January Wrap-up + February TBR | 2017

January Wrap-up + February TBR | 2017

Here is a very late (well, to me it’s late) wrap up of the books I’ve read in the month of January. A total of 11, which I’m pretty pleased with but I think the spirit of the new year kind of fueled that and I don’t think it will be as high as that for the rest of the year :’). And also a partial TBR of the books I want to read in February. The ones listed are all the Netgalley books (not including God Smites) I need to read.

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Continue reading “January Wrap-up + February TBR | 2017”

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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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2017 releases that I can’t wait to read

2017 releases that I can’t wait to read

I like to call this post my future “2017 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To”. Will I even read most of these books in 2017? Probably not. But will I make this list anyway under the pretence that I have everything under control? Obviously, yes.

1) Caraval

27883214Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

MY THOUGHTS: This is probably the book on the list which everyone will call ‘overhyped’ but whooh that plot sounds so cool and I’m super jealous of that cover.

2) History is All You Left Me

25014114When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

MY THOUGHTS: I’m not going to lie: I thought this book was already out. I’ve seen this everywhere for the past six months and I just assumed that I missed the release day when really everyone I follow just happened to have ARCs.

3) The Hate U Give

32075671Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

 

 

4) 27 Hours

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from under his mother’s military shadow, and to unlearn his colony’s darkest secret.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

MY THOUGHTS: I haven’t even read this and it’s already my top read of 2017.

5) When Dimple met Rishi

28458598The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

MY THOUGHTS: That cover is everything. This plot is everything. Everything about this is everything.

6)I Believe In A Thing Called Love


31145133Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

MY THOUGHTS: To say that I’m excited for this is a severe understatement. 

7) Amina’s Voice

30312547Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one of Salaam Read’s first books to be published and if you can hear a crying noise in the distance, that’s me, waiting by my mailbox.

8) The Gauntlet 

29346880A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

MY THOUGHTS: I learnt a couple of weeks ago that Farah is a Bangladeshi-American and I cried. SHE’S BANGLADESHI GUYS!!!!

9) Noteworthy


31447601It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

MY THOUGHTS:

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10) Allegedly.

29640815Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments!

Book Review: If I Was Your Girl

Book Review: If I Was Your Girl

Rating: ★★★★

“I’m not brave,” I said, smiling despite myself. “Bravery implies I had a choice. I’m just me, you know?”

Amanda is the new girl in school and she’s trying to keep a big secret. Amanda is transgender and moves to Tennessee in hopes of keeping her head down and getting through high school. Soon she makes friends and meets Grant.

If I Was Your Girl was such a charming read. I really enjoyed it. The plot, characters and hilarious sense of humour just made this a really great book. I really loved how the narrative jumps between real-time events and Amanda’s childhood. It added great suspense and was equally heart-breaking. (don’t want to spoil but my heart broke at the diary scene)

I’m not a huge romance reader, which is why I put this book off for so long, and while their romance came across generic, I found it so sweet. Maybe my cynical self needed some adorable picnic dates and cute film dates. They were so lovable and dorky together that I didn’t care it cheesy. I also may or may not had become a mushy mess on the train when I read the Halloween scenes. (Spoiler: Grant goes as Boba Fett and Amanda dresses herself as Leia. IT’S SO CUTE I DIED)

What I really enjoyed was the happy ending. In our media, TV, films and novels, there are so many characters who are LGBT+ and are constantly killed off for shock factor. I know it seems like a spoiler but I do see this book advertised like this, Amanda gets a happy ending, despite everything that happens, Amanda’s happy and alive.

Overall, I admired this book. The biggest issue I could think of was pacing in certain scenes but I definitely recommend this to anyone and add this to your TBR if you haven’t! (Also, I loved the separate author’s note Russo adds at the end: one for her cis readers and one for her trans readers.)

I should note while it’s wonderful that anyone reads my reviews at all, but I should remind you if you don’t know: this is a story about a trans girl written by a trans woman and I am a cis reader. This obviously means my perspective is limited and I will point you all towards reviews written by trans writers. (edit: i thought I bookmarked them but it appears I didn’t so once I find them I’ll link them up)


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Book Review: Written in the Stars

Book Review: Written in the Stars

Rating: ★★★★★

Written in the Stars is a common tale that goes unspoken. A tale that is a real life for thousands of women who find themselves facing it every day. Naila’s parents have always given her a choice but when it came to marriage, it was simple: they will choose her husband. Naila’s already fallen in love and when her parents find out, she is whisked away to Pakistan under the pretence that they are visiting family. But the truth is darker and Naila doesn’t have a say in the matter.

Written in the Stars was such an engaging and powerful read. From the very beginning to the very the end, everything goes high-speed for Naila and towards the end, you’re left thinking, will she make it?

Naila is a great protagonist. I loved her hopefulness, her love for Saif and her faith in believing she will make it back home. There are moments when you believe there’s no going back for her, but she fights back. The writing style is simple, but it works here. It was straight and simple to the point so we’re not distracted from every thing that happens to Naila. We, as the reader, are aware of her marriage from the very beginning, but to Naila, she’s completely clueless and the tension rose with ever clue that popped up, unknowingly to Naila. My favourite parts was descriptions of Pakistan an its culture. Its markets, food and the houses packed to the brim with visiting family.

However, it didn’t read perfectly polished, with some scenes happening too quickly and the ending could’ve definitely been slowed down a bit, considering what happens. But, nonetheless, this is a good book. It was intense, frightening and hopeful, all at the same time.

Also, the author’s note was perfect. Saeed mentions that forced marriages can happen anywhere, regardless of culture, country or religion. And I believe Saeed even wrote an article between the distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced one that many people aren’t aware of.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BARNES & NOBLE

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Rating: ★★★★☆

Every Heart A Doorway has one of the best concepts ever. We all dream we can be whisked away through a wardrobe door, fall down a hole and be transported to entirely new worlds. But Every Heart is about the kids that come back, whether they want to or not. Here come Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children where desperate parents send their children who they want back to ‘normal’. But Eleanor is someone who has also returned and commits her life to providing a safe place for them. Tragedy strikes the day Nancy enters the home, and with her new-found friends, they try to stop it before it gets them.

For a story so short, it tackles and includes so many topics: gender issues, what we perceive as wrong or right, mental health. There are so many lyrical and poetic lines in here, it was amazing.

“Because ‘boys will be boys’ is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Lundy. “They’re too loud, on the whole, to be easily misplaced or overlooked; when they disappear from the home, parents send search parties to dredge them out of swamps and drag them away from frog ponds. It’s not innate. It’s learned. But it protects them from the doors, keeps them safe at home. Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.

McGuire knows how to write creepy.  I went into this thinking it was like Miss Peregrine’s Home, but Every Heart is much eerier and strange. But you can’t mention this book without mentioning the diversity. It makes me so happy to see authors really understanding how important it is for our fiction to be diverse. While I was excited to see such a diversity of characters, and all of them have such well-built tales and backstories, I struggled to feel for them. I think it maybe due to its length, but this concept was way too big to fit into such a small novel. I would’ve loved to have seen more worldbuilding. The High-Logic and High Nonsense confused me at first, but it interested me. There are so many concepts that are introduced but not much of it is actually explained. But I believe the third novel will continue the events in this one, so I’m definitely excited to see what happens next!

Overall, I definitely recommend Every Heart A Doorway since it’s a strange yet entertaining read. 


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