Foolish Hearts – The book that feels like the warmest of hugs

Publication date : December 5th, 2017

Publisher : Henry Holt | Macmillan

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 320

Synopsis : The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for. (From GoodreadsBut mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for. (From Goodreads)

Continue reading
Advertisements

The Hate U Give – …Little Infants Fucks Everybody

 

The Hate U Give

Publication date : February 28th, 2017

goodreads

Publisher : Balzer + Bray | Harpercollins

Genre : Young Adult |Contemporary

Page Count: 444

Synopsis : Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

The Hate U Give

TW: Racism, police brutality, gunshots, physical assault, substance abuse and addiction.

(No spoilers)

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts and type up this review for the last week, but everytime I open up the document, stare at the blank page for an hour and then close it, unable to type up anything because none of it feels right or adequate. The Hate U Give honestly feels too important for my words to do it justice. But I shall try because I already delayed reading it by like…a year (Don’t judge me) and I don’t want to delay reviewing it as well. So here goes nothing.

The Hate U Give is so unapologetically black, it breaths, speaks, sleeps black (and more specifically African-American) and I loved that about it. The writing is both strong and beautiful, sprinkled with AAVE all throughout. Angie Thomas’s writing feels like a punch to the gut over and over again (in a good way) it packs so much emotion in every single sentence. And the amazing thing is, it’s not just *one* type of feelings, this book made me feel every emotion on the spectrum because of how real and well rounded it was, it made me angry (mostly), sad, frustrated, happy, laugh (a lot). Speaking of laughing, the humour in this book is some of the best I’ve ever read, the author managed to infuse even the hardest scenes with it, which I REALLY appreciated as someone who uses humour as a coping mechanism because it allowed me a breather amidst all the chaos.

Being black, I know what racism feels like, I know what it sounds like but I don’t live in the US and nothing I’ve ever experienced comes close to the very real instituonalized racism, the police brutality and corrupted justice system black folks (and other/all minorities) have to deal with in the US. And I haven’t been living under a rock, I’ve known about these things that happen to folks on a daily for a while, but knowing about them and reading brief articles is very different from reading a whole story from the perspective of a character living and learning to navigate them written by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. It’s gutting.

The Hate U Give stars Starr (no pun intended) as she witnesses her unarmed childhood best friend, Khalil, get shot and killed by a cop and the aftermath as she tries to navigate the mental and social repercussions from that as well as normal teenage things as her two worlds – living in a black neighborhood and studying in a white neighborhood- clash. The trauma that comes which such an experience follows Starr wherever she goes, whatever she does, and it changes her. And I loved how Angie explored the way her feelings and interactions changed in such a genuine, unfiltered way. And that’s the thing about this book, it’s so beautifully and horrifically unfiltered. Reading it hurts, but it’s necessary.

I loved Starr’s character so. much. Her growth as she has some impossible choices and hard decisions to make was heartbreaking to read, she’s scared at first and terrified to use her voice (which is understandable) but as the story progresses, she can’t just keep quiet anymore in the face of so much injustice surrounding her and starts speaking up, which was done with a lot of nuance and ups and downs. Her journey into activism wasn’t linear and seeing her best friend’s murder didn’t flip a switch, she grows into it with a lot of doubt and hurddles.

My favourite thing about this book is her family, and how close knitted they all are. They’re probably my favourite literary family now. They can be dysfunctional but at the end of the day they all love each other unconditionally and show it through actions rather than words. They’re there for each other no matter what. She calls her parents her OTP for God’s sake HOW CUTE IS THAT? I can’t really correctly express how good reading about their family made me feel, it was moments of reprieve in the middle of all the hardships, it’s just little moments that warmed my heart ad that you have to read ot really understand.

I also watched the movie a few days after finishing the book and although the core message as well as the main events were the same, a lot of it was different and that only made me love it more. Both book and movie deserve a multitude of awards.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Hate U Give? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

 

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: Pansexuality in Literature

 

Alexis

My name is Alexis and I’m a pansexual booktuber who goes by The Sloth Reader. When Fadwa called for people to make guest posts regarding their specific marginalizations, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I’m constantly in awe by the wonderful queer content being produced lately, but I’ve yet to find more than a few books that feature a character that is pansexual. Continue reading

Hurts to Love You – Amazing conclusion to an amazing series

 

Hurts to love you

Series: Forbidden Hearts #3

Publication date : March 27th, 2018

goodreads

Publisher : Avon | Harpercollins

Genre : Adult |Romance

Page Count: 384

Synopsis : Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.
Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.

Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess. When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.(From Goodreads)

Rating: 4.5 stars

Hurts to love you

CW: Heavy drinking, emotionally abusive parent, on page sex.

(No spoilers)

This series is over and I am one sad romance hoe. It shredded my heart to pieces and mended it back together more times than I could count and I loved every single minute of it. I reasonably know that this isn’t the last we’ll see of them since there will be a spin-off three book series but I WEEP, I need more now. Hurts to Love You was such an amazing bitter sweet ending to an amazing romance trilogy, and here is why:

I’ve already been over how great Alisha Rai’s writing is in both previous books’ reviews so I won’t go into more detail about that. One thing I really loved though is how heavily it relied on introspection, and not in the annoying way where characters get caught Inside their heads and we don’t see much else of the story. Here it was super well done, in a way that showed the characters tapping into their messy thoughts and tangled feelings and acting accordingly.

Hurts to Love You follows Eve, who’s Nicholas’ little sister from the first book and Gabe, his childhood best friend. And this book has some tropes I absolutely love. First we have age gap, I believe they’re a little over a decade apart. and it’s so well done, Because them growing up together can make that very merky territory to navigate, but the author made sure to specify that he was never attracted to her until they came back into each others’ lives a month from the start of the book. While the sweet fool that is Eve has always harbored a crush on him. The other trope that is present here and that I’m absolute trash for is forced proximity, they literally HAVE to spend time around each other and seeing the attraction play out is my favourite thing.

Now, Eve. I loved her and some parts of her and the way she reacts and interacts with the world resonated with me very deeply. She’s put together, appears confident but in truth is very insecure with a very flimzy self-esteem that was maintained by her abusive father all throughout her life. She’s sensitive, kind, super smart and driven and hella ambitious, which is one of my favourite combination of qualities in a heroine.

Then we have Gabe who…frustrated the heck out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I love him, but he can get so caught up inside his head sometimes that he messes up. Bad. He’s a super decent guy, also buff and super tattooed which…helps too. He has these walls built around himself, for Good Reason but then the minute Eve starts cracking them he freaks out and says and does all the wrong things which in turn makes her do and say all the wrong things and IT’S JUST A MESS!!!

Their mutual pinning was iconic and agonizing to read and I’m pretty sure I yelled more than one “JUST SAY WHAT YOU REALLY THINK” at my phone. Lucky I was in my room and no one had to witness that. One thing I really loved though is how he’s there for her no matter what’s going on between them, helping her sort through her trauma related feelings and easing her anxiety.

One common theme through the series is family, and I love how that emphasis grows with each book being at its most in this book, bringing forth family relationships both blood and found. The family “drama” thickens in Hurts to Love You and proves to be much more complicated than we’re led to believe in the first two books. And the strong bonds between the different characters are put to the test and come out of it stronger than ever. Another relationship I adored is the one between Eve and her best friend Madison, they’re so supportive for each other and that’s something I never get tired of.

The ending was super satisfying although I would’ve liked for it to go a liiiittle differently. No matter how much I loved this one, Wrong to Need You has a special spot in my heart and is still my favourite out of the bunch.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Hurts to Love You? If so, what did you think?

Which Forbidden Hearts’ book was your favourite?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

Down the TBR hole #1

 

Down the TBR Hole

Hello friends!

Like, I said in my September wrap-up Down the TBR hole is a new (to the blog) feature I will be doing bi-monthly (instead of weekly like the original thing). Because lord knows my TBR needs saving. I just keep on adding to it and forgetting what I even added to it so hopefully this will help me both clean it up and remember some books I used to be excited about and that ended up slipping my mind. This was created by Lia, formerly @ Lost in a Story.

The Rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date Added.
  • Take the first 5 to 10 books (I’ve settled on 8).
  • Read the synopses of the book
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Title = Goodreads link

1- A Game of Thrones – Geroge R. R. Martin

I’m…Not interest anymore in this one. It’s not that I don’t want to read, it’s that every book is HUGE and daunting. Everytime I think about picking it up I think to myself but I could read THREE BOOKS in the time I’d read this one and I never do. I actually read half of it summer 2017 but it was taking me too long  and I had arcs to read so I put it down and never came back to it. That being said, I own the whole ass series so I’m holding out hope that one day the mood will just strike and I’ll read them. Plus they were a birthday gift from my mom, so I feel bad about it!

Verdict: Keep ✔️

2- Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Yes, I have not read this one yet. No, I have no idea if I will ever read it. It’s just been too long and no matter how much I loved this world when I first read the first two series, now I’ve just lost interest and this book doesn’t draw me in the slightest.

Verdict: Remove ❌

3- The Wrath and The Dawn – Renée Ahdieh

I am absolute trash for Shahrazad and 1001 nights, it’s my childhood, I consumed it as a animated show and as books. So when I first heard of this one when I started blogging I was over the moon excited but I didn’t read it right away and the more I waited the more I heard about it and I didn’t like the changes and direction the author took with the story so at this point it’s just a place holder on my TBR.

Verdict: Remove ❌

4- The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Why haven’t I read this yet? WHY? All I’ve heard about it is praise from people whose bookish opinions I trust a lot so I’m kind of facepalming. I’ve also just read the synopsis for the first time in over two years and it sounds like the kind of all consuming eerie slow burn story I love, so hopefully it will get read in 2019.

Verdict: Keep ✔️

5- The Rest of Us just Live Here – Patrick Ness

I remember when I first read the synopsis of this one I was super excited but now? All it stirred in me is a MEH feeling. I’ve never read a Patrick Ness book so there’s nothing drawing me towards this book.

Verdict: Remove ❌

6- Uprooted – Naomi Novik 

My relationship with this book is a bit weird. Since adding it to my TBR I’ve been oscillating between two phases: one where I’m absolutely hyped about it and excited to get to it…some day and one where I’m disinterested and don’t see the appeal of it, and I can’t explain why. When I reread the synopsis now, I fell into the first category.

Verdict: Keep ✔️

7- Vicious – V. E. Schwab 

Since reading and adoring The Shades of Magic trilogy, I’ve vowed to read every single Schwab book out there and…that was two years ago, and I still haven’t read a single one of them eventhough all of them sound super appealing to me because she tends to write about morally gray or outright villaineous characters and those are my favourites. Plus, now that Vengeful is out I’m vowing that this will be read in the next few months. 

Verdict: Keep ✔️

8- Our demons, best friends – Diana T. Scott

I thought??? This was about residents? And I mean one of them *is* technically a resident but he’s on leave and that was literally the only reason I added it to my TBR. Along with the gorgeous cover. So now I’m really not interest in it at all, I have many MANY other romance books that I’m a lot more drawn to.

Verdict: Remove ❌

Final Verdict: 4/8 removed. I’m off to a great start if you ask me!


That’s it until next time.

Have you read any of these books? Are there any you should think I should keep/remove?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

Navigating the Book Community as a Person of Color

 

NAvigating as a POC

Hello friends!

I know what you’re saying after reading the title…oh no, she’s here with yet another rant…or maybe you’re not and that’s just me haha. But either way, I wouldn’t call this a rant *cough* *cough*. It’s more of me putting to paper -per say- a collection of thoughts and observations I’ve been having for the past couple years of being neck deep involved in the book community and advocating for diversity. I just want to preface by saying that I won’t be bashing anyone or anything in this post, what I will be doing though, is sharing my thoughts without any sugarcoating. Continue reading

Empress of All Seasons – Took me on a Rollercoaster of Thoughts and Feelings

 

Empress of All Seasons

Publication date : November 6th, 2018goodreads

Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers

Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy

Page Count: 384

Synopsis : In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems. Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast. Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy. (From Goodreads)

Rating:3.5 stars

Empress of All Seasons

*I Received an arc of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*

CW: Death, child taken away at Birth, parental abuse, self harm imagery, passing mention of rape and victim blaming, gore, slavery, mention of suicide.

