The Sun is Also a Star

Do you like book to movie adaptations? I love seeing my favorite books come to life on the big screen (if they’re done right). Although I watched the movie first while I was waiting on the book to come in off hold, I finally read it!

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: YA Contemporary

Rating: 3 stars

Representation: Natasha is Jamaican and Daniel is Korean

 

Natasha doesn’t believe in love. And she especially doesn’t believe that Daniel, a total stranger, can make her fall in love with him in only one day. But since she’s being deported back to Jamaica tomorrow, she doesn’t see any harm in it. What Natasha doesn’t know is just how much that one day will mean to both her and Daniel.

I’m not a big fan of insta-love which is the premise of this book, but Yoon puts Natasha and Daniel in enough significant and cute moments that I didn’t totally mind it. Although they aren’t my favorite couple, I do like how they stick up for each other and push each other to be better versions of themselves. I think with enough time they could’ve been a really good couple, but in a way, I think their relationship means more since they only got a day.

One of my favorite parts was the family dynamic. There are plenty of YA books with parents who expect their children to be overachievers, but I think the balance between Daniel’s tough parents and Natasha’s distant ones provided the book a good balance. This also shaped each character’s worldview which I enjoyed seeing played out in their actions.

I also liked how we got to see a glimpse into some of the side character’s lives. I think this provided a good background for their side of the story, and it also made me think about how everyone I meet has a story of their own.

One of the themes of the book is fate, but I think the book relied too much on consequences for the different times that Daniel and Natasha met and some of the other plot points. While I’m willing to accept a few coincidences, I found a book that relied so heavily on them to be unrealistic.

Overall, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon was a sweet love story that showed the importance of seizing every day that you have, but the execution didn’t complete work for me.

 

What is one of your favorite tropes? I’m a sucker for fake dating and enemies to lovers. Until next time, happy reading!

 

Reverie

Greetings, friends! Welcome back to the revival of my blog, where I plan to post one book review a week. If you’ve read any of the books that I mention, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts!

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Reverie by Ryan La Sala: YA Magical Realism

Rating: 2/5

Representation: Kane is gay

 

Kane has no memory of the past – which is a problem because he is being charged by the police for destroying one of the town’s oldest landmarks. With the help of some “newfound” friends, Kane begins to unravel the truth of his past, something that is more complicated than he ever realized.

I had high hopes for this book: the cover is gorgeous and Inception is one of my favorite movies, but unfortunately, this book didn’t work for me. First, the characters were extremely one dimensional, and I didn’t connect with any of them. Kane was whiny the whole book, and when his memory was wiped, some of his intelligence must have gone too. There were tasks that he needed to do inside the reveries (like clapping) that seemed too hard for him to do. I couldn’t figure out any of the character’s desires in life and what they were willing to do to accomplish it.

Additionally, the villain was so nonthreatening that I was never scared for the characters at the climax. Posey seemed to appear out of nowhere, show up at random times, and I have no idea why she chose this set of kids over any other. I thought it was cool that she was a drag queen, but I think a lot more could have been done with her (and all of the other characters) to make this a more interesting book.

The reveries seemed like a cool concept, and they were probably my favorite part of the book, but I often had a hard time imagining them and knowing what the consequences would be for all the characters if they didn’t unravel it. I would have preferred it if Kane and his friends had spent more time in the reveries and their purpose had been a little more fleshed out.

Finally, some of the plot points seem very illogical: at one point Kane ends up in space, and he’s not at all worried about how he’s going to get safely back to earth or the fact that his boyfriend’s powers don’t work in space (so they just have sex instead). While I know this is fantasy, I felt like this was too far left field for me to find plausible.

Overall, Reverie had potential but underdeveloped plot and characters left this book lacking in my opinion. While there is a diverse cast, none of them were very interesting and I had a hard time relating to them. While some might enjoy this book, it was not the one for me.

 

Have you had any disappointing reads so far this year? If so, let me know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!

Tweet Cute Review

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Hello, dear readers! I’m so excited to announce that I am a part of the blog tour for Emma Lord’s debut novel, Tweet Cute, an adorable romance between two rival teenagers as they engage in a Twitter battle to support their respective family restaurants. I had such a great time reading this book, and I am grateful to everyone at Wednesday Books for giving me this opportunity.

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Tweet Cute by Emma Lord: YA Contemporary

Release Date: Today!

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. 

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time. 

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built. 

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected (taken from jacket copy provided by the publisher). 

