Reviews

Review: ‘More of Me’ by Kathryn Evans

31915217I received a copy of More of Me by Kathryn Evans from Indigo to review and share. It sounded like a very interesting coming-of-age/sci-fi crossover that I could get behind. It was released last year in the UK, but only came out in North America on June 13, so it’s still new to me!

Synopsis: Teva is the sixteen version of herself, having emerged like a butterfly from the cocoon of her former self, Fifteen. But don’t worry… Fifteen is still around, along with 10 other previous versions of her. The old versions of Teva are forced to stay hidden in their rickety old house, while the latest version continues to live their life as if nothing weird is going on. But #16 isn’t planning to let her life be taken over at the end of her year… she’s going to figure out how to save her life, and maybe save the lives of all the Tevas that came before her.

“I have grown in strength inside her. Filled her cells with mine until we must split apart. It’s not my choice – that’s how it’s always been for us.”

Finding something to compare this book to is hard, but I couldn’t help but see similarities between it and Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. On the very surface, both books have a main character with a rare and weird disease and a very overprotective mother. Beyond that, you have a girl yearning to be defined by something more than her disease, the mystery of how all this happened in the first place, and a journey of self-discovery. While More of Me is obviously much more fantastical in nature than Yoon’s book, it was still very grounded in reality with all the highschool drama that most girls would face. Teva still has to put up with flaky friends, boyfriend squabbles, and the general awfulness that comes with being a teenage girl in this society.

Unfortunately, the most interesting part of the book (ie. the fact that this girl literally grows a new version of herself every year) was often lost in a lot of that stereotypical highschool drama. The science behind her condition wasn’t explored much, leaving me feeling like a) the author didn’t do more research, or b) the author thought that she didn’t need to put real science in a YA novel. I often found myself skimming through the book looking for words that would indicate that we had finally returned to the parts involving all the Tevas because they are what make this book unique and different from all the other contemporary YA stories out there.

This book would be good for teens who are interested in trying the sci-fi genre, but still want their complicated teen love story and friendship drama. I would honestly be interested to find out how Teva’s life progresses after the end of this book, as there are many questions left unanswered. There is much more that could be done with this concept.

LC rating: 3-stars

Reviews

Review: ‘A Court of Wings and Ruin’ by Sarah J. Maas

23766634Okay kids, strap in, we’re doing this! I haven’t written a review in a while, but I figured it was about time. If you know my writing style, you can be fairly certain that there won’t be any spoilers for A Court of Wings and Ruin in this review. So don’t fear if you haven’t finished (or even started) this book.

Synopsis: Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

“We’re all a broken, in our own ways – In places no one might see.”
Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Wings and Ruin

I was really hoping for this book to be as good or better than A Court of Mist and Fury, but I was disappointed. That’s not to say that it isn’t a good book… it just isn’t as good as ACOMAF. I often had the feeling that I was being smacked in the face with very heavy-handed retellings of fairytales and myths. The very obvious ones that made me cringe were adaptations of Snow White, The Swan Princess, the parting of the red sea, and the Passover ritual of blood above the door. Sure, the first book was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but you knew what you were getting into with that book. The second book was basically a retelling of the Persephone myth, but it was done in a subtler way. I just had such high hopes after being so blown away by ACOMAF.

This isn’t to say that the entire book was disappointing. There are many great relationships and characterizations that made me really happy. Nesta’s character development was huge and genuinely made me like her a lot more than I previously did. I understood her motivations in the first two books even if I didn’t like her, but Maas really seems to be making an effort to give her “villain” characters more depth. As in reality, there are very few people who are truly good or evil. Maas makes a case for many of the characters who are classified as the bad guys, showing that their actions make perfect sense when viewed in the context of their personal experience.

While I’m sure that most of you know why people are freaking out over Mor, I won’t say anything other than how impressed I am that Maas was able to articulate the feelings of so many people within one speech. Being able to see myself represented in works of fiction is a privilege I didn’t realize I had until recently, but I am grateful to the authors who write diverse characters. It’s not only important for the people these characters represent, but also for people like me so I can learn more and become a better human.

LC rating: 4-stars


Have you read this book? What did you think? Will you continue reading the series, or did you feel like this was a good ending?

Reviews

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was recently nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Dani @ Perspective Of A Writer, which is pretty exciting since I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time. Dani writes an awesome blog about books (of course) so go check it out!

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

1. If you had to chose a dystopian world to be sent to, which would it be and why?

I think I would want to be in the world of Incarceron, because even though the whole jail system is really screwed up, the world above is this cool high-tech simulation of pastoral England with castles and pretty dresses.

2. What are your favourite blog posts to write and why?

I like writing list posts (like Top Ten Tuesday) because I don’t have to come up with the themes, the entries are short enough that I’m not too stressed, and I get to feature a bunch of great books.

3. Under what circumstances would you DNF a book?

It happens when I get bored with a book, either because of the characters or the plot. I don’t do it intentionally, but I will often just put a boring book to the side and forget to pick it up again. I also rarely finish self-help or business non-fiction titles because I feel like their points are usually made within the first couple chapters and I don’t need them to keep trying to convince me.

