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

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

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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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: Girl Out of Water

Rating: ★★★★☆

In Girl Out of Water, Anise Sawyer finds her final summer before college interrupted when her aunt is in a devastating car accident, which forces her and her dad to make their way to Nebraska to take care of her cousins. Stuck in the triply landlocked state, with three restless cousins, Anise discovers the local skate park and also the charming, one-armed, Lincoln, where she swaps her surfboard for a skateboard.

As someone who isn’t a big YA contemporary reader, I really enjoyed Girl Out of Water. I don’t really know how to describe it. But it was quite peaceful, in comparison, to the other books I’ve been reading. What we have is a heart-warming coming of age novel. Anise thinks she has it all sorted out, but when everything slowly falls apart, she has to take a step back. The more time she spends away from Santa Cruz, away from the sea and her friends, the more she starts to worry that she will become like her mother, who disappears for months on end. Girl Out of Water is Anise realising that, essentially, change has to come and that she doesn’t have to forget the friends she loves and the memories she has in order to make new ones. So the plot isn’t overly dramatic, but it is well-developed. Silverman’s characters were witty, hilarious and diverse. The punchy dialogue and style of writing really reminds me of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

Girl Out of Water is a story of first love, relationships, loss and change. I have no doubt that this will top the bestseller lists once it’s released. Its decent plot and cast of fun characters makes me excited to see what else Laura Silverman will publish in the future.


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Book Review: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Oh wow, I don’t even know where to start. I think I enjoyed Crown of Midnight more than I did Throne of Glass. There was just so much more of everything. More drama, more action, more complication and the best part for me, no more love triangle! (My soul weeped with happiness when I realised it was no longer there) Consider me impressed, is it possible to enjoy a sequel so much, that you feel the first should be rewritten to be considered even as great as this one?

Crown of Midnight takes a huge step, jump seems more fitting, away from the plain drama and unnecessary romance. I had a feeling that the whole competition to be the King’s Champion ends up being less significant in regards to the entire plot. Maas opens the story to a bigger, badder and bloodier book, now that we start the book with a blank slate. All the mysteries and trouble evolves into something even worse than a competition and I still can’t believe how much better this was than book one. I finally understood Celaena as an assassin.

The characters are just so much better in this book. While Celaena did irritate me in certain moments, she was still a good character. Dorian, my precious, favourite character, emerges stronger and better with his own secrets and his importance becomes so apparent and so exciting. Chaol, in my opinion, needs to take a damn break and learn to trust Celaena. #TeamDorian here in case you didn’t know.

However, I do believe Maas tends to treat Celaena the Assassin as an idea and makes her more Celaena the Private Investigator. She acts a bit too foolishly sometimes for me to take her assassin title seriously. Overall, Crown of Midnight was a still wild ride. A fast-paced journey that sees Celaena reaching her breaking point and we start to get a glimpse of just how big Maas is making this story.


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Comic Review: Ms Marvel: No Normal (Volume One)

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Rating: ★★★★☆

No Normal is Kamala Khan’s origin story. The story of how she suddenly finds herself with the power to shift into anyone she wants, and can enlargen her own body parts. In the first volume, it’s mainly Kamala spending time coming to term with her new powers while struggling to hide it from her real life, where she struggles to fit in with her friends while trying not to disappoint her family.

I loved this from start to finish. Kamala is so relatable, quirky and adorably funny! And the way Wilson incorporated her family and religion was done so well. She made it feel natural and added truth depth to Kamala.

Adrian’s artwork is so gorgeous and funny, I loved it so much. The way he draws the dramatic and comedic artwork is so good and nice. I loved the style and the colors, it works well with the story and made it more memorable for me. I definitely need to see more of his art.

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Book Review: Muslim Girl

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Rating: ★★★★

* I received an uncorrected proof of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

“I hope she knows my pain is genuine, I thought. I hope she doesn’t doubt that a Muslim American can be impacted by 9/11, too. The truth is that 9/11 never ended for us.”

