Book Review #38: Every Book is a Boy

(I won this in a Goodreads giveaway! The title really drew me in)!

42927409STORY:

“He was afraid, not because he thought she wasn’t the one. He was terrified because he knew she was.”

Every Book is Boy by Mirella Muffarotto (413 pages)  is set in Italy and begins with Marika coming to terms with her growing feelings for Matteo, her best friend. A romantic relationship is just around the corner until a soccer team tries to scout him. Now, Marika’s world has been turned upside down and a series of unneeded drama events break her heart. Will Marika and Matteo ever get together?

Let me be honest. The first five chapters were torture, but this story slowly, slowly (it’s a snail’s pace) starts getting interesting. Of course, there’s constant drama. SO MUCH DRAMA!

I find the drama so frustrating because of misunderstandings. I almost never enjoy drawn-out misunderstandings in stories because they take forever to resolve and the other characters react stupidly as a result.

I enjoyed the Italian setting, Carlotta and Dario, and the book title. I’m not really into soccer/football/fútbol, so I skimmed over the games and terminology, but I enjoyed reading the business side of things, seeing how players dealt with their agents, training camps, and meeting potential teammates. It was nice and a lot of detail has been put into it.

Now, one of the things I didn’t enjoy about Every Book is a Boy is the long passages of details. People are always stressing for writers to add more detail, but I kept skimming through a lot of it.

So, about the romance … Listen, I’m no stranger to YA romances but Marika’s thoughts about Matteo are drenched in syrup. For example:

“I know … you’re right, but all I want to do is score. It’s the only thing I can think of out there.
‘He was to die for, even though his only desire was to score (pg 18).’”

I don’t mind “oh my gosh, my heart almost stopped because he touched my hand” love if I have a connection with the characters. Because I found Matteo so annoying and unlikable, I was left only rooting for ½ of the couple. This doesn’t mean there aren’t any aww-worthy or some oh-my-wink-wink moments. The cute moments are just filtered through mountains of text of Marika pining for Matteo, Matteo being upset for words he can’t convey, Federico trying to woo Marika, and historical and architectural information about Italian cities.

By the way, there’s a minor subplot about the dangers of teen sexting and webcamming. There’s some harsh language (F bombs, bull****, sluts, “easy girls,” etc) and a brief mention of a love scene, but it’s not constant if that’s a worry.

CHARACTERS:
Marika is bland. She has a slight touch of “not like other girls” because she’s such a tomboy. She cries a lot too, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s prevalent.

Carlotta is very self-absorbed but nice. She’s got a big mouth but a big heart to go along with it.

Dario is a decent guy.

Matteo, the most wishy-washy character alive, couldn’t decide between water and H2O. Hopefully, you get where I’m coming from. He ain’t have no communication skills!

Lucreiza and Marcello and Valerio are 1-dimensional villains who only think with their genitals. In the beginning, I feel like there is subtle programming to dislike Lucrezia because she wears ridiculously short skirts and flirts with boys and goes “further with boys.” Of course, she does turn out to be a horrid mess of a person, but I didn’t even get a chance to discover her nastiness. I was already predisposed to dislike her.

Federico is my favorite character, but it’s for a sad reason. I only like him because he doesn’t have any of Matteo’s bad qualities. Since we don’t see any bad aspects of him, he’s the seemingly perfect guy. He COMMUNICATES his feelings and doesn’t treat Marika’s heart like a RAGDOLL and APOLOGIZES when he messes up quickly.

Eve was cool but then just awful at times. I don’t mind brash characters, but she played a nasty joke that I didn’t care for. Still, she had a lot of personality more than I can say for Marika.

OVERALL:
One of the most frustrating stories I have read in a while with the most wishy-washy male lead ever. This story could’ve been cut by like 200 pages. Maybe I feel so tough on this story because the length exhausted me? I don’t know. On the positive note, I love the title.

If you like slow burn romance (?), soccer, and friends to lovers, then this story is for you. Keep in mind if you don’t enjoy chick-flicks or cheesiness, then you might be annoyed the entire time.

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Short Story: Year 4

[Summary: Amour’s been sent to her room with no dinner just for telling the truth.]

Year 4

This time the ball hits me on the forehead. I wince. Throwing this dumb, red rubber ball at the ceiling is numbly entertaining. The walls of my room are a chalky white and have smudges from the ball’s dirt. My pink bed sheets still amazingly have the faint scent of vanilla from the last time Mom washed them. While Uncle is busy eating dinner with Obby, I’m left to my own devices. Figures. The only punishment he could think of is sending me to my room with no dinner as if I don’t have snacks under my bed.

