Girl out of Water – A story of Self-Discovery, Family and a Dimple

Girl out of Water

Publication date : May 2nd, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Sourcebooks Fire

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 320

Synopsis : Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.
Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 4.5 stars

Girl out of Water Quote.png

*I received an Arc of this book from the author and publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

This book made me SO HAPPY? I can’t even form coherent thoughts right now because my brain is taken up by all the feels. Seriously, it is such a quiet beautiful book that I’m sure everyone would love. So I’d encourage you to run and pre-order it right now *waits for you to come back* Now that you have done that we can go one with the rest of the review. Oh, what made my reading experience all the more awesome is reading the book with my best friend  Sara @ Freadom Library which made it our first -of many- buddy-read. And don’t ask, I don’t know what took us so long.

The writing is both exquisite and very simple. It also feels personal, very unique to Anise -the MC-‘s voice. It naturally is written from her POV, she has a very honest and spontaneous voice that reminded me of myself. I actually saw a lot of me in her, and that alone has made Anise a huge win for me.

This is the story of how Anise was taken away from what she expected to be the summer of her life, from everything she knew and loved to help her aunt take care of her home and kids after she was in a bad accident. And how she adjusted to all the changes in her life and how she dealt with them. Which made this a very character driven story with a lot of growth, family and friendship.

Anise’s mom is absent, she comes and goes like the wind, has never been and never will be a pilar in her life and I loved how that was kept that way until the end, there was no reunion, no closure, no understanding her mom’s behavior. She was just this presence -or rather absence- that affected Anise’s life more than she liked to admit. Because of her absence, Anise is very much afraid of being like her so she doesn’t like leaving home, not to go to her aunt’s, not to go to college, not ever. She’s so afraid of abandoning the people who matter to her that that’s exactly what she ends up doing to her friends back home.

As you may have gathered, Anise is a very flawed character, which made her all the more loveable. She’s a very well written, three-dimensional character with strengths and weaknesses. She’s very caring and sweet. What I particularly loved about her is how responsible and mature she was about the whole situation. She wasn’t resentful, she understood why she had to do what she had to do even though she was really disappointed which showed in the writing, but never in the way she behaved around her dad, her aunt, or any of her cousins, her conversations with them were warm and natural. One thing that’s hilarious about her (and that annoyed Sara while I was enjoying it immensely) is how big of a sore loser she was. THAT IS SO ME! I hate losing and I behave the exact same way she does when that happens.

The character development she went through was remarkable. Through her time away from home, she realized that change wasn’t such a bad thing and that home wouldn’t disappear just because she leaves for a few months because her people will always be there when she gets back and that rings so true. Slowly but surely, she frees herself from her mom’s hold and is able to see things differently.

This book has a big focus on family and I loved how close and genuine the family bonds were. I adored how open and honest her relationship with her father was, he was everything to her from a dad to a bestfriend and that’s amazing to read about. Her aunt -her mom’s sister- was as close to a real mother figure as she could ever have, she loves her like her own children and that love is reciprocated. Her little cousins are the definition of adorable, the twins so sweet and endearing but what I liked more is how she behaved with her cousin, Emery. She was like a big sister to her and did everything to make her comfortable and get her to trust her and see her as a friend.

Her group of friends back home, although only physically in the book in the beginning and the very end of the book played a big part in it, through Anise’s descriptions and thought process, I felt like I knew them as much as if they were there. Their little group is so tight-knitted that it felt really realistic. I loved Tessa -her bestfriend-‘s strong personality and how she called her out on her shitty behavior during her time away.

Last but not least, LINCOLN. That beautiful boy is one giant dimple (I’m not obsessed, what are you talking about?). He’s so charismatic and precious, he also does everything to make Anise comfortable while pulling her away from her comfort zone. I loved him, he has a very laidback, go with the flow type of personality and he’s also very teasy. Through their romance, the author was able to picture the bitter-sweetness of a summer fling perfectly, they were so good for each other and their chemistry was effortless.

Although the ending felt a bit rushed and like it didn’t have all the attention I thought it deserved, I really loved the open ending tying some loose ends while leaving room for questions, like what’s next for Lincoln and Anise? What is she going to decide for college? etc…. That also makes me secretly hope for a companion novella or book. Shhh. Let a girl dream.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Girl our of Water? If so, what did you think?

What did you think of Anise’s character? Did you love the romance as much as I did?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

The Seafarer’s Kiss – The Little Mermaid retelling of my Dreams

The Seafarer's Kiss.png

Publication date : May 4th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Interlude Press

Genre : Young Adult | Fantasy

Page Count: 230

Synopsis : Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.
Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.
 
