Mini-review: Soft on Soft and Women of Resistance

Mini-review: Soft on Soft and Women of Resistance

41212987Soft on Soft by Em Ali

Rating: ★★★☆☆(3/5)

June Bana is a growing make up artist whose looks are gaining traction by the day on social media. But to June, the real her is a quiet homebody and lives a life less eventful than the pictures on her feed. Then she meets Selena Clarke, drop dead gorgeous model, who loves June for who she is.

A soft sweet tale of two women learning each other and falling in love. A rapid contemporary read with little to none conflict. This title is very fitting. Soft on Soft is precisely what you get. This story centres two women of colour falling in love. The writing is simple and easy to follow. Pop culture references abound!

Its uneventful plot makes a bit tricky to read since you can hardly tell what is going on at the moment. I don’t expect something tragic to happen to make it interesting, but something a little more eventful would’ve improved the pacing a lot.

Overall, there’s something to love in this. Em Ali has a bright future in of them. I know I’ll read more.

UPDATE: Purchase links for Soft on Soft are not currently available as the author has taken them offline for further edits. I will upload a longer review once it’s available. 

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Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism – Edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
when a girl pronounces her own name
there is glorywhen a woman tells her own life story
she lives forever

A feminist poetry collection that discusses race, gender identity and sexuality. I really enjoyed the variety of poetry styles that each contributor used. There’s a variety in content and form. I am not sure each piece is beautiful and exciting. The collection encompasses the works of a diverse range of poets who I’ll definitely want to check out. I don’t read that much poetry, but this collection of works from such inspiring people was indeed a hidden gem. 

I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected by opinions of the book.


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Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

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

The Miseducation of Cameron Post begins at the end of her parent’s life. Cameron is relieved because now they’ll never know she had a kissed a girl. But the struggle doesn’t end there, we follow Cameron from the ages of 12 and as she grows to 16. Life is different, but Cameron is an expert at blending in. Until she meets Coley Taylor. And then one thing leads to another, and Cameron’s forced to join a conversion camp by her ultrareligious Aunt to “fix” herself.

This was a very detailed and passionate read. The story shifts with its array of characters, each vibrant and different from one another. The story starts off with a summer fling, a more happier vibe, where everything seems to be going well. Until it takes a dark turn and punches you straight in the stomach. While I didn’t find it emotional, but nonetheless, it was difficult.

For me, there are two parts to this story. The first is Cameron coming to terms with her sexuality and learning who she is. The second is where its all ripped away from her, and she’s forced to join a conversion camp. There’s a middle lull in this book where nothing really seems to happen. And this is where, from other reviews, everyone seems to drop off from the book. I’m not going to lie, even my interest started to falter after a few chapters but I held on and I’m glad I did, but I don’t expect anyone to force themselves through a book they find slow.

I can’t speak for certain rep in the book, like the Native American rep. I’ll link to this post that speaks on it much better. There’s a lot of language that’s quite negative towards Native Americans and very ableist so watch out for that.

Overall, Cameron Post was an intriguing read, while I didn’t love it, the story is important.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR 

Content warning: ableism, anti-Indigenous language, use of multiple slurs (f*g, d*ke etc.), lesbophobia, sex scenes, a lesbian character being outed, underage drinking, conversion therapy, self-harm with a suicide attempt that is graphically described. (TO BE ADDED)

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Years after making herself a household name, Evelyn Hugo is ready, to tell the truth about her rise to fame and what she’s done, and lost, to get there. But she’s shaking the journalism community by plucking unknown Monique Grant to write her story. But Monique is listening as Evelyn begins her tale in the cutthroat world that was Old Hollywood and the stories of her seven husbands along the way.

I am starstruck, honestly. This book isn’t my usual go-to read, but after hearing everyone talking about this, I knew I couldn’t miss this out. And I’m glad I didn’t. Seven Husbands indeed one of the best books I’ve read this year. I wasn’t expecting much because I hadn’t heard much about this book apart from “read it now”. It was a compelling read about race, sexuality, misogyny and how you shouldn’t use your short time on earth being someone you’re not.

Evelyn recalls her life to unknown journalist Monique Grant, starting from her roots: losing her mother and marrying a man (husband number one) to leave her the dead end city and into Hollywood to make her name with the stars. Evelyn is unapologetic and cunning. She learns to play the game and uses everything she can to prove herself. She’s her own saviour in a world that wants nothing more to do with her. I was so in love with her story. The story explores her Cuban heritage and bisexuality. And it is phenomenal. The writing and pacing are impeccable and had my heart racing with every page. This book really surprised me. Rarely do books steal my heart so quickly and within the first chapter.

Monique, in my opinion, was sorely underutilised. It’s not her fault that Evelyn’s story was so overpowering that it literally takes all your attention but a second read through is needed to appreciate her again. She’s an unknown journalist requested to write the biography of Hollywood’s greatest star. And she has no clue as to why she’s chosen. There are breaks between Evelyn’s chapters where we follow Monique as she processes what she learns from Evelyn and later we learn the bombshell in how she connects to the story.

Overall, this was an incredibly well-written story and an utterly brilliant novel. Honestly, if you’re in need of a new read, make sure to pick this one up.


GOODREADS| AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY | AUTHOR

Content warning: the death of a loved one, mentions of suicide and miscarriage, unhealthy eating, abortion, domestic abuse, cheating, homophobia, biphobia, alcoholism. (If you’ve read this book and felt like I’ve missed something out, please, inform me.)