I can hear Obby’s shrill laughter, and Uncle’s reprimanding him through the walls. If I hadn’t said what I said, I would be laughing with him. Usually every dinner, I tell an inappropriate joke that makes shy Obby’s eyes wide and his mouth a perfect ‘o’ until he begs me to explain it. Uncle would frown but shake his head amusedly. It’s ironic I got sent to my room for telling the truth and not another dirty joke. Continue reading “Short Story: Year 4”

Book Review #37: Security Breach

Now that finals are over, I’m catching up on all my reading and Netflix shows!

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In Security Breach by R. Waites (191 pages), despite exhibiting major potential and leadership skills, Dwayne Walker’s content being a low-ranking sentry at his father’s guard syndicate. His lack of ambition is disappointing to everyone.  But Dwayne is fine with his position until an opportunity presents itself, a crazy, dangerous opportunity.

The premise of security is interesting. I know next to nothing about security/guard syndicates, but I feel the book explained everything without babying the reader.

Also, for those who don’t care for it, no romance is present.

CHARACTERS:

Dwayne’s delightfully witty and self-less. I like how chill he is. His (arguably) two best friends, Hector and Lila, are respectively a manipulative pretty boy and cut-throat boss chick. Honestly, their dynamics are entertaining.

Hector is my absolute favorite. He’s so snot-nosed (not literally). He’s hilarious, prideful,  and awesome in his own right. I can see why Dwayne (and Lila) find him so draining at times.

Lila’s soft-spoken and vicious, the best combination.

Also, let’s acknowledge that Major, Dwayne’s smartwatch, is dope. I wished I could have seen it used a little bit more.

Lastly, I really like Barrel Walker (doesn’t that name scream manly?). It’s rare to see strict, serious parents that actually love their kids in YA fiction.

Yes, he probably eats rocks for breakfast and doesn’t cry when he slams his hand in the car door, but he loves Dwayne. Believe it! *Naruto voice*

OVERALL:

Fun cast of characters and good action and suspense!  I wouldn’t mind reading more about Dwayne, Lila, and Hector.

I recommend it!

Mini Book Review #11: In Paris with You

During my Thanksgiving break, I read this ARC I won through Goodreads! 

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“Well yeah, there you go: fourteen.

At that age, you’re still under construction (pg 16).”

In Paris with You by Clémentine Beauvais (320 pages) is a highly romantic tale (on the hopeless romantic scale of 1 to 5; 5 being the highest; it’s a 4.5)! Sometimes, things have a strong chick-flick feeling, but a touch of realism is added at the end. I enjoy having a fun lighthearted story to read. However, it’s a bit unusual to read because everything is in verse and the omnipresent narrator is confusing haha. 

I totally get all the imaginary scenarios fourteen-year-old Tatiana dreams up about Eugene. You know, it’s like when you go to a store or Starbucks, I guess, and you think hmm… wouldn’t it be funny if I fell in love with the barista, and he remembers how I hate coffee but always order tea. Coincidentally he goes to your college and in his 4th year of engineering, he remembers you and asks you on a date, and it’s not coffee he promises, amused. Eventually, you two marry with lots of money, no cheating, and 2.5 kids. 

Yes, Tatiana, I get you! That’s the same longwinded junk I used to daydream about when I was younger too. 

Heads up. There is a suicide, a reference to Down Syndrome that’s in bad taste, and the male lead could possibly be insufferable to you. 

OVERALL:

Is it perfect? No, but no story is.

Does it make sense why Tatiana’s still hung up over Eugene? Not entirely.

Is Eugene the best male lead? Nah, he’s mad-arrogant and pretentious (yes, they’re slightly different: see here), and everything that goes wrong in this story is exactly because of him. He’s very sex-obsessed. (In his mind), he calls Tatiana a slut for assuming she’s sleeping with a man that she already denied being with. God’s gift to women, everyone. Yes, he apologizes, but he’s pressedt about imaginary scenarios where she’s with other men. I understand jealousy is a natural reaction (imperfect characters are certainly fine with me), but Eugene’s got a lot of gall. I think he was more eager to have sex with Tatiana than to truly get to know her again. He’s more genuine when he was younger.

Still, I give this 5/5. I enjoyed every page of it and will definitely reread it over and over. Also, I like the cover. There are countless passages or quotes to love, and I highlighted my favorite ones. It’s quirky and cute.

A fun read for any young or new adult.