I love a good meet-cute, and I was smiling so much while I read this book! Pepper and Jack are such dynamic, unique characters on their own, and once they start spending time together, they ooze adorableness! They are also supportive of each other and the other character’s family business. They want to see each other succeed and thrive, even if that goes against what their parents want for them.

I also enjoyed how Pepper and Jack had goals they were striving towards, both academically and within their personal lives. Emma Lord did such a good job of showing what they were willing to do to achieve their goals and what obstacles got in their way. Pepper and Jack were both such well rounded characters, that I know I could be friends with them, eating grilled cheese and laughing at their jokes.

The family dynamics were also a strong part of Tweet Cute, and it was refreshing to see a strong family presence in YA. Neither Pepper or Jack’s families are perfect, and because of this, the book had some great tension. Each character felt the pressure of their families expectations on them, and I appreciated both Pepper and Jack trying to honor their family’s wishes while still being their own person and following their dreams.

Emma Lord’s writing style was also so enjoyable! I felt like I was not only immersed into Pepper and Jack’s conflict on Twitter and their relationship IRL, but also into New York City and their school. I always had a clear image in my mind of what was happening and now I want to visit NYC again!

Overall, Tweet Cute by Emma Lord was such a fun read, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves a swoony romance that celebrates the joys of food and the importance of family.

 

Thank you again to everyone at Wednesday books for allowing me to read Tweet Cute early and be a part of this blog tour! You can buy the book at any major retailer or at Macmillan’s website. And if you need some joy on your Twitter or Instagram feed, I’d highly recommend following Emma Lord: @dilemmalord. Her tweets are always so funny, and I love her enthusiasm for Taco Bell and TSwift! 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first of many reviews, and I can’t wait to share with you the other books I’ve been reading lately. Until next time, happy reading!

 

Greetings!

Hello, fellow readers! I have finally finished my Master’s degree (yay!) which means that I have much more free time to pursue other interests. One of my goals this year is to post reviews more consistently, and I have a very exciting one planned for tomorrow, so stay tuned!

I hope all of you have a great year of reading, and I’m excited for all the new stories that I’ll experience this year. Until tomorrow, happy reading!

The Crown’s Game

Besides England, Russia is one of my favorite countries. I love the architecture and I was fascinated by the Romanov’s when I was in middle school. This book has been on my TBR for years, and I finally got around to listening to it.

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THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye: YA Historical Fantasy

Rating: 2.5 stars

 

Nikolai and Vika are one of the last magician’s in 19th-century Russia and the time has come for them to compete for a chance to be the tsar’s imperial enchanter, a highly coveted position. One player will be victorious and the other one dead. But when each contestant begins falling in love with other, neither of them wants to win the game and kill the other. Whose magic will prevail?

I liked the magic system in this book. I found it interesting what both Nikolai and Vika could build with their magic and I waited to see how they improved different parts of the city. I also liked the character’s friendships with each other, especially Nikolai and Pasha. They were so different, yet they complemented each other so well that they were the perfect friends.

Sadly, this book was a disappointment. While there were some good elements, the plot dragged slowly on and I couldn’t wait to finish the book. While I liked the fact that one of the characters would have to die so that the game could be won, and I didn’t want either character to die, there wasn’t enough conflict in the book to keep me engaged.

Also, the romance between Nikolai and Vika was so pointless and I can’t remember how it happened. They just seemed to realize that the other one had magic and then decided that they loved each other. The romance was such a significant part of the book that it would have been much shorter without it, but I think there could have more character development and exploration of the magic system.

I liked the ending and the different paths that the characters took, but I didn’t like the book enough to want to read the sequel. I wish I had liked this book, but it fell flat for me. There wasn’t enough of the magic and the game to keep me engaged.

 

What’s one of your favorite time periods to read about? I’ve recently been loving books set in Old Hollywood (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) and Old New York (City of Girls). Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

Serpent & Dove

One of my favorite tropes is enemy to lovers, and this debut novel delivers a beautifully written story with such strong characters that I had to keep reading!

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SERPENT & DOVE by Shelby Mahurin: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

 

Lou is a witch and proud of it. She’s making her own way in the world and with her two best friends to rely on, she’s good. Reid is a witch hunter and proud of it. He’ll do whatever it takes to track down witches and prove his worth to his benefactor. When Lou and Reid are forced into marriage, Lou must keep her identity hidden or risk being burned at the stake by her own husband.