Muslim Girl is Amani’s memoir about growing up in a post-9/11 world and how her experiences in life, including moving back to her father’s homeland of Jordan, helped shape her voice as a Muslim woman which later aided her in the creation of MuslimGirl.com. Muslim Girl is a personal account of one of many voices. Amani’s voice is so necessary, so honest and so damn important

Simply put, I loved this. Amani’s journey and story is an important one, one that many Muslims in Western countries could relate to. I know I did. One moment I really enjoyed was how she was introduced to self-realised interpretations of Islam. While I’m across the ocean, my experience mirrored hers so perfectly, just a couple of years down the line and on a new form of social media. I loved that Muslim Girl is about no longer depending on the attention of mainstream media. A Coming of Age shows Amani turning inwards and throwing herself into the centre. She created an indentity by seeing the blindspot in our mainstream news which rarely focuses on us positively. We follow her story of how she creates her own platform so Muslim women can talk back.

MuslimGirl.com is changing the way Islam is portrayed all over the world. Amani and this book is part of a new generation of Muslim women who are committed to combating stereotypical views. This book is merely a dip into the power and strength Amani has as she and the others alongside her are creating their own path as Muslim women living in today’s modern society. It’s been a year since I found MG.com and I love everything that Amani and the others alongside her have done to achieve to get where they all are now. Watch out for this October 18th

via instagram

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Book Review: We Awaken

review_weawaken

Rating: ★★★★☆

We Awaken is a very quiet story compared to the very dramatic book description. Since her father died in a car accident and her brother in a coma from the same accident, Victoria Dinham lives only for dance and is holding on to being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. Until one night, in her dreams, she counters a girl who holds a message from her brother. Higher stakes and a fuller plot would’ve definitely given this five stars.

We Awaken is sweet and happy. And that’s what I loved about it. Lynn creates this romance that is so cute and adorable between Victoria and Ashlinn. We Awaken is a mix of fantasy and magic in the real world. While I thought the beginning was a bit off once I hit the halfway mark, I was hooked and rooting for Victoria for the rest of the way. It’s much more character-driven so I can tell some people may be disappointed with the lack of explanation of the magic in this but the journey of these two girls is so magical and amazing. They help each other in so many ways. Ashlinn helps Victoria understand her sexuality, who later comes out as Asexual. The representation the book gives which allows younger readers to understand more about it within the comforts of a book makes this book even more important. Victoria learns that nobody but her can decide who she is, and she doesn’t need to explain her choices to anyone.

We Awaken is the kind of book that you easily read in one sitting. And in that one sitting, you read a novel that is dreamlike and enjoyable.


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Book Review: A Golden Age

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Rating: ★★★★☆

While I was looking for non-fiction novels about the history of Bangladesh, I came across this. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but, nonetheless, I enjoyed it just as much. A Golden Age tells the story of the Haque family’s experiences during the war from the perspective of Rehana. A Golden Age begins with a newly widowed Rehana who had been declared unfit by a judge and has had her children taken away. By the second chapter, 20 or s0 years have passed. It’s now 1971 and her children have returned, but the shame of what she had to do stays with her all these years. The novel follows Rehana’s life during Bangladesh’s war for independence. As her children become politically involved, Rehana finds herself drawn into the war as well. While her children are motivated politically, Rehana’s desire for her children’s safety drives her through the entire novel.

My favourite part was beginning of the novel and how Anam introduced the land and country. was I loved the way she described Bangladesh, the culture, the food, the people and the landscape. It was, at most times, so calming and beautiful before everything goes terribly wrong.

Through A Golden Age, Rehana is more of a witness than an active member, like her children. We never witness the full atrocities that the people suffered but we do encounter the result of them through her eyes as we follow her from her home to refugee camps. And not knowing fully what the Pakistan army was doing, we’re thrown into the same tense situation is Rehana in. We learn the real costs of war through the lives of this semi-real family. (I believe Rehana was based on Anam’s grandmother and her experiences) I loved the way she described Bangladesh, the culture, the food, the landscape. It was, at most times, so calming and beautiful.

No one should really think of this as an actual account of what happened but an introduction that can incite further research. A Golden Age is more personal and human, and I felt plenty of emotion while reading Rehana’s story. A Golden Age was a good introduction to Bangladesh’s fight for independence, especially for me who grew up knowing barely anything apart from the fact I was born on the same date it started.


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