Midweek Mini Reviews #6

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Initially I was interested in Cecilia Vinesse’s Seven Days of You because of its Tokyo setting. However, I was a bit wary as YA novels that feature travel and foreign locales are usually a hit or miss with me (and the mixed reviews of this book didn’t help with that). Fortunately, Seven Days of You was a relatively easy read to get into which made it a perfect read for me to take along on my Japan trip. I loved that the romance aspect was kept mostly in the background, and that the main focus was on Allison getting ready to leave Japan and how it would affect her relationships with her friends. Additionally it’s also a coming of age story as Allison starts to come to terms with her complicated family dynamics. That being said, I did find the moments where Jamie and Allison bonded over their families and past to be adorable and it did endear me to their relationship more. Overall, a fairly enjoyable read that is perfect to bring along with you on vacation, especially if you’re planning to go to a place like Japan.

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake

The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake was a book that I had sitting on my shelf for some time. However, after meeting and chatting with the author at IFOA (the International Festival of Authors) last year I decided that I would take this book along with me to read while travelling in Japan.

What I liked about The Translation of Love is that fact that we get multiple perspectives in the story, all of which are important to the plot. I really appreciated the opportunity to get to know all the major players in the story as well as their motivations for their actions and choices.

A thought-provoking, and heartfelt novel that is perfect for all ages. The Translation of Love is a well-researched novel that does a good job at depicting what life is like in a post-war country for those who have to remain behind in addition to showing the devastating traumas of all who were involved.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

dimAuthour:
Sandhya Menon
Format:
ARC, 380 pages
Publication date:
May 30th 2017
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
When Dimple Met Rishi is a novel that at least in the circles that I run it, has received a bit of hype. And while I was wary at first since it was pitched as an “arranged marriage” romantic comedy, I gave in to since I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Bollywood films.

After finishing the book, which I read way before its release ( I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy) I can say that I was pleasantly surprised to find that When Dimple Met Rishi struck just the right balance between its romantic comedy plot and its cultural aspects. I adored both Dimple and Rishi although I connected more with Dimple her wish to be independent and not wanting to sacrifice her dreams. This is something countless young women can relate to as often we feel that we are “forced” to choose between having a career and having a family.

While it is without a doubt that When Dimple Met Rishi is a romantic comedy, it was refreshing to have a story that was more than just a love story. Both Dimple and Rishi’s have a complex relationship with their family, who regardless of whether they’d admit it or not do have a major impact on their lives . Additionally, I enjoyed the friendship that develops between Dimple and with her roommate, Celia as it was authentic in that it had its imperfections along with its perfections.

When Dimple Met Rishi is undeniably THE YA romance novel that you should pick up whether you are in search of more diversity within the romantic comedy genre (can it be a movie already?) or you just want a book with a sweet love story that will charm you with its genuine characters and relationships.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

theaAuthour:
Karole Cozzo
Format:
E-Galley
Publication date:
May 16th 2017
Publisher:
Swoon Reads
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
It’s not uncommon for countless little girls (and even some little boys) to have a desire to dress up as princesses and play make-believe. However there are a few that take it a step further and actually become a beloved character at a theme park. This is the backdrop for Karole Cozzo’s latest novel, The Truth about Happily Ever After, which follows Alyssa whose summer job has her dressing up as a Cinderella at a theme park.

The Truth about Happily Ever After was actually one of the two most anticipated reads from Raincoast Books (they distribute Macmillan titles in Canada) and as soon as the title appear on Netgalley, I immediately sent in my request. And fortunately, it did not disappoint!

Turning the typical “princess”/”Cinderella” story kind of on its head, I liked how realistic the relationships and friendships were. Even after a relationship breakdown, it was refreshing how no one was painted as a one-dimensional “villain”. Sure, a couple of the characters could have handled a certain situation better, however, they’re only human and still young. I also felt that Alyssa’s feelings were warranted. Basically, if you are a romantic who loves an adorable, and sweet romantic comedy or are a fan of Disney and/or Disney princesses, you will love The Truth about Happily Ever After. I know I did, as it was kind of exciting to glimpse behind the scenes at what it is like to work at an amusement park as one of the “characters”.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Waiting on Wednesday #24 | Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

wed Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

Synopsis:

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.