This book was so fun to read! Lou and Reid are such great characters by themselves and when put together, they are such a dynamic duo that kept me wanting to flip the pages. Lou is a fiery character who doesn’t take no from anyone but is fiercely loyal to those she loves. Reid is also loyal to his benefactor, the Archbishop, who took him in as an orphan and wants nothing more than to do his duty. I loved Lou and Reid’s banter at the beginning when they still hated each other and were discovering who the other one was. Once they started liking each other, their relationship was swoony, and I loved how much far they were willing to go for each other.

The plot was also very fast paced and kept me engaged for the whole book (and it’s a big one!). I was never bored and there were so many twists and turns that I was guessing to the very end. The ending was intense, but I loved how dangerous a situation all the characters were in and the sacrifices that would have to be made in order to secure a victory.

I also liked how many complicated relationships there were with a variety of characters. Everyone had ghosts in their past that they were trying to avoid and eventually had to face head on. This created a lot of good tension and made the story even more interesting. I can’t wait to see what skeletons will be dug up in the next book!

The only part I didn’t like was the switch from Lou and Reid hating each other to loving each other. Although I love the enemies to lovers trope, I need to see evidence of their love, liking doing nice things for each other or standing up for each other, and I didn’t see that in Lou and Reid. I like their romance, but there was no solid foundation for them to build their love on.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed SERPENT AND DOVE by Shelby Mahurin and can’t wait for the sequel!

 

What is one of your favorite tropes? Besides enemies to lovers, I really love fake dating. Until next time, happy reading!

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik

I randomly found this audiobook on Libby, and I was surprised at how much I loved it! The narrator (Michael Crouch) is one of my favorites, and I recommend listening to anything that he narrates!

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THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold: YA Contemporary

Rating: 4 stars

Representation: Alan is gay and him and his sister are Hispanic

 

Noah lives a normal life: he has great friends, he loves Bowie, and he’s recovering from a (possibly fake) back injury. But when he meets a stranger at a party, his life is turned upside down and nothing is as it seems. Will Noah be able to determine what is reality before he loses his mind?

This book was a trip! I knew nothing going into it and I’m glad that I didn’t. For starters, the writing is beautiful. David Arnold has such a way with words that left me wishing that I could write like that. His descriptions are luscious but not overdone and there were so many good quotes that it’s hard to choose my favorite. I was totally immersed in the story and I was sad when it was over.

I also loved how well developed the characters were, even the side characters like Noah’s friends Alan and Val and his sister. They each had their own quirks that made them unique and make them stick out in my head, even after finishing it a month ago. The characters also had such great chemistry with each other that as they were fighting, each character was being developed in their own way. I also love Noah’s devotion to his friends and sister. Although they get on his nerves, he will do anything for them. He has an empathetic nature that left me wishing that we could be friends.

I don’t want to say too much about the ending, but I was shocked, and it was totally worth reading to the end. I can’t think of too many books with such a freaky ending, and it is one that I will remember for a long time to come.

Overall, THE STRANGE FASCINATIONS OF NOAH HYPNOTIK by David Arnold is a delightful book that had me rooting for the characters, feeling pain at their struggles, and anxious to see where their journey would take them. If you’re looking for a book that shock you until the very end, this one is for you!

 

How do you feel about twist endings? I love being surprised while reading a book, and as long as the plot twist isn’t too far out there, I’m game. Until next time, happy reading!

Good Omens

I know that you should read the book before you watch an adaption, but I am the worst at doing the opposite! But I really enjoyed Amazon Prime’s adaption of Good Omens and I was excited when my library added it to the collection!

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GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman: Adult Magical Realism/ Satire

Rating: 4 stars

The end of the world is coming. Which to Heaven and Hell is the climax of everything they’ve been working towards for thousands of years. But to Demon Crowley and Angel Aziraphale, it means the end of a good life and independence from their respective bosses. So they try to influence the anti-Christ to be good, which goes horribly wrong and the world is still set to end on an otherwise calm Saturday.

I had a great time reading this book! There were so many funny moments and the characters were great to read about. Honestly, I could have had a whole book of just Crowley and Aziraphale and I would’ve been happy. While I liked the parts of the book with the other characters, I was waiting to get back to them two.