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 4.5 stars

The Seafarer's Kiss quote

*I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

Thinking about The Seafarer’s Kiss makes my heart swell, swell, swell, that’s how much I loved it. IT IS SO AMAZING, GUYS. This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017 and it didn’t disappoint, not at all. In fact, it was different in more ways than one and better than what I expected. I think it is scientifically proven (ok maybe not) that it’s impossible not to be excited about this gem. Little Mermaid retelling? Bisexual MC? Norse Mythology? My answer was automatically GIMME.

The writing is absolutely stunning. It is soft and lyrical, and I didn’t expect anything short of that coming from Julia, she’s a word whisperer, she wields them to her will and does beautiful things with them. My favorite part about it has to be the descriptions, they were mesmerizing and set a whimsical tone to the story, the magic seeps through them especially when it comes to the mermaids, I was all heart eyes. One thing that made me really happy is the use of gender neutral pronouns for the gods, we tend to have a binary look at everything and this was a very refreshing and needed change.

The world building is seamless, it’s so well weaved into the story that i didn’t realize how much I knew about the world the author created until I knew it all, it wasn’t overwhelming in any way. This being a retelling, I was afraid it would be predictable in some way but the author was inspired by the original tale only lightly, she took “staple” pieces from it, twisted them and put them to a different use to be able to bring in the Norse mythology element. And it was a very successful mix.

Now, this was darker than I expected. It started off slow (not the bad kind) and things escalated progressively until the pace picked up and kept me on my toes for the rest of the novel, it even managed to surprise me with some minor twists a few times. You know how I have a soft spot for morally grey characters, right? Well this one hit all the marks with me in that area. I absolutely adored how the lines between evil and good were blurred and everything and -almost- everyone was in the middle, much more complex than the black and white default settings.

The Seafarer’s Kiss is written in first person from Ersel‘s POV and she has my heart. Like most characters in this book, she’s flawed and selfish. But also gorgeous, clever and resourceful. She doesn’t give up on her goals no matter what challenges are thrown at her. Although she did some questionnable things for questionnable reasons, the fact that she tried to make it all right made me love her even more. Special mention to her mom who is a total badass, super supportive and loving.

Next comes Ragna, the human girl and love interest. She’s confident and absolutely stabtastic but I also felt like I had to protect her at all costs even though I was fully aware that of the two of us, I’m the one in need of protection heh. Here comes a confession and the reason for no giving this book a full 5 stars, a completely selfish reason but you know. I WANTED MORE ERSEL/RAGNA PAGE SPACE. I shipped them so hard that I just wanted way more of them than I got (which wasn’t a lot to be honest).

Havamal. is. a. mess. He acts out on impulse and regrets it afterwards but he is so endearing and I’m total trash for him. There it is, I said it. I ADORED Havamal no matter how much I wanted to smack him because of his choices, it just is what it is. Last but not least is Loki, they took the gold for my favorite villainous characters of all times, THEY WERE AMAZING, smart, sneaky, ruthless and quite funny. I love the original Loki but the way Julia wrote them here is just fantastic.

I think this will be it for this review. Oh, nope, one last thing, IT HAS THE CUTEST BELUGAS EEEEEVER. So if all of this doesn’t make you want to pick The Seafarer’s Kiss as soon as it is out, I don’t know what will. Seriously though, preorder it NOW, you don’t want to miss out.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Seafarer’s Kiss? If so, what did you think?

Who was you favorite character? Because I can’t decide. 

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

 

 

 

Noteworthy – Where I went for Fluff and got a Punch of Real

noteworthy

Publication date : May 2nd, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Amulet Books

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 400

Synopsis : It’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. (From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

Noteworthy Quote.png

*I received an Arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

You know how sometimes you go into a book expecting a lot of fun, heart eyes and fluff but you’re surprised, completely swiped off your feet because in addition to that, you get a story of self-growth that has a settle way of dealing with important social issues, creating discussion around important topics through conversations, thoughts and reflections. I buddy-read this one with one of dearest blogging friends, Puput @ Sparkling Letters and we expected to love it but I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that Noteworthy exceeded our expectations and it is safe to say now that will be one of my favorite reads of the year.

The writing is gorgeous while still being easy to follow. I absolutely loved Riley Redgate’s style which takes turns being serious and funny depending on what the scene at hand demanded which can seem simple but is delicate when you want the book to flow nicely without any glitches or weird changes in the pace. The narration is from Jordan’s point of view and she has such a genuine, witty voice that I couldn’t help falling in love with her.

The story is one of a girl who finds herself by loosing it in a character that she makes up named Julian. In order to join the A-cappella group, Jordan had to cross-dress as a boy named Julian and to be completely honest I was very apprehensive going in because crossdressing isn’t something to take lightly and it can be handled very badly. And I think that the author did a great job in addressing the fact that it isn’t something that should be taken lightly, dedicating a small section of the book to Jordan doing research about the implications of what she was doing.

