Book Review: The Blazing Star

Book Review: The Blazing Star

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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

After finding themselves stranded in Ancient Egypt with no way out, Portia, alongside her sister and freshman Selene must navigate their way to safety. But the trio discover their appearance is anything but random.

It took me a while to finish this book, due to my massive book slump during the exam period. Luckily, I did finish it in the end and I’m glad my lack of desire to read didn’t affect my opinion on this book massively. To start, the book’s introduction was incredibly difficult to get through. To be honest, I found it rather dull. At first, their introduction didn’t really hook me in. The character of Selene was a big question mark until you learn what her part is in the novel. At the beginning, the only thing kept me going was the fact Portia and Alex were twins. However, it started to changed once they actually made it to Egypt. Trust me when I say staying put with this book was worth it.

Being a twin, I’m always a bit biased towards twin books and Blazing Star follows the similar pattern most YA novels do. One twin struggles with her own identity while under the shadow of their overachieving sibling. But the location makes it different and interesting, we mainly watch Portia learn to accept herself but it lacks in the twin dynamic since they’re mainly apart for most of the novel. Since it’s very character driven, Portia grabs your attention as she evolves from an insecure person to a stronger and more self-assured character.

The book’s strength lies in its location, its description of the city, its people and culture. I particularly liked how everything is introduced into every interaction, you definitely feel Portia’s exasperation as we learn everything about Egypt as Portia does. I feel like there should’ve been more of a contrast between the language. They speak a lot in slang and feel like no one questions it as much as they should. It could’ve added greater tension between the two different groups. Sometimes the girls from the present speak in ways that didn’t seem fitting or wouldn’t have been understandable to someone from Ancient Egypt however, I brushed that off quite quickly since, maybe, writing wise, it’s easier.

The main problem with this book was its pacing. It was just so slow! It takes a while for the premise to finally kick in and towards the end, it truly delivers. It’s a shame that I can tell many people will be put off by this and will fail to see a truly decent book by the end. The ending ends on such a good cliffhanger, I definitely need the sequel since I know it will be better now that we’re past the introduction. I still enjoyed it despite its flaws, but I will anticipate anything Imani Josey will do with this series and any future novels she will write.

Overall, structurally and pace-wise, THE BLAZING STAR could’ve been better but definitely look into this if you love fantasy and time-travel. It was, towards the end, a truly fun and diverse read.


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Images and graphic are attributed to MediaLoot.com. Cover source: Goodreads.com
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Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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

When her supposed best friend snitches on her, Julia finds herself expelled and stuck in a mainstream school who aren’t kind to the only Deaf girl there. The only thing she takes with her is her paints and Julia tags wherever she can. But someone is adding to them and a graffiti war is the last thing she thought she’d find herself in.

The last book I read with Deaf characters was Soundless by Richelle Mead and just comparing these two you tell the difference of research that went into the portrayal of Deaf characters. YWU depicts Deaf culture; the way she texts, how ASL is, in fact, a language not an extension of English, the typical experiences a deaf student faces when in a majority hearing school. We’re shown her lifestyle and it’s not just a case of simply replacing said/says with signed. (I did have a review from a Deaf reader to put in here but the links I had are no longer available)

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Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

Rating: ★★★★☆

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

Set in Washington, D.C., THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED follows the summer story of 17-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso, who has had 26 unrequited crushes (and counting!). Molly considers herself the opposite of her fraternal twin sister, Cassie. But things begin to change when Cassie gets a new girlfriend who comes with a new possible boyfriend for Molly. But Molly might have co-worker, Reid, in her mind instead.

I think if I had to sum up this one book in one word it would be cute. The Upside is the second book from Simon vs. author Becky Albertalli and it’s just as fun and adorable as its predecessor. If you loved the humor and pace of Simon vs., you’ll definitely get the same feeling from The Upside. Similar to Simon Vs., Becky’s writing is simple and easy, everything is kept light and hilarious.

Unrequited is about different relationships, while focused on romance, it also includes familial ones and Molly is, easily, a relatable lead. She’s super cute and witty, I found myself rooting her from the very beginning. Becky Albertalli knows how to write awkward moments and happy scenes that create true-to-life scenarios that make this cast of characters feel so real.

Speaking of the cast of characters, rarely do I read a book where I would happily read a novel of each separate characters. From Molly’s mothers, who are strict and loving while they might not get it all the time, they’re clearly caring parents who will do anything for their children to dorky Reid, short stories of just him working in his parents’ store would make me happy. Looking back at the story now, I’ve realised how much Becky has packed into this novel but it never once felt overwhelming. It all felt natural following Molly’s story, but also her sister’s and her friends and family.

I think what got me the most was the fat representation in this book. I loved it and I saw myself in it. While I didn’t personally relate 100% when Molly spoke about her crushes but when it came to her body image, I could relate so much.

Overall, The Upside of Unrequited is a fun and enjoyable read, dealing with multiple issues faced by teenagers and portrays them in such a positive way.


