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ARC Review: Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

Summary

Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . . Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent’s school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn’t all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes. Henry Yi grew up in his dad’s restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent’s school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie’s growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away. Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs. Perfect for lovers of Chopped Teen Tournament and Kids Baking Championship, as well as anyone who dreams of a romantic trip to France, Love à la Mode follows Rosie and Henry as they fall in love with food, with Paris, and ultimately, with each other.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

Hey, everyone! Today, I’ll be talking about Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm. Now, I remember first hearing about this book and being really excited. Not only was it about a boarding school set in France, this boarding school is actually a prestigious cooking school as well! I was definitely getting Anna and the French Kiss vibes with some competitive drama to boot! And while it was an okay read, I wouldn’t rank it with my favourite contemporary novels.

Firstly, my main concern was with the main characters. Rosie and Henry were pretty nice together, but alone, they’re kind of boring. While I loved those cute moments between Rosie and Henry, I prefer characters that I could root for based on their personality or empathy for them. Don’t get me wrong: in the beginning, I did like both characters. However, that changes when Rosie becomes a bit bland for me (I think she would have been perfectly fine in the early 2010s, though) and Henry begins to take out his frustrations on Rosie.

I did like the school, though, as well as the experience studying in France. I’ve been a big fan of reading boarding schools since forever, and thought that this book had a fun take on boarding school life. Also, the story really goes into detail about backstory of the school as well as characters within the novel, which I really appreciated. It made things easier to imagine and gave more depth to the story.

Overall, while I didn’t get into Love à la Mode as much as I wanted to, I wouldn’t discourage readers from checking it out if they like cooking or baking. By the way, Love à la Mode can be found in bookstores on November 27th, 2018, for those of you who are interested! Do you have any recommendations for great boarding school books, though? If you do, feel free to leave them in the section below.

Take care, everyone! And keep reading! 🙂

–  Sumaya

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 43

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

Hey there, lovely readers! Another post of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” coming your way! I haven’t done much reading this past week, mainly because I couldn’t get into any book I read after A Blade So Black!

What I’ve Read Recently:

A Blade So Black

What I’m Planning to Read Next:

 

Well, that’s all for now! You might have noticed that I don’t have a section that states what I’m currently reading. That’s because I’m not reading anything at the moment. 😉 Don’t worry, though! I’ll probably get to reading Analee, in Real Life very soon!

What is everyone else reading this week?

–  Sumaya

Blog Tour: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (Q&A)

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?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Hey, everyone! I’m back on a blog tour! This one is on the short story collection Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi, which btw I loved! If you want to see my full review, click here! But today’s post is dedicated to some amazing questions and answers! 😉

Q&A

  1. Out of all the characters in your novels, which one did you have the most fun writing about and who do you relate to the most personally? What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
  2. In the world of the Star – Touched Queen, I think the one who I related to the most was also the one that I had the most fun writing: Kamala! There’s just something about the demon horse that resonated a lot with me. I think it’s because she does everything that I would do in a fantasy story, which is frantically derail the plot and whine to her friends about how hungry she is all the time.
  3. What inspired you to create this fictional world? Were there anyRomo mythologies that particularly inspired you? I was really inspired by the childhood stories that my grandmother told me. To me, they were so rich with details and texture that it really shocked me how these worlds and mythologies were never explored in mainstream literature. I was particularly inspired by Greek and Hindu mythology.
  4. Why did you feel it was important to add Star-Touched Stories to this world you’ve created?  What do you want readers to gain from the stories? Do you think there are any more stories to tell from the Star-Touched world, and if so, who you most like to write about next? For me, this collection of stories is my farewell to the world that I created. It was extremely cathartic to write these three stories. I want readers to gain a sense of closure. I want readers to feel as much as I did when I with the stories. Who can say whether or not there are more stories left to tell in this world? 😉
  5. Will you miss writing this world and characters? Absolutely! They lived in my head for so long that I feel strangely weightless to be without them.
  6. What was your favorite scene to write from Star-Touched Stories, and what was your favorite scene to write from the whole series? Honestly, my favorite scene that I wrote was the last scene the last story. I think you’ll see why. As for my favorite scene that I wrote from the whole series, I think it would have to be the moment when Maya first enters the Night Bazaar.
  7. Is there a scene or character from one of your stories that you’ve had to cut which you really wish you could share with readers? There once was a speaking monkey character… But I had to let go of him. Maybe he’ll reappear some other time.
  8. How is writing short stories different than writing a full-length book? How different is it to write YA and MG? How has your writing evolved? Writing short stories is really different from writing a full-length book because you’re ultimately writing to a punchline in a shorter amount of space. There is less space to explore so the language must be very deliberate. I think my writing has evolved to become a lot more character focused than I once was. I still love gorgeous, decadent prose, but I believe that the best kind of language is that which is emotionally filtered through the feelings of a character.
  9. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring writers? Read often. I realize that sounds trite, but so many people retread the same path with stories out of comfort or nostalgia. I totally understand this and I’m one of those people who loves to reread my favorite books but I never found a sense of my own writing voice or writing style without reading a wide variety of works.
  10. What sort of music do you listen to when you write? I mostly listen to music to get me in the mood for writing rather than listening to music to get me through a scene. I think the only times I listen to music when I’m writing is if I’m in a third or fourth round of revisions. Otherwise I get distracted.
  11. If any of your books were given an adaptation, would you rather it be a movie, TV show, web series, or stage musical? For The Gilded Wolves, I would rather see that as a miniseries. For both books in the Star-Touched universe, I’d rather see those as movies.
  12. Favorite myth and how has it inspired your writing? What was your inspiration for these stories? I think my favorite myth is Hades and Persephone. I love the atmosphere, the goth undercurrent, the power dynamic. I love the movement of princess to Queen.
  13. Do you remember the first book that made you fall in love with reading? Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. That was the first fairytale retelling book I ever read and it shocked me because I didn’t realize you could do something like that! It opened my imagination to a whole new realm of narrative possibilities.