Back to the self-discovery. I felt like this book at its heart is a beautiful coming of age story. Jordan, who never felt very comfortable in her own skin, how she dressed and presented herself found a happy middle when after being Julian for the majority of her time, she discovered that in him she set free parts of her that were vital and that she kept repressed because she thought they clashed with who she needed to be. And that is such an important story to tell.

As I said, I loved Jordan‘s character. She’s a Chinese-American, bisexual girl and was in more ways than one relatable to me, to the lost teenager I once was and I’m sure a lot of people will relate even more to her and realize that it’s okay to not know who you are. She’s very sarcastic and quick-witted which spoke to my soul, her humor was right up my alley and I found myself laughing in multiple occasions. She also grew up poor, her parents always struggling to meet ends each month which is something so important to acknowledge in books, especially YA, because not every kid has the means to have a car, go to fancy schools or have fancy clothes but it also showed how she wasn’t miserable and she managed to make it work. I’m grateful for that.

When she joined the Sharpshooters, Jordan found herself in a little family, an amazing group of boys who were there for each other, stood up for each other even while having their own disagreements. Seeing the competition and rivalry with the other groups made my life, because it kept me on my toes and made the book read like a movie. Which makes me think: Can someone make a *good* movie adaptation of this? Please, and thank you!

The boys’ friendships were ADORABLE. The group is friendship goals. An other thing I loved about them is how amazingly and deeply diverse they were, there was so much work put into the side-characters to make them whole and not just stereotypes of what they’re identities are perceived to be. Isaac who is the second most important character is a Japanese-American boy with whom she creates an amazing tight bond that is so genuine and endearing, it gave me ALL the feels. There’s also Nihal who is a Sikh gay kid and through him she discussed how it can be tricky for religious kids to find a happy balance between their religion and their sexuality. Jordan finds a bestfriend in him, he confides in her and she in him. There are other characters, but these two stood out the most to me.

In addition to the topics mentioned above, the author discusses through her characters’ experiences a hip of other subjects like equality, feminism and what it means to be an ally. Which makes this book such an incredibly important read that I think everyone -whether you like A-capella or not- should read because at the end of the day it’s about the things that really matter.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Noteworthy? If so, what did you think?

How did you think the nuanced discussions were handled?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

Out on Good Behavior – The Cute Book that got me Back into New Adult

Out On Good Behavior.png

Series: Radleigh University #3

Publication date : June 14th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 290

Synopsis : Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn’t mean she should—not when the person she’s eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren’t meant to be crossed.
But when Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she’s afraid she’ll never find it as long as Frankie’s in her head.
Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who’s been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy…under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she’s afraid she might, she doesn’t want to throw Samara’s life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 3.5 stars

Out On Good Behavior Quote

No New Adult in a year and then two in a month, WHAT DO YOU MEAN? It means that I got back into it and freaking loving it. This is another companion series I’m reading out of order. When will I ever learn? This is also the book that showed me just how much I missed reading about people my age which means that you’ll be seeing more NA on the blog (YA will still be predominant, fret not). This is another one I’ve been hearing a lot about when asking about F/F NA romances and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s real, cute and just very down to earth.

The writing is witty and funny from our main character, Frankie’s POV and guess what she is? Yes, you’re right, she’s witty and funny. One problem I had with the writing itself was how redundant some sentences are, especially “turns me to liquid”, I like the imagery, I get it, but once it’s used every other page I just start rolling my eyes because it starts feeling cliché and out of place. Other than that the writing was good and easy on the eye.

Frankie is a pansexual artist, which I loved reading about because if I have a soft spot for a type of characters, it’s artists. She’s smart, witty and very scared of commitment (relatable af) and it was really cute and funny to see someone like that slowly turn soft and mushy as she started developing feelings for Samara. Samara is everyone of us in our twenties reading YA books, she loves getting lost in books and I appreciated that very much. She’s sweet, gentle and very caring. From first glance she’s very shy and conservative but she isn’t (not as much as she seems to be at least), she’s just scared of an accidental outing especially with her parents being bigots.

Speaking of which, one of the few problems I had with the book is that considering how big the part her parents played in the book was, I expected them to make an appearance, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s more of a me thing because I was convinced it would happen. To get all problems out of the way, I have one last one to talk about, which is the bar scene towards the end, it is very important for the development of the story so I was kind of disappointed when it was a bit rushed. I would’ve wanted it to be explored a bit more.

Now for the romance. You know how in M/F romances, there is this common overused trope where the guy doesn’t want to get “tied down” while the girl is ready for commitment. Well, I LOVED seeing a spin of that in an F/F romance, and in this case, I didn’t mind it at all, mainly because it wasn’t used dry. Frankie realizes she’s developing feelings for Samara early on and I absolutely adored how she wanted to take time and make sure that everything is right. Their relationship is absolutely adorable and heartwarming, I liked the way it progressed and how they spent most their days doing casual things, being cosy and comfortable.

