print version, I’d read the ebook version and vice versa.

I loved reading Lydia’s POV. It was just so engaging, fun and interesting. She had a great sense of humour that I could relate to and the way she depicted her experiences were just so vivid to me. I felt as if I was travelling around with her and her friends. And even though she was dealing with some serious aftermath in the form of relationship scandal, Lydia still remained strong and so admirable. She did doubt herself a lot but in the end, she took that experience and made it a part of her, rather than just let it define her.

Overall, I thought that this was a really enjoyable read and I recommend this to anyone who has watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and/or The Lydia Bennet, or has read Pride and Prejudice. While I’m hesitant to give this book a full five star rating, at the same time, I cannot really find any fault in it. I just enjoyed it way too much! Maybe later on I’ll recognize a flaw or two, but for now, I’m going to bask in this great read, because I know there will be books in the future that I will probably not like. So I’m just going to make the most of it. That’s all I have to say about The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet for now. If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to use the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everybody!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 32

Hi, everybody! It’s time for Which Cover Wednesday! Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two different covers of the same book and give my opinion on which does it better. And feel free to join in on the fun as well, by commenting about these covers in the Comments Section below. This week’s covers are:

1.  Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

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I really like the first one. It just looks like a bit more effort has been put into it compared to the second cover, which looks more like a collage of sorts…

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (English and Russian)

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First cover forever! I just fell in love with the cover of the book. It just seems so fanciful and ethereal… While the second cover looks interesting, it’s the first one that’s captured my heart! ❤

3. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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Before the second cover came out, I wouldn’t believe that it could be possible to improve on the first cover of The Winner’s Curse. Was I ever wrong! The second cover not only has a great placement of type (which I do like better than the first one’s confusing layout) and model, it gives off the vibe that you do not want to mess with the protagonist… 😉

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (English and French)

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This is a tough call. Both are variants of the same cover and look so good! But in this case, I’d have to go with the first cover because it plays with different colour schemes… Plus, I kind of like how the crow is depicted in the first cover in comparison to the second one.

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

–  Sumaya

Review: My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill

My rating: pink3

(2.5 stars)

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

Hello, everybody! Another day, another review, and this time, it’s on My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill. Now, to be fair and honest, I should have not expected so much from this book, since I didn’t like the author’s last one. But the blurb just seemed so interesting. My Unscripted Life is about a girl named Dee who becomes a summer intern on a movie set once she is rejected from a summer Art program. I LOVE books that have to do with the entertainment sphere, whether it’s about movies, tv shows, or music. So I decided to request it on NetGalley, and now I’ve come to regret it.

First off, the book just had too many colloquialisms in it. Now, I might be a fan of the occasional funny phrase or appropriate metaphor. However, this book had so much of that, it was distracting for me to read. Instead of being appropriately placed, the metaphors and sayings were everywhere and didn’t make sense at all. Or they would be ones that wouldn’t sit well with me, like using the phrase “like a drunk toddler” to describe someone’s coordination. I was pissed off for a few minutes after reading that, just arguing with the book (yes, I was arguing with the book… 😉 )  on why that should never be a possibility. But that was probably just my own bias…

Then, there were the characters. I didn’t really like Dee, our main character. She just didn’t seem strong or real enough to me. There were moments where I could relate and empathize with her, but other than that , I thought that her reasoning was all over the place. I didn’t really understand her rationale and I guess that distanced me from her. I also thought that she got way too attached to her love interest to be realistic. And to be honest, I thought that the novel as a whole wasn’t that realistic. I feel as if the author could have done more with the novel, like continue some trains of thought that the characters were having, or using a few secondary characters to their maximum potential. Some characters that seemed to possess significant roles early on in the novel, but were later belittled to limited roles. Based on their roles in the end, it didn’t make sense to have them in the novel at all, so why were they there in the first place? It was just one of the things that bugged me.

