Book Review 31: When Dimple Met Rishi

 “She’d seen what his soul was made of. And she liked it” (pg 367).

28458598STORY:
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (380 pages). First, I really liked the cover (and the controversial “iced coffee” back cover) and the rom-com flare though I’ve to say I got tired of the constant kissing. You have to drizzle kisses into a story like sprinkle cheese, not too much. On another note, I just loved Dimple’s name; it’s so cute.

There’s not much focus on the actual coding that takes place (it’s lampshaded by Dimple herself). Instead, living up to parents’ expectations, back-and-forth with Dimple/Rishi, and a dance contest takes up the bulk of the book. If you don’t mind the lack of coding, you will probably enjoy the non-linear plot.

Also, I was amazed at YA fiction characters communicating about sex before having it, and even putting it off to a later date.

CHARACTERS:
Disclaimer: Yes, we know Dimple “took over too much”, can’t keep her fists to herself, and basically played yo-yo with her relationship. And thought she was a special snowflake. It’s understood.

Dimple is a brash character that still is likable in some portions of the book. It’s really hard to pull off characters like her because they usually come off as edgy jerks. However, that’s not entirely the case here. If some of her narrative thoughts could’ve been tweaked a little, I think more readers would have liked her.

Rishi is a cinnamon roll. It’s super-refreshing to have a male (romantic) lead, in a genre filled with angsty bad boys who can’t communicate, that speaks his mind and is kind in a gentleman sort-of-way. I actually wanted him to find another girl who suited him better. Dimple, of course, wanted the best for him, but she forced him to make decisions often.

OVERALL:
I didn’t hate this story. I rather liked some of the details and descriptions and diverse characters. Whoa. That’s a lot of “d” words. Anyway, I don’t feel as strongly as others, so I recommend you read it. 3 stars/5.

[SPOILERS START HERE]

Continue reading “Book Review 31: When Dimple Met Rishi”

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Book Review #28: Calling My Name

33829748Aye! I’m always excited for new fiction with black leads!

STORY:

“‘You can’t control everything, Taja,’ Daddy says in a soft voice, eyes closed to the sun.

‘I know, Daddy. But I can control a lot.'” (pg 227).

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani (384 pages) explores Taja Brown’s life. It is something of a fictional biography of a young, African-American girl growing up in a conservative Christian background from childhood to adulthood. Of course, you can expect first kisses, periods, and dealings with f*boys.

I think it is a good read if you enjoy “slice-of-life/coming of age” stories. However, the writing is so flowery that I get confused often.

I can emphasize with Taja’s upbringing as I have grown up in a Christian home as well though my parents weren’t overbearing with our faith.

Still, unfortunately, the narrative of an ultra-conservative character usually isn’t that fun.

One of my favorite parts is when Taja feels guilty for reminding her father about a promised birthday present. That is a really relatable moment when you first feel “child guilt” because you know your parents don’t have the money but you want something.

Also, I realized mid-way through the story that this is set somewhere between 80’s-90’s. Some of the references are dated like them listening to Johnny Gill. Chile, who out here listening to JG?

over it eye roll GIF

Okay, okay… I’m one of those people. XDsoul train life of new edition GIF by BET

A few days ago I was just listening to Johnny Gill’s old Arsenio Hall performances. (yes, I know the gif is from Soul Train).

CHARACTERS:

Not too many characters were memorable. I enjoyed the glimpses we saw of Taja’s family and would have liked a bit more beyond her mother always disciplining her.

Taja is cool, but she is very whiny and a bit annoying in her narrative.

Naima, Taja’s younger sister, is a character that I wished we could have seen more of. Unlike Taja, she’s more sure of herself. Taja and Naima’s sister relationship is barely displayed save for a few conversations in their older years.

Damon, the older brother, was okay. I like how he tried to overcompensate for his thinning headline at 15.

OVERALL:

This isn’t a book I would necessarily read again, but it is nice experiencing Taja’s adolescence with her.

Mini Review: #8 Not Now, Not Ever

33602144It’s been a million years or at least a frozen period of time since a review.

College has really turned up (not turnt up; there’s a subtle difference :p) the difficulty level in some classes.

Anyway, this review is based on the ARC (Advance Reader Copy), which I won in a Goodreads giveaway. This book comes out November 21st!

Also, I have never seen/read Much Ado about Nothing so even though this is a retelling of it, I was new to it all… 😛

STORY:

“I took in a breath so deep that it burned the back of my throat, killing a sob before it could start. I could taste the eucalyptus baked into my sweater” (pg 90).

Perhaps, not the best quote to start a review with, but it embodies the wonderfully quirky vibe of this book well. Also, I really love the trivia/language/sci-fi bits that are constantly present.