This is another one with amazing friendships (God, how I love this type of books). Frankie’s friends – Lizzie and Cait (whom book 1 & 2 are about) are the best and their group banter is very funny but get real quickly when necessary. They rooted for her and Samara so much and did everything to make her comfortable and include her in their little group.

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a cute, fast to read F/F to lift their spirits up with awesome girl power and witty banter.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read Out on Good Behavior? If so, what did you think?

Do you think the bar scene was satisfying?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

How to Make a Wish – A raw, heatbreaking story of Love and Grief

How to make a wish .png

Publication date : May 2nd, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 336

Synopsis : All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 4.5 stars

How to make a wish quote

Trigger Warning: Emotional Parental Abuse

(No Spoilers)

How to Make a Wish rendered me speechless, let’s start with that, it is so beautiful and honest that I couldn’t help feel every emotion it conveyed, every one of them. Oh and before I forget, I read this with my lovely fellow Moroccan blogger, Maha @ Younicorn Reads and we both adored it to pieces. It is just the kind of book that takes a hold on your heart with no intent of ever letting it go, not like you would mind, you really don’t want it to go away.

First of all the writing, oh boy, it’s art. It feels like a punch, it is so powerful  and emotionally packed while being poetic and flowing very effortlessly. What’s most striking about it are the descriptions, they’re raw and gutting and just uuugh, I’m at a loss of words and I apologize deeply for not knowing how to English anymore. One thing I really appreciated is how comfortable Ashley Herring Blake is with writing explicit content (re: sex, masturbation) which in my honest opinion teenagers should be exposed to because it’s par of their reality (not all of them obviously).

How to Make a Wish is the story of two girls broken by their moms. Eva, the love interest has lost her mom and has no other family while Grace, the MC loves her mom more than anything but the latter cannot seem to *see* her. And God help me, I was so so angry at that woman, her behavior towards her daughter made my skin crawl (and the worst of it, is that I know that it is some people’s reality). She was manipulative, selfish and delusional.

Her mom listened and paid attention to everyone BUT her, prioritizing which ever guy is in her life at the moment, and the worst of it all is that she’s oblivious to how wrong and hurtful her actions are. She brushed off Grace each time she was concerned and tried to call her out on them and the girl can do nothing more than that because she loves her mom very much and keeps holding on to that sliver of hope that she’ll get better one day.

The cast of characters is probably one of the most realistic cast I’ve ever read in a YA book. They’re all flawed, fight and then make up. I loved the dynamic and energy that were carefully threaded into their relationships which made them unarguably believable.

Grace was such an amazing main character, strong and brave, spoke her mind loud and clear when needed, and didn’t let anybody squish her down. Unless that somebody is her mom. She’s also very closed off to people, had a hard time opening up to anyone in the fear of getting hurt, which she wasn’t even conscious of. Through her experiences, the author very subtly addressed and explained bisexuality. I loved her relationship with best friend Luca, who was basically a brother to her, he was very sweet, caring, supportive and protective of her. He also never shied away from telling her the truth as it is and even though she refused to hear it, she appreciated it in the long run.

Eva is a very complex character, I really liked how she had this kind of quiet vibe of wisdom and she didn’t run away and was never ashamed of her sadness, she embraced it. Again, through her experiences, Ashley Herring Blake tackles biraciality issues and what struggles some biracial kids may go through (and from what I read in #ownvoices reviews, it is one of the best portrayals out there). THEIR ROMANCE WAS HONESTLY SO PURE, OH MY HEART !! It is so true, gentle and heartwarming that I couldn’t help but root for them, they had their issues, which complicated things for them but they ultimately got past them.

All in all this was such a heartbreaking and -at the end- heart-mending story that deals with the loss of a parent, grief, toxic, abusive parenthood and the importance of having a strong support system. It is relentlessly hopeful, I loved how by the end not everything was fixed but you could see the light at the end of the tunnel.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read How to Make a Wish? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

The Paths we Choose – Where a Girl with Pink Hair Finds her *Maybe*

The Paths we Choose.png

Series : Lillac Town #2

Publication date : April 6th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Self-published

Genre : New Adult | Contemporary

Page Count : 118

Synopsis : Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.
Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.
Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.
 

Rating : 4 stars

The Paths we Choose Quote

*I received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review*

(No Spoilers)

Today is an exciting day, because today is the first time in forever I post a review less than a week after finishing the book. Anyway, I’m not here to brag but to review this delightful book. A few weeks back, as I was trying to find diverse New Adult books to read this one called The Melody of You and Me (which I yet have to read *hides in shame) kept coming up so I decided to add it to my TBR and follow the author and just as I did, she was sending out Arcs for the second book is the companion series, I applied and GOT IT. I was so excited because I was hearing only great things. And the people were right, Maria Hollis knows how to write her F/F romances.

