Review: The Poet X

Review: The Poet X

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Xiomara is the titular The Poet X who learns to find her voice in the pages of her journal, hidden from the world. Her passion and frustration grows in the pages of her notebook, reciting stories that must never leave the pages the ink drys on. But when she’s invited to her school’s slam poetry club, Xiomara decides to speak up in a world that doesn’t want to hear from her.

The Poet X follows Xiomara’s life as she tackles a world that works not in her favour. A world that doesn’t want to hear from her. The story tackles and addresses so many important topics. One of the main issues is sexual harassment and how victims of it are affected, especially from a young age like Xiomara. Another is how Xiomara grapples with living in a conservative household with religious parents. We follow Xiomara as she handles the shame, fear and confusion as she tries to fit in the boxes life had already decided for her.

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Monthly Rewind: July 2018

This is a very rushed Monthly Rewind post. I am so sick at the moment but I really, really wanted to post this. I didn’t read as much as I wanted to read this month because my sister was getting married so the last two week of July was just wedding mayhem. All I remember is running around and then falling off the stage! (Luckily the camera was on my sister the entire time.)

welcoming him to the family (via instagram)

B O O K S

monthlyrewind_july2018_books

Run, riot | The Gauntlet | American Panda | Tyler Johnson was Here | The Poet X | Honor Among Thieves 

M U S I C

monthlyrewind_july2018

That’s it for this month! Tell me what went on in YOUR life this month! What sort of things was important for you this month? New obsessions? New TV shows? Or book? Any new song recs (I’m always open to new music!)? Best books you read this month?

Review: Honor Among Thieves

Review: Honor Among Thieves

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

After getting into trouble, Zara Cole is surprising recruited into the Honors, a space program in which humans are carefully selected by a mysterious alien race who are formed like ships to explore the universe above and beyond humanity has ever gone. Zara takes the only chance that could save her life, but questions soon arise out of her presence on the elite program. And she quickly learns that space holds darker secrets than the ones back on earth.

I feel like this story grew on me. It took a while but certainly towards the end, it was much more enjoyable and exciting. There’s quite a lot of action as we watch Zara adapt to life in space and experience working with others. She’s used to watching her every step, not trusting the few she knows, now she’s trapped in space, relying on the help of her alien companion, Nadim, and human partner, Bea. I won’t say much about the central relation…ship. I’m not sure what is the best way to describe it, but it is very intense. These three has such a fantastic dynamic and were really engaging to watch them get to know each other. Bea is such an interesting secondary lead that I absolutely loved.

The cover and book description appeared to be a little different than what I actually read. It came across as having a Hunger Games vibe, especially in the beginnings, with how Zara is plucked from the ragtag areas of her city and propelled to Honor stardom felt like Katniss entering the Capitol.

Despite the slow start, there’s a lot of action in this series, and for the first in the series, I would say I’m interested in seeing how it will all play through. The world (or space) the authors have built is quite intriguing and appealing to read about. There’s a lot of questions I have to ask, but the ending definitely had me hooked. I think 3 stars suits the best for how  I feel about the book at the moment but I do believe this series has the potential to thrive in future books.


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Content warning: child abuse, violence, mass murder. (If you’ve read the series and felt like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

Review: The Gauntlet

Review: The Gauntlet

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Barely adjusting to her new home in the Upper East Side, Bangladeshi-American kid Farah finds herself sucked into the game of The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand after her younger brother, Ahmad, vanishes into the game. Alongside her friends, she must complete three challenges and failure to win will trap them- and Ahmad- forever.

I’ve been anticipating this book since Salaam Reads was first announced. And I can definitely confirm that this book was so worth the wait.

I really, really enjoyed the world building and game design. The way the story is mapped out is really brilliant. I hope to, maybe, see a graphic novel of this series somewhere down the line because of the Middle Eastern and South Asian influences Raizi had made a very dazzling and creative world. The way the world moves in pieces like a game was so pretty to imagine.