Although I didn’t like reading My Unscripted Life that much, there were a few moments where I could enjoy it, like when Dee went all artistic on us, or when the novel would include aspects of a screenplay. It was just so much fun to read during those points. But they were so little and few that it didn’t really matter as much…

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend My Unscripted Life to anyone. It might be just my bias and you could possibly like it. Let’s just say that you liked The Trouble with Destiny by the same author, you’d probably like this book, too. That’s all I have to say about this book. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 30

Hello, lovely readers! It’s time for Which Cover Wednesday! Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I compare two different covers of the same book and give my opinion on which does it better. And feel free to join in on the fun as well, by commenting about these covers in the Comments Section below. Here are this week’s covers:

1. Fallen by Lauren Kate (English and Italian)

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Love that first cover! While both books share a similar background, I like how the model is front and centre in this one as opposed to being on the side. Also, the typography’s slightly more fancier and having that dress doesn’t hurt! 😉

2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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First cover! It just conveys a much more darker tone to the novel, rather than the second cover, which looks like a soap opera…

3. My Blood Does Approve by Amanda Hocking

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This time, it’s the second cover! It looks more “put-together” than the first one, with its beautiful typography, the placement of cover art and model. The first cover, on the other hand, doesn’t make as much use of the space and looks more empty than the second cover…

4. Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

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OMG! I’d go for the second cover in this case. The layout is more appealing to me, with an understated gate depiction on the bottom of the cover. There’s also the necklace of the model, which suggests a component of the story. And what about that windswept hair? That was nicely done! 😉

Well, that’s it for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday. Were there any covers you liked or disliked? If you have any thoughts on these covers, I’d love to hear about them in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading! 😉

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 29

Hey, everybody! Welcome back to Which Cover Wednesday. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Which Cover Wednesday is a meme I host where I show two different covers of the same book and choose which one is better (in my opinion). Feel free to join in by giving your own opinions in the Comments Section below. This weeks covers are:

1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (English and Italian)

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Even though I love the intricate detail given to the sword hilt of the second cover, as well as that eye contact the model makes, I’m going to give my vote to the first one. It’s just that the second one has flowers and other faint designs around in the background… The first one, though, has great placement as well as the model looking, well, grave. 😀

2. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (English and Estonian)

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While I’m hard-pressed to choose between the two, I’m going to go with the first cover again. Not that the second cover doesn’t look interesting with that clockwork angel in the middle, but first of all, there’s Will Herondale to consider. 😉 Secondly, the background of the first cover looks amazing! 🙂

3. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (English and German)

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In this case, I love that second cover! There’s something ethereal about that light, hinting at the fact that she might be going somewhere as well as the playful movement of the model…

4. Soulless by Gail Carriger

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Second cover all the way! I’m a sucker for cloth covers and this is no exception with its golden embossing and great cover art! It just makes it look classy, with its simple elegance… Thankfully, it doesn’t lose the important details, like the parasol and the  clockwork “O” in the title that’s related to the genre of the book, steampunk.

Well, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this week’s Which Cover Wednesday! Did you see anything you liked? If you have any thoughts or questions about Which Cover Wednesday or this week’s titles, I’d love to hear about them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

– Sumaya

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the U.S.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Hi, everyone! It’s Top Ten Tuesday and I’m ready to jump into this week’s topic; it’s about all those books set outside the U.S.! It’s interesting to think about because a lot of the books I read are set in the U.S., but I also make it a priority to read books set in other places. Here are some of the books I’ve read that are set outside the U.S.:

1. Frostfire by Amanda Hocking (Canada)

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2. Secrets of the Henna Girl by Sufiya Ahmed (Pakistan)

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3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (Australia)

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4. Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah (Australia)

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5. Kissing in Italian by Lauren Henderson (Italy)

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6. City of Masks by Mary Hoffman (England and alternate-reality Italy)

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7. The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (Canada)

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8. Me and the Blondes by Teresa Toten (Canada)

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9. Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung (Australia)

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10. Die for Me by Amy Plum (France)

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Well, that’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. Have you read any of these books? And what books are on your TTT this week? I’d love to hear about them! Just leave a link to it, as well as any comments or questions you might have, in the Comments section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya

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