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ARC Review: Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Summary

Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since my last review, but I’m back to talk about Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes! From the moment I read the summary, I knew I had to read this book! Not only does it include online gaming, but it also has that fake relationship I love seeing in YA books! But if you think the book met my expectations, I need to tell you something. It didn’t.

It surpassed them!

First of all, I really loved Analee’s perspective. She was honest and relatable, to the point where you could root for her in almost any given scenario, even when you can admit she’s being unreasonable. I think it’s because I knew where she’s coming from since we’re given access to her internal monologue. While she isn’t as open with everyone else, as a reader, you can see the contrast between her personality when she’s more comfortable with people versus when she isn’t as comfortable. To be honest, I liked how this book tackles social anxiety and how it affects both the socially anxious person and the people around them. The book doesn’t magically cure her in the end just because she starts hanging out with a boy, but it does show Analee’s resolve can overcome her anxiety when she really wants to accomplish something, whether it’s reading in front of children to making a toast at her dad’s wedding.

Additionally, I liked the depiction of connections Analee had in the novel, past and present. You see her older relationships through flashbacks while the newer ones are forming within the novel and become more concrete as the novel progresses. Analee doesn’t shy away from the grief she feels since her mother’s funeral, which is a big part of the novel. It did leave me teary a lot of the time, but I also wanted to read those beautiful moments between her and her mother! You could see similar flashbacks in regards to her father and friend as well since the bonds between them changed drastically within two years. It helped convey the tension between them in the present pretty well.

I could say so much more about the novel, like how it was the first RPG book I loved since Gamer Girl, or how I loved that whole fake-boyfriend ordeal, where it really reminded me of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but I’m going to leave it here for now. If anyone wants to talk about it further, feel free to leave a comment in the section below! Ultimately, I admire how Analee handles things, especially at the end of the novel. It wasn’t the ending I expected, but that’s what made it so great! And for those of you who are interested, Analee, in Real Life comes out on September 18th, 2018!

Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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

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?

Sourced from Goodreads

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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.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

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 Giveaway!

Hi, wonderful readers! I’m giving away a few spring release ARCs that I’ve read. These ARCs include: Fireworks by Katie Cotugno, The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich, Internet Famous by Danika Stone, and Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios. The giveaway is only for residents of Canada and the U.S. Maybe in the future it’ll be international, but for now, this is all I can afford… Here are the rules:

1. The giveaway runs from May 23rd to June 5th 12 am (EST)

2. The giveaway is for Canadian and US residents only

3. Participants must fill in all the required entries

4. Any participants who are under 18 must have parental/guardian permission before entering the giveaway in case they win later on and I need their mailing address. It is understood that once the participant enters the giveaway that they have parental permissions.

5. The winner will be notified a day after the giveaway closes, but if they do not respond within 48 hours, someone else will be picked as the winner

To enter, just visit in the rafflecopter giveaway link here.

Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Blurb

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating: purple4

Hey, fellow bloggers! Hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend! Anyways, I’ve finally gotten around to reading Geekerella by Ashley Poston! Now I remember hearing about this book and being so excited for its release. However, while I’m glad that I read Geekerella – since it was pretty good – it wasn’t everything I expected it to be…

It probably had to do with how closely this book was following the Cinderella/Ashputtle storyline. While I did like seeing the parallels between the stories, and how Ashputtle was woven into Geekerella in terms of Starfield and her parents’ legacy, I also found it to be a bit lacking in terms of a few characters, mainly the stepmother. You see, even though readers get a glimpse into the stepmother’s mind when she interacts with Elle sometimes, she bounces right back to the evil stepmother trope that I love to hate! I just wish Catherine, Elle’s stepmother, could have been more complex instead of being relegated to the role of antagonist, or at least had some sort of satisfying resolution that included her. The other characters were really something, though! 🙂

Then there’s the pairing of Elle and Darien to consider. And let me tell you, they do make the book pretty cute to read! From their shared interest in Starfield to their strong chemistry, I loved them right from the start! This is one pairing that I’m willing to root for! As you might have noticed in previous posts, I’m not the biggest advocate on romance lately, especially when it doesn’t do anything for the story. But when it works, it works! 😉

Another thing that made this book fun to read was all things Starfield! I’ve always had a thing for fandom friendly stories, like All the Feels, Queens of Geek, Fangirl and so much more! So how could I not love all the additional information given in the novel about the fandom that Elle loves? Plus, I could feel the love that Elle has for Starfield, with it not only being a huge connection to her parents but also to anything remotely positive while she lived under her stepmother’s reign. It just made me appreciate her fandom even more! Overall, I loved the fandom that the author incorporated into her story.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Geekerella by Ashley Poston. While it might have not been my favourite fandom friendly book, I thought that it was still a good read. If you have any thoughts or comments on Geekerella, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

 

ARC Review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

My rating: green4

(4.25 stars)

Hello, again! I’m back with another review, this one being on Internet Famous by Danika Stone. Now when I first heard about this last year, I thought it sounded great! It’s about a blogger named Madi, living in New Jersey and a foreign exchange student named Laurent, who lives in New York. These two meet through the comments section of Madi’s blog, MadLibs, and start to build a connection that has the potential to be something more. Meanwhile, Madi’s also facing adversity in the form of troll who is not in the mood to be ignored. Anyways, you know when you hype up a book in your mind and once you finally read it, it doesn’t deliver in the way you expected it would? Well, this book… did no such thing! 😄

While the beginning might have been a bit slow for me, by the time I read a few chapters, I was hooked! I loved all the extra stuff, like the blog posts (made me want to participate in the Comments Section of MadLibs), tumblr and snapsed (the book’s equivalent of Snapchat) pictures! The sad thing was that I really wanted to follow MadLibs after reading this book. Too bad it isn’t real… but who knows, maybe there’ll be a site up for Madi soon like there is for Liv and Xander from All the Feels, Danika Stone’s previous YA novel! Hopefully!