The premise of  Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson (320 pages) is about a teen going to a genius camp with elimination games as a way to win a scholarship to her dream college. This college is important for Elliot Garboche to take control of her destiny instead of being pigeonholed into to enlisting in the army like her mother or becoming a lawyer like her father and step-mother desire her to be. Of course, Ever can’t let her overbearing family members know her true intentions to break away from the mold, so she lies and goes to the camp under the guise of Ever Lawrence. Getting into the camp was easy but staying is harder than ever!

The romance is in the background and any progress between Ever and Brandon is slow. Depending on who you are, that might be a great quality this story exhibits. For me, I don’t mind the slow start and the focus on the camp itself, but the romance isn’t aww-worthy (i.e. no fangirling moments).

Well… The first kiss scene was incredibly cheesy, but the line, “He smiled. ‘I really like you, Elliot” warmed my little young adult heart.

Emmys emmys blush tracee ellis ross emmys 2016 GIF

CHARACTER:

This book has some nice diversity considering the genius camp has contestants from every race and background. For example, the main character Ever has significant Creole ancestry.

Eh, my first impression of Elliot (better known as Ever) was a bit prickly. I thought she was a little combative against a counselor named Cornell in their first meeting. Throughout the story, lowkey Ever needed to mind her own business. What’s it to you that someone didn’t solve a Rubik’s cube? Anyway, she was mad intrusive and a bit judgemental, though the latter is a very common realistic trait she wasn’t a character that I actually liked. I think the reason that particular personality trait turned me off is because I try my hardest not to assume things about people (despite it being a knee-jerk human behavior).

However, I like that Ever was very confident about herself especially being a tall girl who did martial arts and loved sci-fi books, especially Octavia Butler.

The rest of the cast never really stood out to me. I’m sure others will connect with the quirky, competitive array of characters, but I was not personally invested in them.

OVERALL:

“Do you ever miss things before they’re over?” (pg 174)

It’s certainly worth a read. Not Now, Not Ever is also a fun way to learn a bunch of cool trivia with a tiny bit of mystery and romance.

The ending also had a good dash of realism because sometimes YA-fiction, in general, can end either downright angsty or too fairytale happily-ever-after-ish.

 

Monday: What I’m Reading Now 6/26/17

Hey guys, I thought I would give a little update because I’m always reading even if I don’t review.

What I’m Reading Now:

31177599The Adventures of John Blake by Phillip Pullman (illustrated by Fred Fordham).

I have read 23 pages so far. I somewhat have an idea of what’s going on.

 

What I Read Last Week:

33956433City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Pretty good! A little slow and dragged at times but good. I was so mad at first when I thought Tina was in love with her half-brother. I was like all these cute Kenyan boys and she got to like her brother!? With that being said (no, he wasn’t her half bro after all), I didn’t care for the romance at all and didn’t see why Michael was so pretty. Throw stones if you wanna, but the book could’ve done without Michael and not missed a beat.

I absolutely loved Bug Eye and detested Ketchup pretty much like everyone else did.

There were some heavy themes of rape, survivorship, and family bonds. I liked Tina, but I didn’t exactly care or not care for her. I know some people didn’t like it, but I was genuinely surprised at who the big boss was.

Overall, it was good (but too long) and I wouldn’t read it again.

28686840Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

People on Goodreads were so maddddT (yes, I meant the T) that a fat girl wanted a relationship and with a good-looking guy at that. What? Can’t round girls desire to be loved and be with attractive people? And yes, it’s dumb and unrealistic for her to think she would marry and have a kid with her (first?) boyfriend, but she was also a teenage girl. Let her have her dreams.

With all that being said, I didn’t enjoy this book. It was hard to read through Jack being so jerky (when he could’ve just told his family!). I liked Libby’s narrative better but she was whiny too.

I also really liked the sprinkle of diversity since Jack and his brothers were multi-ethnic and the few diverse school friends. I was surprised when Carolina the super-model pretty, popular mean girl was dark-skinned because generally that character trope is written as a blonde or brunette white girl. Anywho, Carolina was too flat of a character too.

I had never known about prosopagnosia, so this book definitely brought awareness to me.

Overall, I don’t recommend the book because it ended too cliche and high school love is oh-so-special and long-lasting. And I just couldn’t STAND Jack’s cheating dad. He just burned me up.

30419642Kid Savage by Joe Kelly and Ilya

Hated it. I didn’t like the art, story, or characters. Would not read again.

 

 

 

34057436Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special by Rugg and Maruca

It was okay, pretty cute. I found Jesse’s school friends to be adorable.

 

 

 

 

imwayr-2015-logo
Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

 

Book Review #24: Genius: The Game

30532527This book needed some mayonnaise or BBQ sauce because it was dry!