Jenna Evans Welch’s Love & Gelato, is probably one of my favourite travel themed YA novels so I was dying to see what Welch would write next. Turns out Love & Luck is a sort of spin-off of Love & Gelato (the covers even match), as it focuses on Lina’s friend Addie. I’m definitely looking forward to the Lina and Ren appearance as well as Addie’s story which promises a road trip through Ireland as well as some brother and sister bonding which I haven’t seen as much in books. Love & Luck is out in stores on August 29, 2017!

What books are you “waiting” on this week?

[Blog Tour] Book Review | The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

 

Being a huge Emery Lord fan, I am thrilled to be part of the Canadian blog tour for Emery Lord’s latest book, The Names They Gave Us which is now out in stores.

To help celebrate its releases and as a part of the tour each of us bloggers on the Canadian blog tour got to ask Emery a question. So be sure to stop by the other blogs on the blog tour to see what everyone asked her and to see her answers.

My question for Emery was …

Your books always make me think of summer. Since this one takes place at a summer camp, what books are on your summer camp reading list?

Below is her answer …

“There’s a Fourth of July scene in the book that came to me while listening to Ryan Bingham’s  SUNRISE. But my most summer of all records is Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. All 12 songs, start to finish. It feels like everything summer is, full of longing and possibility and moments of glory.”

I don’t know about you guys, but those songs definitely give me the summer feels.

*********************************************************************

Authour:names
Emery Lord
Format:
ARC, 384 pages
Publication date:
May 16th 2017
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
So basically, The Names They Gave Us pretty much confirms that I’ll read and enjoy anything that Emery Lord writes. Just like with her previous book, I also went back and forth on whatever or not I’d read this one as I tend to stay away from any book with religious themes. However, I love the way it was portrayed in this book as it was done in a respectful, non-judgemental and not preachy manner.

The Names They Gave Us follows Lucy Hansson, whose summer plans fall apart when she learns that her mother’s cancer is back. On top of that, her boyfriend has decided that they need a “pause” and her parents, her making her attend what she refers to as “the hippie camp” instead of their bible camp. These events cause her to get out of her comfort zone and eventually find her own “people”.

As with Emery Lord’s other novels, the prose is gorgeous and Emery Lord truly has a talent for setting the scene and the showcasing emotion in her characters. And of course true to form, the friendships that she writes are just perfect (in particular the friendship that forms between Anna and Lucy), it kind of made me feel like I missed out on something special, having never been to an overnight summer camp. I also felt that Lucy came off as an authentic person as she had her flaws and was incredibly relatable.

While not a perfect novel (there were some parts where the pacing seemed off and the ending felt slightly abrupt, especially after the major reveal), The Names They Gave Us is lively and powerful coming of age story about love, loss, family, friendship and the magic of summer. A must read for fans of contemporary YA fiction, those who can’t wait for summer to get here and even for those who are nostalgic about their summer camp days.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

geekAuthour:
Jen Wilde
Format:
ARC, 440 pages
Publication date:
March 14th 2017
Publisher:
Swoon Reads
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Back in high school, I was in a group of self-professed “artsy” anime geeks. And as we all had fairly strict parents, our dream was to one day attend Anime North. (A fan run anime convention) Which was probably why I enjoyed Queens of Geek so much, I could definitely relate to the excitement of attending to a convention on your own and with your closest friends for the first time.

Queens of Geek is told from the perspective of two girls who are best friends. Taylor is a passionate Queen Firestone fan girl who is prone to panic attacks and in love with her other best friend, Jamie. Meanwhile, Charlie is a YouTuber and actor who’s still recovering from her public breakup with her co-star and discovering that much to her surprise that her crush on special con guest, Alyssa Huntington might not be so one-sided after all.

This is another book that accurately captures what it’s truly like attending to a convention for the first time with your friends. And for those of you who have been to a convention, you guys can definitely relate to the atmosphere in the book as well as some of the experiences of the characters. (Although the majority of us probably can’t relate to having access to VIP backstage passes) On the other hand, if you haven’t been to a convention, I believe the book does a fairly decent job of transporting you to the convention by having you live vicariously through the characters.

Queens of Geek is a book filled with tons of amazing nerdiness and geekiness. I adore the positive portrayal of female friendships and relationships. Charlie, Taylor and even Jamie are all so supportive of each other and their dreams that it’s just so heartwarming. If you’re looking for a delightful book that will bring a smile to your face, then consider picking up Queens of Geek.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

firstsightAuthour:
Josh Sundquist
Format:
e-Galley
Publication date:
January 3rd 2017
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I came across Josh Sundquist’s Love and First Sight from an excerpt I read of it from the Buzz Books 2016: Young Adult Fall/Winter sampler which was compiled by the Publishers Lunch group at BEA. I liked what I read, and was excited to continue the story when I was fortunate enough to receive an e-galley.