4. What types of characters do you love most? (i.e. like genre but for characters, examples: strong female, hot love interest, nerds, pirates, if you can group them and love them, name them!)

I’m a huge fan of the quirky outcast. I get a kick out of reading how someone with weird habits learns to navigate the world, usually via the help of a friendly neighbour or love interest.

5. If you could teleport to any city in the world which would it be? If you had to make your way home on you own would it still be the same city?

As long as I could bring along my wallet and passport, I’d want to teleport to London. I’ve never been there and yet read about it all the time. I just want that experience. Then I would just hop on a plane back.

6. If you wrote a book, what would it be about? (i.e. the premise, type of characters, world?)

It would probably be some kind of middle-grade fantasy/mystery with a couple of quirky kids who find themselves up against an ominous secret society.

7. If a band were to be featured in a fictional story, which would you want it to be and why?

Walk Off The Earth, just because I think it would be a hilarious story. They all just seem so chill and fun.

8. What book describes you best? (Is it a particular character, the cover or the story?)

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend because I often feel like the outsider who shows up in some small town and is super excited about books while everyone else is looking at me like I’m crazy-pants.

9. Favourite book universe and why? (Is it the friends you would have, the world you would live in or the abilities/circumstances you would be in?)

Right now it’s the future universe in Becky Chamber’s Wayfarer‘s series. I want to meet aliens, go into space, and find an awesome group of misfits to hang with. I’m so in love with the many different characters that she has written. I just want to meet them all!

10. What is your favourite book pet? Real pet? Ultimate pet?

I’ve always been fascinated by griffins (gryphons), even though I guess they aren’t really a pet. There are a few fantasy series that have people riding them, but usually it’s more of a partnership situation because the griffins are super smart.

My Best Friend Griff by sakimichan

11. If you’d humor me and look at this post I wrote about Korean dramas… which banner looks like it has a story you would be interested in reading/watching?

 #10 is intriguing because I really wanna know why that man is wearing a hospital mask and looking at that bunny like it’s the answer to all his questions.


Nominations 

  1. Ana @ Ana’s Lair
  2. Cátia @ Chrissi Reads
  3. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense
  4. Charley @ booksandbakes1
  5. Daniela @ Books to Get Lost In
  6. Stefanie @ yourdaughtersbookshelf
  7. Caitlin @ caitlinsternwrites
  8. Claire @ Art and Soul
  9. Alyssa @ Purple People Readers
  10. Elyse @ Just Murrayed
  11. Anjie @ Love Thy Shelf

As always, if you don’t want to do this, or have done it before and don’t want to do it again, please don’t feel any pressure.

And of course, if you aren’t listed above but wanna do it anyway, do it! I nominate YOU!

My Questions

  1. What is your Goodreads challenge/reading goal for this year?
  2. What do you do to get through a reading slump?
  3. Do you read poetry? If so, what’s your favourite poem? If not, why not?
  4. Do you want to be an author (or are you an author now?) or are you content to just be a reader?
  5. How fast of a reader would you say you are?
  6. What else do you get besides books at a bookstore?
  7. Do you really think that people who don’t use bookmarks are monsters?
  8. What kinds of books do your family members read? Do they like the same stuff as you?
  9. What is your favourite book turned movie?
  10.  What is your favourite book quote?
  11. What popular book do you just hate, and why?
Reviews

The Caffeinated Clean Sweep: Day 1

I love owning books, but I have NO space to store them. I have officially run out of shelves and bins and under-the-bed space. I do a lot of reading on my e-reader now, but I still get a large number of ARCs from publishers because I am a bookseller. I love being one of the first to read a book, but the piles are getting out of hand. That’s where the Caffeinated Clean Sweep comes in. Hopefully this challenge will help me work my way through all the ARCs I’ve been hoarding. Are you participating?


The following are ARCs that I know I can find easily in the chaos. I’m going to try to read all of them, with the understanding that I might have to add more titles as the month progresses. Let’s see how this goes!


clean sweep 2017The Caffeinated Clean Sweep is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

For the month of May, you are challenged to get those advanced reading copies read! These can be digital, finished copies, audios, and physical arcs. (regardless of release date) Throughout the month there will be challenges, a Twitter party, a 24-hour read-a-thon and a grand prize.

Reviews

Review: ‘The Sun is Also a Star’ by Nicola Yoon

Although I have an ARC of The Sun Is Also a Star, I decided to listen to it as an audiobook instead. I am so glad I did, because the readers for this book were all amazing. I enjoyed this book so much that I passed my ARC to a couple of co-workers just to share the loveliness.

Synopsis: Natasha, who is on a mission to save her family from being deported in the next 24 hours, runs into Daniel, who is on his way to an admissions interview for a college program he isn’t sure he wants to attend. The chemistry between the two is obvious from the beginning, but how can a young couple who have only known each other for hours stay together when their respective fates seem to be sealed?

