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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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. :/

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”

Book Review #30: The Edge of Everything

“‘Why endanger yourselves?’ he said. ‘Why do all this for me
Zoe looked down at where his hand lightly gripped her. She gave him a smile, a trace of light in the darkness.

‘There’s nothing good on TV,’ she said (page 87).”

29566060STORY:

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (368 pages) has some good narrative(s) though a bit cringy at times. I enjoy the details embedded in the character’s personalities and movements.

“Zoe couldn’t help it; she took a photo to put on Instagram later (page 41).

For me, the bounty-hunter moments are the best parts. The entire supernatural element to bounty-hunting is just mad interesting, and the ordeal with a character named Stan was my favorite part.

At times, the story falls into “slice-of-life” moments such as Zoe and her mom not seeing eye-to-eye about her father’s death or caving, which is a huge part.

Now, a serious case of “instalove” is present in this book. AIN’T NO REASON X should’ve been that caught up and strung out on basic-behind Zoe that quickly. Perhaps, it is akin to baby chicks imprinting on the first image they see as their mother, but X was too into Zoe too fast.

This doesn’t mean I don’t like their little cliche romance, but it is worth noting.

CHARACTERS:

Zoe is bland but the stuff that happens around her is what’s interesting. Her friends, Dallas and Val, are much cooler.

Jonah, the little brother, is a little cinnamon roll. 😀

Bounty hunters seem really nice for this sort of story. Maybe too nice for me… I mean Zoe was talking to them like they couldn’t have snapped her neck into two at will. Here, bounty hunters are basically the grim reaper.

X is fine with me but his backstory seems a bit like a cop-out, so we don’t forget for a second his life’s not like the other morally-gray bounty hunters. Still, I liked his gentlemen-ly speech even if it didn’t feel consistent at times.

OVERALL:

Well, The Edge of Everything reeks of instalove, but it has me hooked enough to read the sequel. The story’s a bit of a slow burn but the plot twists keep readers engaged. It is worth a read, and you can tell early on whether you love/hate it.

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.