The writing, is good, simple and sturdy. No over flowery imagery or anything which I really appreciated because this way I could give 100% of my focus to the romance. The Paths We Choose is written from Lily‘s point of view, a Brazilian girl who is such a peculiar character. And no, peculiar isn’t bad, I actually cherish her very much. Let me explain myself. Lily has resting bitch face (me), often comes off as bitchy because she’s blunt and sarcastic (also me), she’s the mom of the group (guess what? me!), I could relate so much to every decision she’s made that it started creeping me out -in a good way. All of this being said, she’s a fantastic character, caring, loving and passionate.

I really loved how Mayte balanced her out. She’s a bisexual black cuban girl, very chill and easy going, she reminds her to breathe when she gets too intense. She’s also very sweet and loving. Can we talk about their romance? (well, yeah we can since it’s the major part of the story) It’s the most precious thing, it’s also sexy, very sexy. Anyway, I loved how their relationship progressed from a casual thing to this situation where they were willing to give a chance to a serious relationship. I also deeply appreciated how the author included a talk about boundaries as well as what they were and weren’t okay with sex wise. That’s something all books should have but that is unfortunately not very common.

One little quibble I had is that it felt a tiny (really, just a tiny) bit rushed and I would’ve wanted a bit more build up but considering how short the book is (it’s a novella) it’s perfectly understandable. And another thing is how cheesy that last scene was, I laughed sooo much but it was kind of cute as well and the epilogue made up for it because it was the MOST cozy, adorable thing ever.

The Paths we Choose branches out from the romance a bit, it gets into Lily’s relationship with her estranged family especially her teenage brother as he tries to make amends and actually be there for her. Another non-romantic part I absolutely adored is her friendship with her roommates, they’re absolute squad goals. Hope, Karen and Anika are always there for her to smack her on the back of the head and push her in the right direction and they’re family to her.

All in all this was a very quick to read, cute story that made me want to read about all the other characters, I now want and will read The Melody of You and Me in the next few weeks and I’m looking forward to reading book 3 because it’s about Hope and Karen which I predicted from reading this one so I’m VERY excited. The Paths we Choose is coming out tomorrow, so be sure to get it, you won’t regret it!


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Paths We Choose? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

Where are the Positive Female Friendships in YA?

Female Friendships.png

Hello guys !

Here’s the thing, I was a blissfully naive child (I was never that but let’s pretend) who read MG books with friendships taking front center, where girls kick ass together, have sleepovers and watch out for each other. And then I switched to YA, and I want to ask what happened to that? It just disappeared. Since I started reading YA so much and looking at it from a critical eyes, I started noticing this very -unsettling- pattern. Good, sturdy, girl friendships are so very rare in that age group and it’s REALLY weird because I was a teenager not so long ago and I remember my friends being such a big part of my daily life that I couldn’t wrap my head around this “trend” of making friendships either inexistant, superficial or straight up toxic. What’s up with that?

So I started paying closer attention with each and every book, analyzing how those friendships really worked, hoping that things would get better and… I didn’t like what my conclusions were because:

  1. Things didn’t get better.
  2. I don’t really understand why it is so common to rally girls against each other.
  3. I understand now why so many girls think it’s okay to tear each other down.

All of this being said, I did gather a pattern, the things that are common among those books. So in this post, I’ll talk about those, their impact (because, again they aren’t “just books” and they actually influence people especially children and teenagers), then I’ll get into what I want to see and recommendations to finish it off.

I’m obviously not saying all books have horrid friendships in them, but the ones that have them are one too many, and the books that actually do it right should be boosted, so stay until the end for the recommendations.

1

Girl-on-girl hate

We’re in 2017, why is this even still a thing? Boom, done. No further arguments needed.

Okay, I’m kidding, come back. This is seriously so harmful especially when there is no basis for it and even worse when the basis is a guy. I’m aware that this is very heteronormative but it’s for a reason, I’ve never seen a book with a same gender romance or with non-binary folks have this pattern in them. Never. Anyway, back to our main subject. 65% of the time girls hate each other because of a guy that they both like, because that’s obviously more important than being a decent human-being. 25% of the time they hate each other just because (one of them is usually Queen-bee of the high school) and 10% it’s because of some ridiculous drama that could be worked out with a two sentence conversation.

I don’t think I need to explain why this is harmful but let’s do it anyway. How can we center useless hate in books for teens (not that it’s okay to do it in books for other age groups) and expect these girls to not pick up a thing or two – don’t argue with me on this, we may not realize it but our subconscious has its own schedule. How can a girl calling another girl a “bitch” among other names, slut shaming and othering ever be okay? When and who decided this would be a good idea? Because I’d like to have a nice chat about responsibility to readers and setting a good example.