 

Book Review: Skylarks

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

Skylarks is about the life of Joni after a wealthy company buys out her family estate, slowly forcing its working-class tenants to leave so that they can make more money. Joni slowly joins the grassroots campaign to reclaim their home. While working at her part-time job at the library, she meets Annabel, a girl who comes from an upper-class conservative background. They clash a lot in the beginning until they slowly find a middle ground with each other, while Joni struggles to keep her family together. It is quite a heartwarming story that touches on poverty, class divide, grassroots projects and inequality.

However, I didn’t really enjoy this as much as I thought I would. It was quite irritating to read, there were odd moments that felt jumpy, with moments that dragged onto long, and I just felt impatient reading this. The plot’s good, just not engaging enough. Joni and Annabel were cute though, I like that they bounced off each other and learnt a lot from each other.

There is also a scene were Joni is very ableist. She’s rightly upset that her father is not receiving the benefits he needs, but she points the finger to her next door neighbour and says that they get more even though she looked well. This was quite horrible to read and it isn’t challenged in the novel. Joni also accidentally outs Annabel to her father due to a misunderstanding and while Joni acknowledges her mistake, it’s quickly brushed off because her father is already aware and then, again, quickly forgotten about.

Overall, a novel about the conflict of wealth and social class while two girls fall in love. It was quite pleasing to read, but I did find it dull in some moments.


GOODREADS | WATERSTONES | AUTHOR

Trigger/Content Warnings: Classism, ableism. If you’ve read this and feel like I missed something out, tell me!

 

Backlog reviews #1

These are all reviews of books I had received during my semi-hiatus but I found it too late or not enough time to post a full review of them. (excluding WITCH because I’m not good at reviewing poetry so I kept it short and placed it in here)

I received an ARC of each book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The witch doesn’t burn in this one, Amanda Lovelace | a witchy poetry sequel – ★ ★ ★ – WITCH is the sequel to PRINCESS. It’s short, a little repetitive in my opinion, but very good. Although I’m no longer a fan of this poetry style and though I enjoyed the first collection more, WITCH is a decent second instalment with a newer empowering selection of poetry.

27 hours, Tristina Wright | distant sci-fi adventure where a group of teens have only hours to save their home – ★ ★ ★ – I’m quite in the middle with this book. There were select moments which were quite thrilling but then I found myself quite bored a lot of the time, especially with its world-building. Aimal says it much better than I could ever about its colonialism issue. (Also, I suggest you follow her – her blog is great) I don’t intend to read its sequel but its cliff-hanger ending that peaked my interest – will depend on future reviews of the sequel.

Love, hate and other filters, Samira Ahmed | an aspiring filmmaker faces conflicting choices in the face of a terror attack – ★ ★ ★ – An interesting read, I enjoyed the focus on her conflicting identity as Maya deals with family, education and her future. There’s important dialogue within the story, the romance is really cute but the plot didn’t grip me as much as I thought it would.

I Am Thunder, Mohammad Khan | A story of a young teen being pulled into extremism. – ★ ★ – The overall plot and concept were great. You witness how Muzna is swept along unknowingly into a dangerous lifestyle through manipulation and grooming. I just didn’t enjoy the character voice and the pacing was a bit off.

God, Reza Aslan | a human look of the account of God – ★ ★ ★ – Aslan studies the human development between of the relationship between God and man and it’s very fascinating. A non-scientific approach with an interesting analysis that actually made me want to learn more. I hope I find the chance to read on this later.

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Book Review: They Both Die At The End

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Just minutes after midnight, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio receive their Death-Cast calls: they are going to die today. Despite being total strangers, they find themselves meeting each other and having one final adventure on their last day ever.

Can you believe he spoils the ending with the title and I still found myself a total wreck by the end? I have not read any single Adam Silvera book before reading this, but if they’re all as gut-wrenching and amazing as this: count me in.

The concept is so fantastic and Silvera has created such an inventive, alternate world.  It’s very character-driven as the book encompasses a whole day in the life of two teens as they go around whatever they want. Mateo’s introverted, while Rufus is more outgoing, but both use this day to truly be themselves without the fear of judgement because, hey, they’re dying today.

They visit their favourite food places, close friends and visiting Mateo’s dad in the hospital. It’s packed with moments of emotions and first experiences. The plot was very sweet and sentimental. They’re very empathetic characters which such different personalities but somehow connect and spend the day working together to have a fulfilling ‘Last Day’. At its core, it’s basically a message of carpe diem but it plays out in such an interesting way

One of my favourite parts was the inclusion of other character’s perspective. When I first saw it, I wasn’t too sure of it since most of the time, it never works. But here it did. In between the main story, we get a brief glimpse into the lives of many other characters. Even though they aren’t central to the main story, it shows how the actions of other people are connected to plot in some way.

To be honest, I don’t have many criticisms aside from the technicality of Death-cast and the one-day love story. I would ignore this if I was you guys, I’m just being technical. You’re called on your mobile that you’re doing to die that day but what if you don’t have a phone? Does some scary man knock on your door at midnight and be like ‘so ya, you’re gonna die today?’ Or maybe the universe is set up in a way that everyone has one but just doesn’t seem plausible. Also, I’m just very sceptical of one-day love stories, maybe it was all for plot’s sake, though, but I loved their story, nonetheless.

Overall, it’s easily one of my favourite books this year. It’s so great and I definitely need to bump Silvera’s books up my reading list. I would recommend this one to anyone!


GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY |

tw: death of LGBTQIA+ characters, anxiety, mentions of suicide (if you’ve read the book and feel like I’ve missed something out, please tell me!)