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Book Review: Dreadnought

Book Review: Dreadnought

Rating: ★★★★☆

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

In a world where superheroes and villains are a regular occurrence, Danny finds herself being the passed the power of Dreadnought when he falls out of the sky and dies right in front of her. The side effects of this transform Danny’s body into what she thought it should be. To Danny, she now looks like the girl she knows she is even if everyone around her says otherwise. Dreadnought is her origin story which follows her first few weeks of superhero living. While trying to juggle her new life, she’s also trying to find the old Dreadnought’s murderer, who is still threatening the streets of New Port City.

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Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Book Review: God Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems

Rating: ★★★★☆

Received an e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the author

When going on a walk with her crush, Michael, Asiya accidently stumbles across a dead body. Knowing that telling the police means revealing to her strict parents that she was with him, Michael covers for her but then goes missing himself. All the evidence points towards Michael but Asiya is sure he’s innocent and is willing to risk everything to help Michael.

This review is painful to write because I literally don’t know what else to say except that I loved this. It was such a fun read. All Asiya wants is a normal life but she’s thrust into a murder mystery and has to use her wits to navigate her way through the investigation. It was such a fun and comical read. And serious at times, especially when Asiya begins to doubt Michael’s innocence. And I really enjoyed the character of Asiya: she’s a head strong lead and her faith and determination drives her to do good, even if she shouldn’t be doing much of the things she does.

Even the attempt of bringing South Asian and Muslim problems forefront was good and done so well. (Asiya and her family are Bangladeshi and anytime I see a Bangladeshi character I immediately go  (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ ) Solving a murder is hard and Asiya struggles with it a lot, especially since she doesn’t want to disappoint her family so she has to work around her family and community. She mentions the inconsistency of her community that allows boys more freedom and their gossiping nature that spreads like wildfire. I hope in the sequel we see Asiya use that to her advantage, like asking her brother to help and do something that she would’ve been easily caught doing but not him.

God Smites is an enjoyable book. I turned every page and I immediately was like “this is so me!” I kind of related more to her younger brother: he just wants to play video games and struggles to pass Maths which is literally my entire educational experience.  I’m also in love with the book’s dedication. For all the girls who were never told someone like them could, not even in booksWith God Smites, I get to read about a Muslim girl go through daily life that’s similar to my own, where I can see myself in her actions and that’s my favourite part of this book. It’s such a real book which portrays such real characters without being stereotypical. Sure, her mother is very strict and her father too, but we also get to see them protect and try to understand Asiya. Their family dynamic was so relatable and funny. They all get frustrated and argue with each other but in the end, they do come together as a family. And that ending, guys, my jaw dropped. It ends with a big revelation and an even bigger cliffhanger. Can I have the sequel now?

I’m going to end this review with my favourite part:

He yelled a general, “Salam alaikum!” and made it halfway to the basement door before he realised something was off.

I actually had to put my Kindle down because I was laughing so much because:

  1. She’s in the middle of being interrogated and he casually walks in like this
  2. I do the same thing when I don’t know if anyone’s home 😂😂

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Book Review: The Inquisition

Book Review: The Inquisition

Rating: ★★★★☆

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

After spending a year in prison, 16-year-old Fletcher finally receives a trial but the outcome doesn’t appear good either way. Either he’s convicted for allegedly ordering his demon to kill Didric or they have him on treason for attacking a soldier. After a quick trial and learning a shocking secret about his past, Fletcher soon joins his old friends and enemies on a covert mission into orc territory.

I really enjoyed this one. It did take me a while to remember who was who and what had happened at the end of The Novice so it did take me a while to get into the story but once I did, it was great.

Looking back, I did prefer The Novice, plot-wise, but The Inquisition has faster action and higher stakes with a close look at the enemy Orcs. I’m quite glad the courtroom drama doesn’t drag too long in the first few chapters. It’s quite neat meaning that we learn what we have to know and then it moves on to what’s really important. I’m quite divided about this book in the sense that I enjoyed the great detail of everything as they venture on in their journey but at the same time but I also preferred the more character-driven parts where we see Fletcher interacting with his friends. This conflict for me made it feel like it as partially suffering from Second Book Syndrome just the tiniest bit. But I think I’m a bit too invested in this world and characters to care. There’s also a hint of romance that I guessed would have happened but at the same time, I was still surprised because this book never really focuses on the romance.

This fantasy world is one of my favourites –  it’s so vast and filled with so many different creatures and people. The plot itself only focuses on certain parts of it but there’s potential for the story to reach even further as this world finds itself almost on the verge of war.

The only real criticism I can really say is the sudden influx of new characters. There’s a point where there’s new people and demons alike come in, with new demons comes new demonic descriptions, so that can overwhelm some readers. But I would love to see Matharu release a handbook of some sort featuring all the demons in the series.

Overall The Inquisition is a solid sequel that builds and developed well, leaving you wanting more in the end. If you enjoyed the first book, you should definitely continue reading this series. (Also, R.I.P. me, I seriously died at that cliffhanger)


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