I’ll admit that when I received a review copy of Love and First Sight I was in a desperate mood for a lighter, contemporary read. However, regardless of my mood it was difficult not to enjoy this charming character driven story. Especially as the writing was particularly gifted in describing art, and the everyday images that those of us with sight take for granted.

16 year old, William has been blind his entire life and as a result he’s developed ways to get around in his life without relying too much on others. Accustomed to being on his own, he definitely wasn’t expecting to make friends when he starts attending a regular school. One of my favourite things in Love and First Sight was the quirkiest group of friends that William joins. They are just incredibly open and accepting of each other, and although I disagree with their decision to lie to William about Cecily they were all truly exactly what William needed. I also found in the developing relationship between William and Cecily adorable though it was a slow burn romance for the majority of the novel and felt rushed at the conclusion.

This book is amazing in its portrayal of blindness and illustrating what it’s like for a person who has been blind for your entire life. Yes it’s difficult, but if you’ve lived your life a certain way without knowing anything else you end up developing ways to cope around what others view as a handicap. Additionally, I found it refreshing that it is made clear that William’s journey is just beginning when he “regains” his sight. Because for a person who has been blind their entire life, having the opportunity to see again is not just a matter of “seeing” again. It’s overwhelming, messy and it definitely requires tremendous amounts of hard work, commitment and dedication. However, as it is made clear in this book if it’s what you truly desire, then you can make it worth it in spite of all the obstacles and challenges.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

1000thAuthour:
Katharine McGee
Format:
ARC, 440 pages
Publication date:
August 30th 2016
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Imagine a world, where people all live in a single residential/retail tower that has everything one could need or want. As a result, you would never have to leave your own building, ever. This is the setting of Katharine McGee’s debut novel, The Thousandth Floor. The interesting thing about it is that while the novel is set in the year 2118, it was actually inspired by a real life 2013 project called Sky City China, and while it has since been abandoned in real life it does not mean that in the future we would have a tower or even towers like the one featured in, The Thousandth Floor.

Told from the 5 different, unique perspectives I found that some of the voices were more captivating than the others. For instance, I liked Eris and Avery’s storylines and their friendship with each other but found the characters of Watt and Leda (who was a “bit:” of a hot mess) to be incredibly annoying. Still for the majority of the novel, I flew through the book at a fairly fast pace thanks in part to the authour’s writing style in addition to the way the chapters were set up. As The Thousandth Floor is only the first book in a series, there is definitely a cliff-hanger ending with a couple of the major loose ends, which has me intrigued as to how the author with proceed in book 2. (I’m hoping for some revenge and for Leda to get her comeuppance)

All that being said, I do think fans of TV shows like Gossip Girl and even Pretty Little Liars with enjoy this one as it does take some dark and twisty turns. The Thousandth Floor is also following suit with those two series as it has been optioned for an ABC television series. And seeing as the most notable thing about this book is its world building and setting, I am rather looking forward to the day when this book hits the small screen.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

everAuthour:
Erin Summerill
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
December 27th 2016
Publisher:
Harcourt Childrens Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
If you read my Raincoast Fall Preview post, then you would recall that Ever the Hunted was one of my most anticipated Fall/Winter 2016 releases. Thus I was beyond excited when I was approved for an e-galley of it.

Initially, Ever the Hunted was everything I was expected from it. The world building and descriptions were exquisite and the plot was compelling. I found myself speeding through the first half of the book. However, somewhere along the way I became slightly bored with the story. The protagonist, Britta wasn’t as kick butt as I hoped and her romance wasn’t as swoon worthy as I thought it would be. That being understood I did delight in the revelations and reveal of Britta’s past in addition to whom her mother and what it means to her. And I also found her voice and reactions to be refreshing, realistic given her age and situation.