I was also on the edge of my seat as I was trying to figure out who the troll could be! Honestly, I suspected everyone until near the very end; that’s when it became clear. But it wasn’t obvious to me before and I liked the author could hide that info so well! In real life, I wouldn’t like it as much. I’m just thankful that the community in a part of is so supportive and friendly! Thanks, everyone! You all are rockstars! 🎸

Another cool thing about this book is that it’s set in the same world as All the Feels, and you see these references to Starveil, Spartan and those amazing fanfics from that novel! 😍 And while those mentions were nice, it kind of made it hard for me to like the new set of characters at first, because I kept on comparing them to characters from All the Feels. For instance, at first I thought that Laurent is no Xander, but by the end of the book, I was thinking,”Well, Xander sure is no Laurent!” And while Madi and Liv share a few similarities, I find Madi to be more assertive than Liv, and I love the strong relationship she has with her sister, Sarah.  Overall, once I got past seeing the characters through an All the Feels lens, I was championing them like nobody’s business! 😉

Well, that’s all I have to say about Internet Famous by Danika Stone! I really thought this novel was something! I recommend this to anyone looking for a cute contemporary with a modern romance as well as any fans of All the Feels! If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below! And for those of you who are interested, Internet Famous is out on June 6th, 2017! Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Down the TBR Hole 3

Hi, everybody! Welcome back to another Down the TBR Pile post, hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story. This meme is dedicated to uncluttering your TBR pile, going through each book and choosing which one should stay or go. So far, it’s actually been a really great way to sort through my TBR pile! Anyways, I’ll just cut to the chase and introduce this week’s titles! 😉

The books:

1.  Missing You (1-800-Where-Are-You) by Meg Cabot

missing-you.jpg

OMG! I cannot take this book off my TBR ever! Unless I read it, that is… I’ve always loved Meg Cabot’s books and Jess has got to be one of my favourite protagonists that she has written. I’ll try to get back into this series, even if I have to reread it again! 😀

The verdict: Keep

2. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

furthermore.jpg

In this case, I’m not sure… Honestly, I just put it on my TBR because it’s Tahereh Mafi, and I loved read the Shatter Me trilogy. I did read a sneak peek of the book, which made it intriguing, so maybe I’ll just keep it for now!

The verdict: Keep

3. Cashmere by Temple West

cashmere.jpg

This one’s definitely a go! It’s been a long time since I read the first book, which I wasn’t too invested in, excluding the last part…

The verdict: Go

 

4. Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

famous-in-love.jpg

From what I can tell, this book is right up my alley with the whole girl-becomes-a-star angle! I’m definitely keeping this! Hopefully I can read this before the adaptation on Freeform…

The verdict: Keep

5. A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter

a-mad-zombie-party

I remember really wanting to read this, especially after the conclusion of Queen of the Zombie Hearts. But now, I’m okay with letting that be the conclusion of the whole series, instead of rehashing that ending…

The verdict: Go

Well, that’s it for this week’s Down the TBR Pile! Are any of these books on your TBR pile as well? And if so, are you still interested in them? By the way, any thoughts about this week’s Down the TBR Pile are welcome in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone! 🙂

–  Sumaya

Which Cover Wednesday 58

Hello, fellow bloggers! It’s time for another Which Cover Wednesday! 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). And you can join in on the fun as well by commenting on your favourite covers in the section below. The covers for this week are:

1.  Something in Between by Melissa de le Cruz

something-in-between or something-in-between-3.jpg

I know I already reviewed covers of this title before, but I saw the cover that came out for the paperback version this week and couldn’t help but share it! Look at how pretty it looks with the purple haze, that sunset, the water, and those fireworks! 😊 It’s like the perfect photograph made into a cover! And I love it! I also like how the typography is simplistic and underwhelming in relation to the image.

2. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (English and Portuguese)

all-the-bright-places.jpg or all-the-bright-places-2

Even though both these covers look the same, I kind of like the second one more because of its brightness and cluttered mess. Yes, the first one has a blue background that I think stands out more than the white one. But it also looks a bit too organized for my taste, but that’s just me…

3. Poison Study by Maria V. Synder

poison-study.jpg or poison-study-2.jpg

In this case, I’d go with the first cover! The second cover seems generic to me, with the model centre stage in a nice dress with a forest background… But the first cover catches my eye with the architecture and the spiral staircase covering the model’s face (which allows readers to imagine the protagonist how they want to rather than battling their image of the protagonist with the cover’s). I like that both covers show a sense of movement, though… 🙂

4. Everybody Knows Your Name by Andrea Seigel and Brent Bradshaw (English and French)

everybody-knows-your-name.jpg or everybody-knows-your-name-2.jpg

This one’s a toughie. To be honest, I don’t really like either of them, but if I had to choose, I guess it’d be the first one, because it has more relation to the story’s plot than the second. That one looks like your run-of-the-mill Contemporary YA novel…

Well, that’s all for this week’s Which Cover Wednesday! Any of these covers make you want to pick up the book immediately? If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to share them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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