In this category, you can also insert the main snowflake who doesn’t have girl friends because she’s special and not like other girls so she doesn’t get along with them. Spare me that nonsense.

Superficial or unexplored friendships

I have two scenarios here. Let’s start with the superficial friendship, the one where the girls bond over boys and practically never talk about anything else, the friendship is only used to explore things related to the romance which 1/ is ridiculous because we have a lot more to talk about and 2/ this furthers the stereotype of shallow girls that have nothing else to do but obsess over guys. Why would you do that? This is such an unrealistic portrayal and it also erases a lot of girl who are either, not interest in guys, or, OR, not interested in anyone really. This is how you perpetuate the false-normalcy of what “teenage girls should be like” at that age. And it’s a low blow.

Now with the unexplored friendship, this one is theoritically a good one. With emphasize on the theory part because we never get to see it. The MC supposedly has this best friend who loves her, supports her and everything but is she ever on page? No, or maybe rarely, even if they go to the same damn school. Which is unbelievable because how can you be friends with someone and they don’t show up for THE ENTIRE BOOK. That friendship is usually there as a page filler, nothing comes of it, it’s like the story is a few seconds late, like “the friend was here”. And I don’t like that. I want deep conversations and sleepovers and girl-days.

Toxic friendships

You know the kind right? Manipulative, makes the MC doubt everything including herself, makes fun of the MC and then says “she can’t take a joke” when she is hurt and so on and so forth. I can go all day. And what’s worse is that it’s never called out as bad or hurtful, the book just goes with the flow as this horrendous person sets the example of a horrendous friendship that should burn in hell, but it somehow tries to makes you think that it’s okay? yeah, no. Again, be careful with the subconscious, we absorb way more than we think we do.

Okay I’m done with the rant, now onto the positive stuff that, even though exists, we need a lot more of.

2

There’s only one way it should be, really. The only acceptable way to portray female friendships in books is by it being a healthy, reciprocated love. Girls who lift each other up, see the best in each other, accept each other, flaws and all. Girls who have hours long conversations that can be deep, nonsensical (because we all have those moments) or just light hearted and fluffy. It can even be about boys, it just needs to be *among* other things. Girls who talk about science or art, even both, who go out on spontaneous adventures or just to the grocery store, who can cry on each other’s shoulders and laugh until their stomachs hurt, who can sit in comfortable silence too and can give each other space when needed. Oh, and girls who can call each other out on their questionnable behaviors, that’s important too.

I’m turning soft here but those are the things that actually happen and that need to be portrayed so that girls know what to expect out of a friendship, that they deserve to be treated well, that they can’t settle for less just because they’re scared of being alone if they leave a bad friendship.

Or. I wouldn’t mind it turning into a romance huhu. Being that bestfriends to lovers is my favorite trope and I yet have to see an F/F romance like that.

3

As I predicted, I haven’t read nearly enough books for this so I asked some friends for help on twitter and SO MANY came through, so thank you ❤

Title = Goodreads page


That’s it until next time.

What do you think of the lack of Positive Female Friendships in YA?

Do you have any other book recommendations?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

To sum-up: March 2017

To Sum up March 2017

Hello guys !

This month, I’m on the extreme opposite of the mood spectrum compared to last month, I’ve been feeling good and happy and productive. And reading great books helped a lot with that.

1

I’m all sunshine, unicorn poops and rainbows this month and I DON’T KNOW WHY. Not that I am complaining. So let’s see what’s new. Oh I got some book mail at the start of the month, all Shades of Magic trilogy (although to be fair ACOL showed up like 10 days ago) and History is all you left me so that got the month off to a good start. I’ve also made new friends in the community (especially on Twitter), people I’ve been admiring for a long time and the huge dork that I am is exstatic about that. By the way, I’m very active on there and my tweet go from lame to hilarious, to serious so follow me if you don’t want to miss out.

What else happened? Oh I’ve been feeling very “whole” if that makes sense, like I’m finally seeing all of me and that’s probably responsible for most of my good mood, as well as the fact that I’m back to the gym so I’ve been pouring all my stress there.

Oh and you know how I’m a medstudent, right? so a couple of weeks ago we organized, a bunch of friends and I, a small event for kids in the Children’s teaching hospital where we got them Teddy Bears. Each one got one and they got to be the parent and the Teddy Bears were sick and we got to explain things and procedures to them so that they were less afraid of Doctors and they had a blast which made me incredibly happy. LOOK IT:

C8MNfEfXkAAhBCU.jpg

I also started mixing a bit of bullet journaling into my creative journal because God know I need all the help I can get to stay organized, especially with exams coming up soon again (yes it’s that time again. sigh)

2

fghjn .png

Title = Goodreads page

3

Title = Review

6

7.png

I still suck at blog-hopping.