Overall I felt that maybe the synopsis of Ever the Hunted (or rather my interpretation of it) misled me a bit into thinking that the book would have more of a revenge twist in addition to a cat and mouse type of dynamic between the lead and the guy who was accused of killing her father. Instead, I found that the entire misunderstanding was cleared up early on, leading to a jump into the romance aspect of Cohen and Britta’s relationship which for the majority was lacking in chemistry. All that being understood, however, Ever the Hunted does a decent job at setting up the premise for the series and the ending, while confusing also left me a bit curious as to what will happen in the book following in the series.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

sunalsoAuthour:
Nicola Yoon
Format:
ARC; 349 pages
Publication date:
November 1st 2016
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m probably one of the few bloggers who did not pick up Everything, Everything. To be frank, I didn’t feel that the book was for me. However, the person I passed my advance copy of the book to (my cousin) remains obsessed with the book as are several other bloggers who I know.

Yet Nicola Yoon’s sophomore novel, The Sun is also a Star had a synopsis that had me intrigued. And despite its comparisons to Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, a book which I could not finish I actually thoroughly enjoyed The Sun is also a Star. For those of you who have read both, you’ll definitely be able to appreciate the obvious similarities between the two, however The Sun is also a Star truly does stand out as its own unique story.

Taking place all in a single day, The Sun is also a Star tells not only the love story of Natasha, a teenage girl who wants to save her family from being deported and Daniel the younger son of a Korean immigrant family struggling to live up to his parents’ expectations but also the story of those they meet on their adventure. Dispersed among the chapters telling Natasha and Daniel’s story are short chapters on various cultural, scientific and historical topics in addition to the stories of the other characters.

What I loved about The Sun is also a Star is that Natasha and Daniel both feel like real teenagers facing real issues, including the cultural struggles that ring true for those of us who were not born in our current country or who are the children of immigrant parents. I adore how families are portrayed in the novel and it’s refreshing that we are given the back story to characters like Natasha’s father and Daniel’s father who on the surface both appear to be difficult men.

Another thing I adore about the book, was Nicola Yoon’s prose which made for some gorgeous and heartbreaking storytelling. Though the story at times was disjointed and non-linear, I appreciated the fact we are given glimpses into the futures of various characters. Furthermore, I liked how Yoon demonstrates that we are all connected, and how one person’s decision can have major impacts on another’s life without them even realizing it. It makes the reader stop and consider how their actions can affect others. That being said the lawyer in the book annoyed me to no end, and it was heartbreaking how his actions ended up affecting both Natasha and Daniel.

The Sun is also a Star is infinitely more than your average love story, sure it’s the story of Natasha and Daniel but it’s also the story of their parents without whom they would not exist. It’s also the story of all the other people in the book. After all, your story is without a doubt your story, but it does not exist alone. As humans, we are constantly interacting with others, all who have their own stories that are just as important as yours. Reading a book like The Sun is also a Star reminds us that no one story is any less important than another and that you should never discount the stories of others.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Authour:flames
Sarah Raughley
Format:
ARC, 353 pages
Publication date:
November 22nd 2016
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The moment I heard it about a book that was pitched for fans of Sailor Moon, and Avatar in addition to featuring a group of kick butt female leads, I was in and Fate of Flames became probably my most anticipated YA title from Simon and Schuster’s fall catalogue.

Fate of Flames is about four girls who all have control over an element resembling fire, water, or air. What’s intriguing about these girls is that there are always four of them, when one dies, another girl comes into her powers in addition to all the memories of her predecessors. This brings us to our protagonist, Maia whose effigy powers awaken during a lockdown at her school. This causes her to realize that her predecessor, the fire effigy has Natalya has died. She is at that point quickly thrust into the world of the effigies and fighting phantoms.

What I enjoyed about Fate of Flames was that it incorporated modern elements in a fantasy/science fiction story. Social media is a major element in the story, as are online forums which Maia tends to go on even before she became an effigy. I also liked the fact that Maia existed as a fangirl before she became an effigy as it makes this more relatable. Interestingly enough, I think the book took a realistic approach to how someone who is a fangirl transition into become one of the “heroes” they looked up to. Maia is definitely out her comfort zone, and it was refreshing to have a protagonist who doesn’t just easily adapt into her new powers and her role as a fighter, especially since it’s clear that Maia did not have any pre-existing badass attributes or abilities. Unfortunately, not much happens in Fate of Flames, the reader is thrown a great deal of history/backstory and information with little explanation. Furthermore, there isn’t much fighting until the near the conclusion of this book. Maia, the protagonist is incredibly useless for the majority of the book and instead her role is relegated to gathering the other effigies. Once the four girls, Belle, Lake and Chae Rin are gathered that’s when the story proceeds to move forward.