 

 

Moody: A Collection of Short Stories

41729475Hey everyone! In between studying (and not studying haha) I’ve still been reading books. I haven’t written any drawn-out reviews, but I post the shorter ones on my Goodreads

Anyway, since it’s still in Kindle Unlimited until December 5th, I thought I’d do a post about my ebook. This is a bit like a BTS/in the author’s head type of thing.

STORY:

 Moody: A Collection of Short Stories by Destiny Henderson (44 pages) has 5 lighthearted short stories and one prologue to an upcoming book, Dreaded Dinner Party. The book genre is all ages’ fiction, but they can be categorized as Middle-Grade Fiction (although Play it Cool, Al is more YA-ish). 

Pink is a Distraction –  I really wanted to write a character that wore obnoxiously loud colors. Keva’s reason for this feels very valid to her, but other people don’t always understand that. Which is why her trip to the cake shop, ends in an unexpected way.

Jo and Terra – This story was both inspired by an astronomy class and the summer heat. It’s mainly fun banter between two friends!

Play it Cool, Al – Another short story that plays a bit with the character’s insecurities. This is one of the rare times I have a male main character. I usually have female protagonists, but it was good to try something new.

 Desiree “Dezzy” turned out to be a real joy to create. I think I would like to write a story from her perspective. She’s not a character I can easily throw away.

Ice – I absolutely love superhero lore or any media where characters have powers. Marvel movies and My Hero Academia (SN: the movie was amazing!) are currently two things I adore very much. It was no surprise this idea, a girl basically thinking about her friend’s interesting situation, popped into my head a while ago. 

In the future, I hope to flesh this out as a full story, but for now, it’s just a what-if concept/open-end short story. 

Waiting for Bus 26 – A simple story! I wanted to have a very serious and precise short boy as a character and everything else just fell into place.

Continue reading “Moody: A Collection of Short Stories”

Book Review #36: A Blade so Black

Love the cover!

STORY:36952594
In A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney (384 pages), after a scary night in the hospital, Alice had fully-embraced her new life as a dreamwalker, fighter of nightmares, in Wonderland. Hatta’s been training her for months at night while she still manages to live as a normal 17-year-old. Well, until Hatta’s been poisoned, and everything goes up into flames.

At times, I feel like this story is over-eager. It tries to mention all the points: grief, racism, police brutality, white allies, and not fitting the stereotypical “black” mold. I would’ve liked more focus on each subject individually instead of a quick touch and go.

Despite that, I love the way the nightmares spawn from real-life fear. For example, the connection between the black girl being gunned down and Alice’s community pumping out waves of fear. I found this aspect excitingly interesting. I would’ve loved to delve more into that as opposed to the many repetitive times Alice has to deal with her mom/sneak out. They all end the same way. Alice says sorry, leaves again and has to fake text/call to fool her mom, Mom doesn’t get fooled, and Alice gets in trouble. Rinse and repeat. I don’t mind the living a secret life trope, but I wish the instances could’ve been more varied.

I enjoyed some of the cultural moments like when Alice forgot to defrost the meat for her mom (girl, how are you still alive!?! lol), the fact Alice knew she had time because her mom was at a looong church service, the AAVE, her natural hair, etc. I hadn’t thought too much about the struggle of monster fighting with natural hair. For example, Alice bout sweated out her silk press trying to kill a monster. All of that stuff is relatable to me and made me smile when I noticed it.

Anyway, this has a slow start but when the Big Bad Boss starts messing with Alice, the real fun begins.

CHARACTERS:

“I’m protecting the world. Who’d protect me? (pg 143)”

Alice is okay. We don’t really get a lot of time to spend in her head when she’s not dealing with pain, grief, or nausea haha. I like that she has a smart mouth, and she’s bold. She’s strong but still vulnerable. I love when the characters cuddle or coo over her, and when they get the heck out the way and let her run things! SN: I love her nickname, Baby Moon.

I enjoy Hatta’s wit. I know it’s cliche, but I just love hearing (reading in this case) English people say “luv.” I like him, but I don’t know a lot of his motivations such as choosing Alice.

Eh, I didn’t care too much for Alice’s friends. They aren’t that memorable and just play their roles (best friend to cover for you; 2nd love interest). I also don’t care about pumpkin spice, not even enough for a drawn-out conversation that affirms my disdain for it (sn: to me, pumpkin spice smoothies are mad nasty ._.). And every time I’ve heard someone use Aaliyah’s “Age ain’t Nothing but a Number” in an argument (jokingly or not) some foolery has always followed.