To Sum Up Titles.jpg

Bingo Updates.jpg

See, told you last month I would catch up! Now, I’m right on track with my 3 books a month for the challenge. Although, now that I’m almost done with review copies, I’m pretty sure I can do a lot more than that. Plus, this month I read for of these, that’s how I caught up, so it’s totally doable.

4

I don’t know? I’m gonna wing it like a boss, that’s what’s gonna happen. I still have to figure out the month’s discussions since I’ve been short on those ones lately but I got a few ideas a couple of days ago so I just need to figure out my schedule. I also have a lot of reviews on hold and if I get around to writing all of them I might start posting 2 reviews a week or something like that, because THEY NEED TO GET OUT OF THE WAY.

Reading wise, I’m reading the last of my arcs this month which I’m SO unbelievably excited about, they all sound so amazing. So maybe after that, I’ll actually get to read the ebooks I own? Maybe. I’m also going to beta read a friend’s book which I’ve been ridiculously excited about which they have seen so they finally asked me to do it and I couldn’t refuse because I NEED THE FLOOF.

Lastly, I’m really hoping to pick up a Sensitivity project this month because I really need it, even though I’m not holding my breath haha. Anyway, if you could share my page, I’d forever be grateful.

5


That’s it until next time.

Did you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

What books did you read this month? Oh! And if you have any posts you think I should check out, leave them in the comments.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

My Sister Rosa – The Sneaky Book that caught me off guard

Sans titresdf.png

Publication date : January 27th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Allen & Unwin

Genre : Young Adult | Thriller

Page Count: 398

Synopsis : What if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year old sister?
‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’
I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.
As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.
Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa?
(From Goodreads)

Rating : 4 stars

fgh.png

(No Spoilers)

This book was NOT what I expected, I expected a wild ride, full of big plot points and scary scenes but it wasn’t that. It was sneaky, it made me think nothing too bad would happen, that it’s all going to be fine, but NOOO, everything went downhill and nothing was fine. I was set on 3 stars but, the last few chapters snatched that 4th star from me and I could do nothing about it, because that ending was good. Mind-blowing. It went in a direction I didn’t expect it to go and it was amazing.

The writing is good and simple, not too many artifices but it fits the narrative. The book is written from a 17 year old boy’s POV and I could see that in the way the book is written, the book has an authentic teenager’s voice, but not a normal one, more like a teenager who’s had to mature too quickly and that’s exactly how Che (the MC) is. My Sister Rosa is written in present tense but there are some parts written in the past that are flashbacks, which makes the back and forth clear and avoids any confusion as to where in the book’s timeline one event  or another stands.

The main problem I had for most of the book is that it read more like a contemporary than a thriller, it followed the MC’s daily life, his crush, his friendships more than anything else. There wasn’t the sense of imminent danger and urgency that usually comes built-in with the genre. But on chapter 35, I realized that was clever move on the author’s part, I believed that everything would be alright and forgot that I SHOULDN’T TRUST THE HAPPINESS, I forgot that this was a thriller and that things aren’t supposed to be fine so it came back and bit me. But I must give credit where credit is due THAT ENDING IS BLOODY BRILLIANT. That’s all you need to know.

The portrayal of psychopathy in this book was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and it’s the most accurate as well. Like it’s said in the book: Not all psychopaths like to kill. And that was little Rosa’s case, she’s always, scheming, plotting, figuring out ways to go around restrictions, loop-holes in the promises Che makes her keep to do things she perceives as fun, like hurting people, lying, manipulating, etc… but she never expressed a direct desire to kill people. And that too explains how the book lacked that sense of danger.

One thing I loved about this book is while still having a plot to follow, the author took the time to incorporate social issues matters that need more awareness like the so-called color blindness and how it isn’t a good thing, biraciality, faith, street harassment, police brutality, among other things.

In that same train of thought, the cast of characters is extremely diverse as well. There is black rep, white-korean rep, non-binary rep, F/F romance, etc… and none of it was forced or used as filler as some may think. It just felt natural that these people were the way they were. We need more of that, thanks.

Che was a very interesting character to follow. He is an average boy, very clever and doing everything he can to protect the world from his little sister since his parents are in deep denial about the fact that there is a great chance their daughter may be a psychopath. And that is such a huge responsibility to lay upon a teenage boy, and that made him very mature and cautious while still keeping some of his innocence. It’s a weird mixture, I know, but it works. What was the most striking is to read that despite everything, he still loved his sister more than anything, he was always there for her, to hear her out even if he knows that she’ll never be capable of reciprocating that love and genuine interest.

