Book Review #41: Famous in a Small Town

“It’s not selfish to want people in your life who care about you” (pg 261).

STORY:
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills (320 pages) is a contemporary story with likable imperfect characters and pretty cover. There are some wonderful friendship moments like the “broken miniature greenhouse”, sweet moments like the kiss just because I want to make you feel good, and fun dialogue 75% of the time.

I really liked/disliked Brit. She felt realistic to me. I’ve seen people like her in real life, and I like each dynamic she has with the individual characters. Sophie has a big heart which is both a positive and negative thing for her. She sort of dislikes how everyone views her in this saintly-good-person light. Relatable.

I liked that the ending didn’t end in the way I expected. I didn’t really care about the August-Sophie connection. That was a little meh (he’s hot; let’s date; argument; kiss; awkward tension; kiss; fight argument repeat until conclusion) and the whole find Megan Pleasant thing ran a little long for me. I guess I just found the friendship/family interactions and characters to be the best part(s). To be honest, everything about Ciara was really confusing. But yeah …

This is exactly 3.5/5 stars for me!


Bonus:

Read my review for “On the Come Up” by Angie Thomas here!

Read my review for “Clyde” by Jim Benton here!

Read “Dreaded Dinner Partyhere!

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Book Review #40: The Field Guide to the North American Teenager/Genesis Begins Again

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe (372 pages) I’m always excited to read some diverse fiction and a French-Canadian boy of Haitian descent in the US sounded interesting. Unfortunately for me, a lot of this can be summed into Norris pops his gums and writes checks his butt can’t cash.

I didn’t care for any of the characters or the romance. Usually, I LOVE snarky or sarcastic/”I’m so above you, plebians” characters, but I did not like Norris. It’s sweet that he cares about his mom and loves hockey. He’s his mother’s #1 fan at her presentations, and his friendship with Maddie is sort of cute. But that’s where it ends. He’s just too snarky and mean-spirited. I definitely don’t mind characters with bad attitudes, but his mouth seems unwarranted at times.

The vast majority of the time Norris puts people in check for micro-aggressions (tho sometimes he handles Aarti with kitten gloves) and happily acknowledges his heritage. He also doesn’t put up with any homophobia and calls it out despite making a few gay jokes.

Concerning the romance, I was indifferent. I get the snow globe thing. It’s like getting a gas station charger for your birthday gift that you know the person just bought last minute. Okay. But why was this never properly voiced!? UGH, HIGHSCHOOLERS! COMMUNICATE! Also, I figured the Maddie angle was going to happen or that she was gonna hook up with Liam. 

I feel the highlights were Liam’s backstory, Norris’ mom’s fear about police brutality and his safety conversation, and the ending. Parts of the family dinner was fun too.

“Put me in the family will and grant me your daughter’s hand in marriage, b***hes” pg (255).

With context, that quote’s a lot funnier. Promise.

Although the ending was much more interesting than the first 75% of the book, it’s just too much high-school drama for me.

Overall, the book ends with a strong conclusion! I liked seeing Norris come to terms with himself and acknowledging his flaws and that everything doesn’t end happily-ever-after though it is optimistic. A good look at not pre-judging people. I didn’t love this book but so many others have, so you just gotta read it for yourself.

25753113BONUS:

See my review for Genesis Begins Again, here!

What a gorgeous cover! I really enjoyed reading this story but have some tissues nearby. ;__;

Mini Book Review #12: The Weight of Feathers, ACOTAR, and Cruel Beauty

Even though I’ve been posting reviews on my Goodreads account, I haven’t been posting them here. So, here’s 3 reviews for the price of 1! 😀

20734002The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (320 pages)

The writing’s great, and I love the way Spanish and French words are weaved into the story.

Concerning the romance, I don’t really see it for Lace and Cluck, their love I mean. :/ There were a lot of kiss scenes, but I didn’t feel anything for them.

I suppose Cluck’s my favorite character, but we got so little of his narrative. He’s funny and the sad sack his family loves to kick around. Whoo, is it tough seeing his family treat him like Cinderella.

On the other hand, Lace is kind of bland after she falls in love. It’s surprising, but I enjoyed reading about her applying make-up. Now, I liked Lace’s dad. That’s a guy with his own motivations who thinks with his own mind. To be honest, I didn’t care about anybody else besides Cluck and Lace’s dad.

Overall, not bad at all but I also wanted it to be over. Why? I don’t like long drawn out misunderstandings, but anyone else should enjoy some of the plot twists this book brings. So, it’s 2 stars for my enjoyment but a 3 for the story.

15839984Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (352 pages)

The first half of this book was enticingly interesting and fun until Nyx didn’t know if she wanted to kill him or kiss his face off and fractions happened.

I really enjoyed reading about Nyx wrestling with her dark feelings, loving her family and hating them at the same time. Her father was so trifling that he should have been on Dr. Phil. Anyway, I enjoyed some of Ignifex’s wit and his countless smiles at Nyx’s murder attempts.

The romance was just okay, but I found the mystery aspect more compelling.

Overall, this was a good story filled with Greek mythology and deals with the devil. I didn’t care for the ending or the Nyx and Shade connection which happened way too fast. Still, I think it’s worth reading.

16096824A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (419 pages)

Well, 4 stars for enjoyment, the loveliness of the character Lucien, and for the trashy but always tasteful love scenes that YA fiction adores. Yeah, Feyre never listens and I’m tired of hearing about lemon tarts and blueberry pie and her punishment was never really a punishment (I banish thee to a mansion where thou shall be waited on hand and foot!), but none of that takes away from the story.

Anyway, my favorite part was when Rhysand showed up and “they” had to beg. I was emotionally torn up about that. But it subtly speaks to how much these characters cared about each other.

When everything goes to hell and our heroine ventures to save the day, is some of the best suspense I have had in a while! Every page deserved dramatic orchestra music!

Overall, I recommend this book. I found the characters, human and Fae, so endearing. Also, seeing all the plot points resolved shows the careful planning that went into this story. I wish this was a standalone because who knows what’s about to happen in the next book. 😮

(As of 1/25/19 I have read the sequel, and whoo is it a doozy!)

Have you read any of these three books? Which was your favorite? Did you notice they all have red color schemes in common? c:

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.

Book Review #37: Security Breach

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

35162237STORY:

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!

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. :/