About the Author

Roshani Chokshi CREDIT Aman SharmaRoshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen and A CROWN OF WISHES. Her middle grade debut, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME, released April 3, 2018 from Disney/Rick Riordan Presents. Her next young adult novel, THE GILDED WOLVES, is slated for Winter 2019. Chokshi’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She was a finalist in the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the Locus Top Ten for Best First Novel. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

 

Author links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Thanks for reading, everyone! And remember, if you’re interested, Star-Touched Stories is available for purchase on August 7th, 2018!

Have a nice day!

–  Sumaya

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Summary

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

pink4

Hey there, fellow readers! Today, I’ll be reviewing  Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka. Now, I remember seeing this book on Goodreads last year and knew I had to read it! The premise just sounded so intriguing! And I loved the fact that it covered theatre, since I love reading about the performing arts. Luckily, this book didn’t get lost in my TBR pile!

One thing I could say about this book is that I really sympathized with the protagonist. Megan wants love, but at the same time, believes herself to be “the girl before”, never to fall in love herself, but help others fall in love. Even though this “curse” seemed a bit of a stretch for a contemporary novel (it could honestly be a legitimate thing in fantasy, though), I imagine that this sort of thinking might help her cope with the fact that she’s getting dumped for true love’s sake. At least, that’s what I saw in the case of her best friend, Madeleine, who got together with one of Megan’s exes. It kind of sucked that she didn’t stick up for herself until near the end of the novel; that she actually does deserve to be happy, whether in a romantic relationship or with her family ties. But this is where her core development lied, so it’s understandable.

Also, I liked that, for the most part, the novel portrayed positive relationships between Megan and her family members. In the beginning, she feels out of sorts with where she belongs, and throughout the novel, she tries to figure out her place in her ever-expanding family. But no one tries to shut her out or make her feel less important intentionally. In fact, it’s the opposite, which I felt was a nice change to some of the dynamics I’ve seen in the past when it came to divorce, family, new partners, and children.

Overall, this novel was a good read, although it did leave me with a few loose ends. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet contemporary novel! And if you have any thoughts on Always Never Yours, I’d be happy to hear them!

Take care, everyone!

– Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 23

Hey, everyone! It’s Monday again, which means I’m back with another “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” post, hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. Unfortunately, it was a really slow week for me, reading-wise. Hopefully. it picks up, but my reading goals for this week kind of reflect that lull of last week… 😉

What I Read Recently:

What I’m Currently Reading:

when it's real

What I’m Planning to Read Next: 

in search of us

Well, that’s my reading list for this week! What are you all reading at the moment? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 78

Hey there, fellow readers! I’m back with 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 covers in the Comments Section below. Speaking of covers, here are our covers for this week:

1.  I Hate Everyone But You by Gabby Dun and Allison Raskin

i hate everyone but you or i hate everyone but you 2.jpg

I really like the second cover. While both covers seem similar, I feel as if the first cover is a draft of the second one. I think that the second cover has a polished look to it, with the phone in the middle actually looking real, the text is bold, legible, yet not out of place. Plus, I think it was a good idea to put the authors’ names inside the phone, like it’s a random chat. The only this I’m not a fan of is the background art of all those emojis…

2. I Know I Am, But What Are You by Samantha Bee

i know i am.jpg or i know i am 2.jpg

Loving that second cover. Simple, but it gets the point across just as much as if the author were wearing a bee costume. Also, I really like the typography of the second cover in comparison to the first one, which looks much more bland.