OVERALL:
If you can wait for 100 pages, then you can really decide if this story’s for you. I definitely knew I wanted to finish this because I love fantasy and diverse fiction. But I will admit I wasn’t super eager to keep reading until after that point.

I haven’t read AiW in forever, but many of the AiW references are in name only, like literally the characters names. This will either be great or disappointing depending on what you want. The originality tho does give it a lot of room to be great and distinct.

Be aware there are some cringey moments and dialogue here and there but some nice moments too!

Yes, I may have squealed at a certain kiss scene, but one day I’ll grow up and be mature when reading about kisses. BUT TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY!

Lastly, why are y’all like this? As soon as junk gets entertaining and the stakes get high, you gotta wait for book 2. :/

Book Review #35: Pride

Yo, this book’s presentation is wonderful. I love the cover, the inside drawings, and the poems.

STORY:
(Disclaimer: So, I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, so I’m probably oblivious to the references, parallels, and easter eggs. I’m just taking this story as it is.)

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Pride by Ibi Zoboi (258 pages) gives me a weird feeling where I like the story but not the main character. I definitely liked Zuri standing up to undisclosed Darcy family member because I can’t stand when people know how their family is but still invite you into some negativity. Despite me not caring for Zuri, it was nice to get a basically filler/slice-of-life story. There’s no real plot behind a backdrop of gentrification and prejudice and college admissions. And that’s okay. I can just understand why a story with no goal in mind might annoy some people.

Also, I have seen smoother hate-to-love relationships, but Zuri and Darius are all right. Maybe if the length of this book had been increased I would’ve had more of an emotional connection with them. I really enjoyed Darius trying to win Zuri over in his both confident and awkward way at the diner with Carrie and Georgia. These two just needed a bit more time. I understand why Darius likes her, but why does Zuri like him if he’s everything she hates in a person? Just a little more development and I would’ve been awwing-ing at them. Not to say the pretty descriptions of long eyelashes, gentle caresses, and kisses weren’t aww-worthy. *wink*

Anyway, I liked the writing despite the many many instances of swag, stank, and hood (it’s a drinking game, guys!). The honey analogy is very cute to me.

CHARACTERS:

I loved Zuri’s family (I’m including Madrina as well). I wanted more time with her mom and papi. Janae seemed really adorable. The money-hungry and boy-crazy twins were fun too (most of the times).

On the other hand, Zuri is irritating. I’m sorry but she’s one of those people that call any black person with alternative interests outside of what society says black people can like, white. I definitely understand her valid concerns of gentrification (I’ve seen it too in my own town). But, in general, why do you feel like you have to prove something!?! She’s always assuming and questioning people! Let’s do 20 questions with you, Zuri, since you know everything. It’s sort of hinted Zuri makes quick judgments since people have judged her family all her life (like, automatically assuming they’re fatherless because her mom has a horde of kids) but not taken seriously. It’s definitely okay if she’s the type of person that hates to apologize, but she couldn’t accept this fact during a heart-to-heart conversation.

To be honest, Darius is my favorite character. I know Zuri thinks he’s uppity, but he just seems awkward to me. Like, back at the bodega, he didn’t know he was supposed to acknowledge those guys ( a big no, no in the south because you’re supposed to speak to people (especially at family gatherings)). Now, straight-up ignoring them is dumb but I think he was just… awkward. If he did acknowledge them, they probably would have roasted him but at least been open to a friendship.

Ainsley, Colin, and Charlise were kind of just there. I barely know anything about Darius and Ainsley’s parents.

Forget about Warren. He went as quickly as he came.

Carrie was weird.  You are supposed to feel a certain way about her at first, but then there’s a kneejerk change to make you feel another way. Maybe it was to show hidden depths, but it happened way too fast for me.

tired over it GIF

OVERALL:
This is a firm 3/5 for me.

I enjoyed the New York setting, Zuri’s family, and, to an extent, Zuri and Darius’ relationship. But I just couldn’t get into judgmental Zuri. Like chick, you really do need to sit down. If someone’s looking down on you, you’re going to know, so don’t just assume.

Pride has a decent look at duality, and even though I can’t stand Zuri, I do get where she’s coming from. Let this story be a reminder that everyone (read: black people) doesn’t have to be the same or from your neighborhood for you to like them *cough cough Zuri* In addition, if you don’t want to be painted as an uppity, spineless dude, then make an effort to communicate and see things from others point of view, actually stand up for your friends and admit when you’re wrong  *cough cough Darius*

Well, those are my thoughts. If you like modern retellings of classical literature and a relatively quick read, then go for it!