(No Spoilers)

This book and I had quite the interesting journey! I started off really excited to read and even more so when I finally began reading it, then a little farther in the middle I felt hesitant about it, still enjoying it but not quite sure *how much* I was enjoying it then the last 50 or so pages blew it out of the water for me. So it’s safe to say this book was quite the emotional rollercoaster than I ended up enjoying quite a lot for multiple reasons.

The writing is solid and quite atmospheric, I felt fully immersed in the world just a few pages into Empress of All Seasons. It sounds like a fairytale from the premise and actually reads that way as well. The story is told in multiple point of views from Mari, Taro and Akira’s perspectives which was really well played since we got to see their dynamics from different angles and get to know them as more well rounded characters. Their voices were also pretty distinct and never subjected me to confusion as to whose eyes I was seeing things through. Every few chapters, we get Gods’ stories that we don’t really understand how they tie with the narrative until the very end.

Like I said, the premise sounds very fairytale like and extremely addicting but what I didn’t expect is for it to have as dark of a vibe as it did. I expected something more light but I lived for that, it fit the story better than the lightness I expected. Some of it is pretty violent and heartwrenching, especially when reading about the treatment of the yokai in the imperial city. They’re enslaved and forced to wear collars that dampen their powers. The plot is kind of slow moving but fascinating to follow with it’s fair share of action scenes, some of which I personally thought needed slightly more polishing but I enjoyed them overall.

The worldbuilding is extremely well done, everytime the narrative rose a question I found the answer soon after. I loved learning all about the Yokai as well the inner workings and machinations of this world, Empress of All Seasons also has a light politics focus which you know by now I’m a huge fan of so that was actually one of my favourite parts of the book. The concept of season rooms was what pulled me the most towards this book and although we saw plenty of them during competition I wish there were more descrptions of what the rooms actually looked like, I thought this was a missed opportunity to set a lush scenery.

Mari, one of our main characters, is Yokai and sent to the palace by her mother to become empress and steal the emperor’s wealth. Sounds easy, right? *sarcasm* She struggles with her Identity as a Yokai and the character growth that came from that was amazing to follow, we see her grow to love and fully embrace her identity as well as her people. We also see that result in her being more confident in her skills and herself in general which YES PLEASE.

Akira is a half-yokai boy but…I wasn’t the biggest fan of his. He sees himself as weak and he, as well, goes through a character growth which is great. The problem I had with him is that he’s in love with Mari and even after being rejected by her he still fixated on “winning her over” and that honest to God was so annoying. No is no, dude, move on with your life.

Taro is the soon to be emperor. He was such A SOFT BOI who’s yearning for freedom and just wanted to be left alone with his inventions which I really liked about him but was quickly annoyed when after one encounter with Mari WHILE HE’S LITERALLY TRYING TO RUN AWAY makes him go back inside the palace because he wants to see her again. *yawns* Let’s just say I wasn’t impressed by the boys. And I also didn’t care much for the romance so I loved the fact that it was very forgettable and didn’t take front and center in the book.

Empress of All Seasons is a solid fantasy that could have done with a sequel. Those last few chapters had so much information and so much potential to develop a whole new book and I was a little let down by how rushed it all was. That being said I still enjoyed this book for the standalone it was, I just wished there was more.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Empress of All Seasons? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

To sum-up: October 2018

 

2018 October.png
Hello friends!

October has come and gone all I can think is how in the actual hell are we two months away from 2019. I’m just. This year has been a whirlwind so I’m glad it’s coming to an end, but also, it was so fast? I’ll stop babbling now and get on to the wrap-up because I know we’re all probably freaking out about this.

Continue reading

#DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: US Bloggers’ privilege and whatnots

Angela

When I decided to create my blog, I knew I had to spend a lot of my time and effort into creating good and interesting content. But I took the step anyway because I love books too much and I enjoy talking about them and recommending the ones I liked.
But there are many factors that go into your blog’s success and one of them is where you are based. Continue reading

Mating the Huntress – Fun and steamy werewolf romance

Mating the Huntress

Publication date : October 1st, 2018

goodreads

Publisher : Nixon House

Genre : Adult |Romance

Page Count: 136

Synopsis : Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off… (From Goodreads) Continue reading