STORY:

“Cameras are eyes… Microphones are ears… (pg 294)”

In Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout (320 pages), Rex Huerta’s a regular sixteen-year-old boy who has a knack (and need) for hacking. Unfortunately, his parents are at risk for being deported from the U.S, Teo, his older brother, has run away from home, and school isn’t much fun for him. With all these things weighing on Rex’s shoulders, the announcement of the genius Kiran’s youth-hacking competition sounds promising, not to mention he needs a quantum computer. Of course, Rex’s internet hacker friends Tunde and Painted Wolf are going to be there for their own reasons.

This book needed more detail. To know a character is “tall, thin, and broad-shouldered (pg 125)” is not enough for me! Does the character have dimples, sunken in cheekbones, and are their clothes loose or ironed to perfection? These are the things I want to know!

The visuals like the diagrams, drawings, and photographs were a nice aesthetic, but they felt like a crutch sometimes.

Also, Rex’s—actually, everyone’s— narrative was dry. And there were too many info-dumps that could’ve been weaved into the story better.

There’s a little attraction between Rex and Cai (Painted Wolf). I mean they were alright. Depending on how old Kiran was, I liked him with her better if only for the Batman/Catwoman angle.

 nsfw emotions smh disappointed emotion GIF

CHARACTERS:

This book has a bunch of diverse characters! Yay! The three main leads are respectively Mexican, Nigerian, and Chinese! Within the Genius competition, there are South Americans, Egyptians, South Africans, and Haitians and others.

Still, I had no favorite character.

Rex is okay, I guess. But he doesn’t really have a personality. He just reacts to the things that happen around him.

“I do not like the term junk. It implies inherent uselessness and I have come to find that nothing is inherently useless. It is only a matter of finding the time, functionality, and place of the object” (pg 40).

I did like Tunde the most due to his sense of wonderment. I didn’t mind his not-translated Nigerian slang because I could figure out most of it from context.

Cai (Painted Wolf) was supposed to be this baddie/vigilante chick that I just did not get or care about.

Kiran was interesting just a smidge.

OVERALL:

I’m sorry guys, but I could not wait for this book to be over. It took me 9 days to finish this because I had to force myself. It was almost a DNF, but I hoped it would get better.

Not a bad idea but I wished it could have been executed differently (and with more detail)! I might read the sequel.

Mini Review #5: American Street

30256109STORY:

“Chantal is Brains.

Donna is Beauty.

Pri is Brawn.

I am Brave. No one has to tell me this. I know it for myself” (pg 317).

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (336 pages), was…Whoa. I thought it was brilliant. A real thriller with some gut punches.

I disliked Fabiola’s cousins except for Chantal. I just…Even though they were joking, they just came off as awful a lot of the time.

I loved Kasim as much as Fabiola.

It had a bit too much cursing, but I enjoyed the storyline immensely. And Fabiola was such an adorable, sweet girl.

SN: Donna and Dray were mad dysfunctional.

OVERALL:

This book definitely has to be added to your tbr (to-be-read).  Even with that ending, I liked this story.

Book Review #21: The Sweetest Sound

29280882STORY:

“You know, church is like that. Sometimes the pastor is talking and all you can think about is eating pancakes when he is done. But sometimes he says something and, just like that, it feels like he’s talking absolutely, positively to you!” (pg 17)

In The Sweetest Sound by Sherrie Winston (272 pages), Cadence Jolly is tired of adults giving her “motherless child” pity. She’s also trying to break out of her perpetual shyness enough to own her beautiful voice. In a fit of frustration and later regret, Cadence films herself disguised singing on Youtube. Of course, now her church choir is trying to find the little girl with the big voice, and Cadence doesn’t know if she will be able to own up to it.

CHARACTERS:

The cast is very diverse with Cadence and her family being African-American, Faith, a Dominicana, Zara, bi-racial (black mom/white dad), and Mei-Mei and Sophie, Chinese.

Some of the best singers (and def your faves) started singing in church, and Cadence is no different. Cadence was very shy but prideful, and I actually like that combination. She was also an avid reader, always mentioning classic books, and wanted to be a writer.

I couldn’t stand Faith. At all. Little girl be happy for your friend.

 annoyed will smith whatever fresh prince rbf GIF

Zara wasn’t memorable but at least she was sweet.

Cadence’s dad was well-meaning but overbearing. Still, he was okay in my book. I didn’t care about his little romance though.

Random note: I kept reading Sofine as So-Fine. :p

OVERALL:

“…Learning to be strong didn’t mean changing everything” (pg 259).

This book was a little dry. Too much poetry and way too much irrelevant junk. It was really hard for me to push through and finish it.

I don’t like giving stars, but this one is about a 2.5. Still, I’m sure it will make some kid’s day.

SN: THAT COVER! (ღ˘⌣˘ღ)

Cadence has the cutest pixie cut!