Overall as a first book in a trilogy, I’d consider Fate of Flames to be a decent read. I just hope all the hints, back stories, and mysteries lead up to a thrilling and satisfying story. My interest is definitely piqued, at least for book two which I hope will focus more on the girls learning to work more effectively as a team. Fate of Flames is a book for those who desire a female group focused fantasy novel that is refreshingly light on the romance.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

mondaysAuthour:
Jessica Brody
Format:
ARC, 346 pages
Publication date:
August 2nd 2016
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve an advocate of having a palate cleanser read in between or after reading too much of a certain genre or type of book. Thus, after reading a few books set in and about life in Israel, I felt the immense craving for a fluffy contemporary read. And Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays was just what I needed.

Are you guys, familiar with the movie, Groundhog Day? The movie basically concerns a guy who is forced to repeat the same day again and again until he finally gets it right. A Week of Mondays has a similar premise, however in this case its sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks, who after having the worst Monday asks the universe for another chance to get it right. Eventually what starts out as Ellie attempting to prevent her boyfriend from breaking up with her, gradually turns into an opportunity for her to look outside herself and pay attention to the other people in her life.

What I loved with regards to A Week of Mondays was how it showed that everything happens for a reason and that Ellie needed to do the right thing in various different aspects of her life, and not just her love life in order to break the cycle. Additionally being a fan of playlists myself, I appreciated the fact that Ellie had numerous playlists to reflect her moods, and I enjoyed looking up the songs that were on them. Ellie herself is relatable, as is her reaction to having to repeat her Monday again and again. From denial, disbelief to shock and despair it’s just the reaction an ordinary person would have to her situation.

Jessica Brody is back in her element with A Week of Mondays, a feel good YA contemporary novel. A Week of Mondays is the ideal read if you are in need of a lighter read or are having a bad day and need a pick me up since when Ellie finally gets her Monday right it’s truly right and worth it in the end.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

[Blog Tour] Book Review | Burn by Paula Weston

Burn_BlogTour_600x300

Authour:burn
Paula Weston
Format:
Trade paperback, 448 pages
Publication date:
June 7th 2016
Publisher:
Tundra Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Where do we fit in the universe? We exist in this world but we’re tied to other, unseen worlds. We are Rephaim, children of the forsaken. What future exists for us if we find the fallen? What future exists for us if we don’t?” – p. 20

When a series you’ve followed faithfully for years, finally concludes it can leave you with a few incredibly mixed feelings. I can’t believe that it’s been three years since the first Rephaim book was released in North America, to be honest it feels much longer. Since Burn is the final book in the Rephaim series, it may be difficult for me to write this review without spoiling elements from the previous book, however I will attempt my best to avoid spoilers that aren’t in the synopsis of the book.

After a quick recap of the series so far, which I appreciated, Burn begins immediately after the events of Shimmer. Gabe’s memories have mysteriously returned to her, and it was a pleasant surprise that she did not revert completely back to her former self. Instead her struggles to reconcile the past year with whom she once came off as both realistic and refreshing.

As a result of her memories returning, Burn initially switches between flashbacks and the present day events. Finally we receive answers to all our burning questions regarding Jude, Gabe and Rafa. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in the reveal of why Gabriella and Rafa “hate” each other as it all came down to personal drama. That being understood, I did feel that Gabe’s extreme reaction was fitting given her personality and pride and that the embarrassment and fear of humiliation by others that she felt was realistic to her character. On the other hand, I appreciate the complexity of the sibling dynamics between Gabe and Jude, and it was satisfying to learn how they ended up the way they did.

I think one of the reasons why the Rephaim series has appealed to me in spite of the fact that I typically do not enjoy fantasy or supernatural fiction is that the series contains numerous elements that can also be found in contemporary fiction. The complex relationships are all there, both familial and romantic on top of well written friendships. Furthermore, I love books with action which Burn definitely does not lack. There are several thrilling twists and turns and the final battle does not disappoint.