3. A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Marby

fierce and subtle poison or a fierce and subtle poison 2

First cover for the win! I love how vibrant it looks with all those colours, leaves and flowers! And that typography is looking pretty fierce with those thorns around it! 😉 The second cover, while giving an air of mystery with its model shrouded in shadow, wouldn’t make me want to grab ahold of it as the first book does.

4. Seven Days of You by Cecily Vinesse

seven days of you.jpg or seven days of you 2.jpg

In this case, I’d go with the second cover. I like seeing covers that try to use other enticing factors rather than a picture with a model. The second cover looks super cute with its cover art all over the place! It just screams light contemporary without having to use models holding hands or whatnot.

Well, that’s all I have to say 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

Which Cover Wednesday 73

Hello, lovely readers! It’s Wednesday, and on this blog that means it’s time for another Which Cover Wednesday! 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 feel free to add your opinions to the mix in the Comments Section below! This week’s contenders are:

1.  Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

gimme-a-call.jpg or gimme-a-call-2

I really like the look of the second one. The first one seems really empty and unfinished, and not just because of the white background, but also because it doesn’t fill up space with cover art. Meanwhile, the second cover has a pretty lush background with cool typography and a retro rotary phone!

2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

strange-the-dreamer.jpg or strange-the-dreamer-2.jpg

First cover for sure! I love the contrast of colours in the first cover, plus its wicked typography (as you’ve noticed by this point, I’m a huge fan of word art!). Also, I like its depiction of moths versus the second cover, which is a close up drawing of a moth, slightly creeping me out…

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

the-night-circus.jpg or the-night-circus-2.jpg

Loving that second cover. The first is okay and all, but I like how the second cover looks more like a vintage classic with its intricate, symmetrical design. Overall, it fills out the cover without overdoing it, in my opinion!

4. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

one-dark-throne.jpg or one-dark-throne-2.jpg

In this case, I’d go with the first cover. While both covers are pretty similar with an central image (and having gorgeous typography to boot!), I like the first cover for its detailed design of the throne. Plus, doesn’t it look like the snake is being stabbed with a flaming sword in the second cover(although it’s probably just wrapped around it)?

Well, that’s all I have to say for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday! Were there any covers that caught your eye! Feel free to let me know in the Comments Section below, as well as any thoughts or suggestions you might have. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 71

Hello, fellow readers! It’s already the middle of the week, which means a whole bunch of things, but in this case, it’s that Which Cover Wednesday is upon us! Which Cover Wednesday is a meme that I host in which I compare two covers of the same book and give my opinion on which cover is better. And I’m not the only one who can participate! You can, too! Just leave your opinions about these covers in the Comments Section below! Well, without further ado, here are our lovely covers for this week:

1.  If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

if-birds.jpg or if-birds-2.jpg

Second cover most definitely! The first cover’s background is okay, but the constellation in the middle seems randomly placed. I like the second cover for its simplicity as well as its cute illustration of birds flying amidst the clouds.

2. Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

our-own-private-universe.jpg or our-own-private-universe-2.jpg

My vote goes to the second cover yet again! While I do love the lighting in the first cover, the second cover looks great with the bold typography and the frozen image of a two girls (who are shown through silhouettes) under a night sky. I guess this is a pretty good example of having a less model-centric cover.

3. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

truthwitch.jpg or truthwitch-2.jpg

OMG! If our previous cover of Our Own Private Universe was a good example of a less model-centric cover, than Truthwitch is a pretty good example of why models can be a powerful asset on covers. You’d think I’d like the second cover more than the first, but the first cover still captures my eye with that amazing background image plus our model conveying a sense of power and mystique. The second cover just seems boring in comparison with its own colour and icon… Although, I’ll admit it has lovely typography!

4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the-hate-u-give.jpg or the-hate-u-give-2.jpg

In this case, I’d choose the second cover. Not that the first one isn’t good; it’s just that the second cover has this typography that I really like. It also uses its space more efficiently than the first cover, in my opinion, with the model filling out the whole space as well as a black background.

Well, that’s all for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday! Have any thoughts on these covers? I’d love to hear them! Also, if you have any suggestions for next week’s Which Cover Wednesday, then feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below! Take care, everyone! And keep reading!

-Sumaya

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11

Hey, everyone! It’s Monday again, which means I’m back with another “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” post, hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. Unfortunately, it was a really slow week for me, reading-wise. Hopefully. it picks up, but my reading goals for this week kind of reflect that lull of last week… 😉

What I Read Last Week: 

a-different-blue

What I’m Currently Reading:

until-you.jpg

What I’m Planning to Read Next:

kat-and-meg

Well, that’s my reading list for this week! What are you all reading at the moment? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section below! Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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