Rosa is the perfect little girl, sweet and smart. In appearance. But she’s always one second late to doing things that come naturally to other people like smiling, crying and laughing. As the book progresses and she finds new ways to do what she want to do, she gets creepier, scarier and starts making bigger, bolder gestures. She doesn’t have any filters with Che, he’s the only person she’s her wholesome self with, most of the conversations she had with him, the things she said to him made me shudder, especially since she did so with such calm and composure. It was normal to her. All of it.

I knew I wanted to read this book the moment I heard of it; And although it wasn’t what I expected, it was still a very fascinating read.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read My Sister Rosa If so, what did you think?

What did you think of the ending? Did you expect that to happen?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature

Relating to Characters: Is it necessary to Enjoy a Book?

Relating to Characters

Hello guys !

I have a confession, I’ve had a blogging brain fart this week , I spent all of last week trying to think up a discussion topic that I feel inspired to write about (I have quite a few in my notebook but none I really want to talk about right now) until literally yesterday (writing this on Sunday) when I finished a book that I liked significantly less than I expected. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the word, I just felt… disconnected, so I started wondering whether it was because I didn’t care for the main character, couldn’t relate to him or something else. (Spoiler, it’s something else). Anyway, I thought I’d bring my internal ramblings and debates to the blog, because that’s what it’s for, right?

As I started thinking about this topic and trying to work out how to format it (I still don’t know, going with the flow on this one) I got flashbacks of reviews I read from time to time of people saying “I couldn’t get into it because I couldn’t relate with the MC’s experiences” or “I adored this because it reminded me of when I went through similar things so I felt comforted” There’s nothing wrong with neither statement, I think I’ve made the latter before a few times, I think it’s a matter of how you approach books, the relationship we build with characters as avid readers is very personal.

This post is in no way about how things SHOULD be, it’s more a matter of giving my own perspective and starting a discussion with all of you on how important relating to characters is. Let’s get this started, shall we?

1.png

To me personally, wanting to relate to every character in order to enjoy the book is very limiting and a bit unrealistic, because I can’t expect to relate to EVERY character, not even most characters. Actually, the ones I relate to are very few, so can you see the flaw in that logic if I were to apply it on myself? First of all, Muslim characters are pretty rare, add to that, North African and you get ZERO (No, Morocco isn’t in the Middle East, thank you). I have NEVER fully related with a character. And my identity dictates a lot of how I see and live things. So, I can never find -for example- a romance that resembles something I’ve been through 100%, a family dynamic that’s like mine, career choices and what went into them that reflect my own. That being said, I still relate in *some* aspects.

Secondly, I read to expand my knowledge (for enjoyment as well, duh!) to discover experiences like mine elsewhere, people who may experience the same things and deal with them in completely different ways or people who experience things that are entirely different. People outside my ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion… That helps me understand the world as a whole, not just the bubble I’m living in.

2

If you remember, a few months back, I wrote a post about “Reading Books at the Wrong Time” and talked about relating too much, this is something similar to that. To me, relating is either a good thing that gives me all the fuzzies and/or makes me want to scream “YEEEES!”, makes me feel seen and understood or, OR it’s the exact opposite because relating tends to reveal things about yourself, or confront you to things you don’t really want to see in yourself, things you don’t like and would much rather ignore the existence of, or things you just didn’t know were there.

In a way, reading about experiences outside my own feels safer. There are books I read recently that I made me realize some things about myself, and although I adored said books, those are things I’m not 100% ready to face yet. And if I was still in denial, I think I would’ve hated them instead of being drawn to them like I am right now.

3

I honestly think that you don’t need to understand a character to enjoy reading about them, you don’t even need to like them. Empathy is the only emotion you need because just like in real life you don’t need to see where a person comes from to co-exist with them, feel for them, communicate with them, or even be friends with them, you don’t necessarily need to know in detail what goes on in the character’s brain to be able to read about them and even love their story. I don’t know, man! That’s just how I see things. Saying that you don’t like a story because you can’t relate could offend some people (not me, but I know it could) because that story might reflect their own experiences and that deligitimizes what they have gone through. Again, my opinion. You might not agree with it and that’s fine.

4

Oh yeah, I know about the “the characters were too villain-like for me to enjoy” or some variation of that and I. just. don’t. get it. I think those are the best characters. When well done, they’re fascinating and the most interesting to read about. To know how their brains work, how things click, fold and unfold and what drives them. I love it. I like likeable characters but I like these ones as much if not more. “Like” isn’t then word to be honest. I appreciate them more. And I sure as hell can’t relate with those. Morally grey? Maybe, in some aspects. But not the villains. Never the villains. And I like reading about them all the same.

Anyway, that was my take on relating to characters and I’d be very interested to see what all of you think.


That’s it until next time.

Do you need to relate with characters to enjoy a book?

What makes you like/dislike a character?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

signature