Burn as a conclusion to the Rephaim series was extremely satisfying as it tied the major loose ends up while leaving room for further exploration of the world later on. For instance, given the position that Jude finds himself in I would love a spin off that focused on him. Ever since I started the Rephaim series, it has been one of my go-to recommendations for fantasy fans in addition to reluctant contemporary fiction fans who are not that keen on the fantasy genre. And with this conclusion, Burn has cemented the Rephaim series as one of my go-to recommendations for anyone who is looking for an action packed story with multi-layered characters and relationships

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

looseendsAuthour:
Carrie Firestone
Format:
ARC, 346 pages
Publication date:
June 7th 2016
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve never been good with dealing with death, the only people I’ve lost (to date) that I knew well enough to miss were my grandmothers and my mother’s brother. And maybe that’s why I found Carrie Firestone’s The Loose Ends List such a soothing and comforting read since its approach to death and dying is such a refreshing change. Having a YA novel tackle it in such a matter of fact manner is both impressive as it’s essential to obtain different perspectives when it comes to a controversial issue like a person choosing to die via physician assisted suicide.

So, what is a loose ends list? As the protagonist, Maddie explains it’s a list of things that you want to accomplish before you move on to either college (similar to Maddie) or even before you are to die (similar to Maddie’s grandmother). In that sense it’s akin to a “bucket list”. This remains a theme throughout the novel that ties up nicely in the novel’s conclusion.

While Maddie is technically the protagonist of The Loose Ends List, it’s her Gram that steals every scene she’s in. I adore the way she just owns who she is and is unapologetic. And without spoiling too much, I must say that she stays true to who she is with no regrets til the very conclusion. To be honest, I wouldn’t have minded it if I had a grandmother similar to her.

Another element of this novel that lead to me picking it up was how travel would be a major factor in the novel as the entire family boards a cruise that takes them around the world. While at times it was riddled with clichéd stereotypes of the various locales as evident in the pages detailing Maddie’s trip to Taiwan, it was at other times enjoyable to witness how being forced to travel together as one gigantic insane family unit impacted each of the individuals.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read for me that had me tearing up enormously by the conclusion. And I appreciated how realistic the novel was at capturing how different ages and personalities come to grips with those who are dying and the (eventual) death of a beloved family member. The Loose Ends List was an unforgettable read concerning endings and new beginnings with extremely flawed characters, however that is what makes them appear more human and as a result, by the conclusion the characters feel as if they are your family too.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | All the Feels by Danika Stone

feelsAuthour:
Danika Stone
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
June 7th 2016
Publisher:
Swoon Reads
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
During the Raincoast TeenReads Spring/Summer Preview, I mentioned that All the Feels was one of the two books from the preview. (The other book was Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn which I reviewed earlier on the blog) While I was too late to obtain a physical ARC for review, I was fortunate that they decided to have e-galleys for this title and thus I was given an e-galley for my review purposes.

All the Feels follows college freshman, Liv who is a fan of the fictional show, Starveil. When her favourite character is killed off, she is devastated and decides to initiate a campaign to “resurrect” him using the skills and resources she has at her disposal which includes her best friend Xander who is an actor. It was interesting that while All the Feels is a story cocnerning fandom and all things geeky, it also manages to touch on several serious topics.

For instance, her depression after seeing her favourite Starveil character killed off though not explicitly stated may also have a connection to the fact that the show was something she and her father used to watch when he was still alive. In fact, it seems that both Liv and her mother are not over his death and it causes dysfunction and tension between the two. Speaking of family dysfunction, I found it tragic how her mother tried to control her one minute and left Liv to the mercy of her Gary (her mom’s boyfriend) who was just plain horrible. Oddly enough the conflict involving Liv and her family is later brushed aside as the fandom aspect of the story takes over. In this sense, maybe the entire plot with Liv and her mother was better off being left out of the story since in the finale the family issues are left unresolved and made as if they were not that significant in the first place.

Other than the few loose ends that were left hanging by the conclusion, All the Feels was basically the book I expected it to be which I adored. The romance is swoony and the fandom aspects, especially the convention scenes were definitely on point. Liv’s first convention experience reminded me of mine, except in my case I didn’t have a “helpful” (and charming) guide to it similar to what she had.

If you are a part of a fandom, and can understand what it’s like to become overly invested, emotionally in it or if you’ve ever found your “people” either in person or online through one of your fandoms then you will definitely be able to relate to Danika Stone’s All the Feels. A friend of mine asked me if All the Feels was anything resembling Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl and in a sense, maybe it does since both books focus on fandom culture. However, while I did not particularly adore Fangirl I adored the quirky, and sweet geek fluffiness of All the Feels.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.