I loved how multi-dimensional the book was. While there were three main plot threads (Crowley and Aziraphale, Adam and his friends, and Anathema and Newton) all the stories were well developed and meshed well together. I think having all these story lines within the same book allowed the authors to explore more aspects of the apocalypse and include more humor and satire. While all of these threads could be confusing, I think by watching the show first, I had a good grasp on what the story was about. In fact, a lot of the dialogue from the show is verbatim from the book. If you are struggling to understand the book, then I would recommend watching the show first to understand what is going on.

Finally, I think the satire makes the book as good as it is. Without the humor, I think this would be a dry book about the apocalypse that would be too long and dense. But the humor lightens the mood and makes the somewhat boring topic more enjoyable.

Overall, if you are looking for something funny to read, I would definitely recommend GOOD OMENS by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. And if you are interested in the show here’s the trailer.

 

Will you read a book after you watch the movie adaptation? I like being able to know what the characters look like even though if I had read the book first, they would look much different in my head. Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

How to Stop Time

Hello, readers! Sorry I haven’t posted for the past couple weeks. I have been busy with school and being exhausted all the time so I haven’t had the motivation to write. But I’m back and ready to talk about some books!

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HOW TO STOP TIME by Matt Haig: Adult Science Fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Tom has seen a lot in his life: he’s been alive for more than 400 years. Set in various time periods, this book follows Tom as he finds love, grapples with the effects of his illness, and fears the time agency that he works for. With danger lurking in the background and centuries worth of memories weighing him down, will Tom be able to live a normal life?

I am a sucker for anything time travel, and while Tom doesn’t travel “back” in time, I do enjoy seeing him live throughout different periods of history and meet different figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Shakespeare. I thought the flashbacks worked well and gave me a better sense of who Tom was as a person while not being confusing. Although Tom hasn’t led the most interesting life, I liked seeing how he adapted to each new time period.

The tension did seem to build throughout the book, and even when the plot was focused more on Tom’s family, there was always a looming danger in the background. I didn’t find the villain terribly evil or daunting, and honestly, I think Tom could have taken down someone as old as Hendrich. I liked how the ending resolved, but it seemed like it took forever to get there. However, I think Tom did have some good development throughout the book. In the beginning, he ran away from his family (to protect them, but still). While at the end, he was ready to fight any obstacles that came his way with the person he loves next to him.

I wish I could’ve given this book a higher rating because this is a concept that is right up my alley, but I found the execution to be lacking. I found a lot of the plot boring and I couldn’t connect with the characters well. I could be misremembering, but Hendrich didn’t seem to be holding anything over Tom except finding his daughter, so it didn’t make much sense why Tom didn’t leave the Albatross Society and pursue his own leads.

This is a slow paced novel that takes its time developing the plot, characters, and resolution. While it’s not a bad book and there are aspects of it that can be appreciated, overall I found it to be dry and I wanted more action.

 

Do you like time travel books/ shows? I haven’t found any books that I absolutely love, but I am a big fan of Doctor Who and Forever. Until next time, happy reading!

House of Salt and Sorrows

I love fairy tales, and since this book was blurbed by Stephanie Garber, one of my favorite authors, I knew that I had to read it. And the cover is to die for!

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HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS by Erin A. Craig: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

Annaleigh has eleven sisters, although three of them have mysteriously died. Some say their family is cursed, but she thinks that something more sinister is at hand. With her world falling apart, will Annaleigh be able to hold onto reality and figure out what really happened to her sisters?

I’m not very familiar with the twelve dancing princesses story, but I liked this twist on it! All of the sisters had such a great dynamic with everyone else and I could really tell how much they loved each other. Some of the sisters blurred together in my mind because there were so many of them, but I thought the large cast was handled well.

I also really liked the boys in this book! They were swoony and mischievous and chivalrous and everything I could want from a YA character. The relationships definitely weren’t the favorite I’ve read about, but they were satisfying in the moment.

The plot was also crazy! I never knew where it was going next and I was constantly surprised by what was happening. Thankfully, I never felt any whiplash from the constant jerks, but I was always wanting to know what happened next. If you like plot twists, this is the book for you!

The ending was a bit weird, and while it wasn’t what I was expecting, I think it was a satisfying conclusion. I liked the path that the different characters took at the very end of the book. I think they were each a good representation of who each person was as a character, and I was happy for all of them.

Overall, HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS by Erin A. Craig is a good fantasy that will keep you on your toes and always surprise you. If you love fairy tale retellings, this is the book for you!

 

What is your favorite fairy tale? I love Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Robin Hood, and Merlin, although I haven’t read too many retellings. Until next time, happy reading!