Farah is pretty headstrong and a loveable lead who is very aware of her own weaknesses. She’s constantly struggled with her want to ditch the challenge in search of her brother versus her need to navigate her and her friends out of the game. And she works alongside her friends to complete each challenge. Their friendship is very cute and they work well together, recognising each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They’re all very intuitive and logical in situations that would have me in tears. (ahah)

I think the only downside was the lack of characterisation for Essie and Alex. Farah’s character comes out really strongly and the other two do come across as being more archetypes rather than their own persons. Also, its cultural aspects were so adorable and great to read. While the world seems almost alien to her friends, Essie and Alex, Farah finds familiarity in it and so did I. I wished this book existed when I was a kid.

Overall, it’s a solid fantasy debut in an exciting game world. At its heart, a story of family and friendship, making it a great for any young readers.


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Review: American Panda

Review: American Panda

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

At seventeen, Mei is a freshman at MIT and on the road to complete her parent’s dreams for her: become a doctor, marry their preapproved suitor and continue their family line with children. Living in fear of being disowned like her older brother, Mei can’t seem to bring herself to tell her family her real dream lies with dance. Now she’s away from home and falling in love and learning the truth that could possibly shatter her future forever.

I’m not going to lie, I was surprised by how much I loved this book. I was genuinely thrown off by how much I ended up liking this. The narrative was so compelling as we watch Mei struggle with her overbearing parents and how cultural differences clash with what she wants to achieve – I really enjoyed the emphasis on the issue not being with cultural differences but how her parents use it to put their happiness over Mei’s. Even though Mei as a character and myself are worlds apart, I found her journey so relatable and it had me in tears at so many moments.

Honestly, Mei’s development was one of the best parts of this entire novel. We watch her try to struggle between being a good daughter while also wanting to follow her dreams and you get caught up very quickly in her emotions. She starts off as a sheltered kid who does her best to keep up with her parent’s expectation to slowly learning that it’s okay to not be the perfect image she’s expected to upkeep. And she slowly learns to get rid of the initial stereotypes she holds over other. Chao does an excellent job of portraying the drama between her and her family, which was so heartbreaking to read. Mei’s mother took a long time to grow on her, but you honestly develop a sense of appreciation for her, especially towards the end of the book and how the very same family issues and cultural values that affect Mei has had an impact on her.

The background characters all have my heart. And I loved how Mei’s personal development with all of them ended so happily. Especially with Darren and Nicolette.

Overall, Chao’s debut novel is a hit for me. It was such an emotional rollercoaster and a profoundly personal read that I recommend to anyone.


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Content warning: ableist language, fat-antagonism, the death of a family member and mentions of suicide. (If you’ve read the book and felt like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)

Review: Run, Riot

Review: Run, Riot

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

After Taran’s twin brother witnesses a murder, it suddenly becomes a giant game of cat and mouse in their tower block. Them vs the police. Them vs everyone else. Hari and her friends soon learn there’s something else happening in the estate, something that will uproot from everything they knew.

Run, Riot tackles some pretty important topics. Racism, police brutality, corruption and gentrification. It has the makings of being a very compelling book. It was fascinating to read this fast-paced story as these group of kids face these moments of injustice from the very people who are meant to protect them. One death leads to the breakdown of an entire community and exposes a trail of corruption that goes further than anyone expected. I really enjoy how the narrative played how, a minute by minute account of events, over a twenty-four-hour time lapse, with moments of flashbacks. I could definitely see this on TV.

I’m actually struggling to put into words what I didn’t like about this book. I just didn’t connect with the characters nor plot. It just felt bland, and many moments were just so dull to read. It’s not as adrenaline-fuelled you would think it would be. Which was a real shame because I actually enjoy its concept and plot, but I was actually really disappointed in its execution. The plot was gripping, its characters genuinely fascinating to read about but the whole book just didn’t work for me. Which really frustrated me because I was enjoying this and I wanted it to be better, but it wasn’t.

Overall, an interesting read about a group of teens standing up and speaking up for what they believe in. Personally, I think my dislike of this is just from my own personal reading experience/taste, but I still think it’s a book that a lot of people will enjoy, hopefully much more than I did.


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