Nicola Yoon said that she was inspired by the relationship with her husband to write this story. I don’t know how much of their love story made it’s way into this book, but the characters definitely felt very real. Even secondary characters, who we only get brief glimpses of during the chapters narrated by the universe, are very interesting and completely realized. Yoon manages to make a significant statement on the immigrant experience while still telling an interesting and cute love story. 

A post shared by Manda (@litcounsellor) on

My only complaint about this book is that we have another version of insta-love in YA literature. I get that Yoon is trying to make a point that everyone is connected and that sometimes we meet people who we click with immediately, but can we not have them making out after knowing each other for 5 seconds? Maybe that’s just me being an “old prude” but I just don’t think that with Natasha worrying about her family’s imminent deportation, that she would be so easily distracted. She’s been trying to save them since finding out, and this is her last chance, and yet a pretty boy completely derails her whole day.

“I know there’s no such thing as meant-to-be, and yet here I am wondering if maybe I’ve been wrong.”

With Everything, Everything coming out on the big screen soon, I’m very excited to have more people interested in this author’s work. I’m so ready to put this book into the hands of eager readers of contemporary YA. One of my coworkers asked me about this book for her niece and I practically ran back to my office to grab my ARC. I also brought Everything, Everything the next day just so she could read both. Haha!

LC Rating: 4-stars


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on when characters seem to fall in love instantly?

Reviews

Review: ‘Monstrous’ by MarcyKate Connolly

For ages 9-12

I love reading fairytale reimaginings. Even though the author is using source material from someone else, the craft that it takes to change that story and make it new is always interesting. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I like it even better when an author will tackle something outside of the norm, such as this retelling of the Frankenstein story. If  you are a fan of the original work, I don’t think you will be disappointed by Monstrous.

Synopsis: When girls from the neighbouring town of Bryre start to get sick because of an evil wizard, Kymera and her father set out to save them. Each night Kymera sneaks into town to save another girl, but she has to stay out of sight because she isn’t like other children… her father built her to be something more, something special. He’s afraid that if someone in town sees her that they will try to hurt her, but Kymera is getting tired of hiding in the shadows. A chance encounter with someone from the town makes her wonder if maybe her father is being overprotective, because this boy seems nice and kind… but maybe that’s only because he hasn’t seen her in the light.

You can’t help but feel sad for Kymera as she learns how different she is from other children. She has all these great things about her that make her unique, but they also make her different and scary. She’s a very sweet and innocent character, who only wishes to make friends with the children she has met. When some of the girls she has saved treat her poorly, I was just as upset as she was about it.

“Father says I’m perfect, but would a prince agree if he knew what I was made of? Would he value me for the usefulness of my parts, or for the contents of my heart? Or would he only value me as a prize to slay the monsters in the story?”

From the beginning of the story I knew that I didn’t like Kymera’s father. He says all the right things, and seems to treat Kymera well, but there was something off about him from the start. As an adult reader, I’m always skeptical of characters who throw around the “I’m so misunderstood” card. There’s usually a good reason why all the supporting characters finds that character creepy and weird, even if they are creepy and weird in a nice way.

One of my favourite moments in the book is when Kymera finally meets another magical creature and realizes she isn’t alone. It’s a really sweet moment, but I was surprised that it didn’t play a big a roll in the overall plot. It ended up feeling very tacked on and lacking resolution. Here’s this magical creature that could potentially be a huge game changer for the whole story, and it basically just sits there doing nothing.

I have to say, the ending was not what I was expecting at all. For any parents who are thinking of giving this to their kid, I recommend reading it yourself before handing it over, or just recalling how the original source material (ie, Frankenstein) ends. The innocence of the cover art and the sweet characters lull you into thinking that this is going to be a Disney style ending. Do not be fooled, this is a true fairytale, wrapped up in a pretty pink dress.

Overall, the book was a fun, quick read with interesting characters and a good message. I’m definitely curious to see where the author takes this series next. Ravenous looks like a spin on Dracula, but as with this book, I’m sure it will take a turn I don’t expect.

LC Rating: 3-stars


Have you read this book? Were you surprised by the ending too?

Reviews

Review: ‘Holding Up the Universe’ by Jennifer Niven

I have so many reviews I need to catch up on, so sorry but you are all going to see a bunch of books that have been out for a while until I catch up.

I was super excited to get a copy of this book from the publisher. The premise sounded really interesting, and I’ve been meaning to read a book by Jennifer Niven for a while. Holding Up the Universe was a great addition to my “teens with issues” reading binge this winter. This book combines eating disorders and unique physiological issues, making it both relatable and educational.

Synopsis: Libby has been defined by her weight all her life, but after years of homeschooling and psychiatric help, she’s ready to face her peers and whatever they have to say about the “fattest girl in America.” But teens can be cruel, and when the most popular boy in school, Jack, is encouraged by his friends to prank her, they end up thrown together in group counselling and community service. Learning more about each other proves that they aren’t so different, and that labels given to us by society are rarely ever true.

Libby is such a relatable character for me, and I think that anyone would find her bravery inspiring. We all face judgement based on our looks, and Libby goes out of her way to prove that she is capable of being and doing more than society expects of her. She doesn’t try to downplay the fact that she is still considered an overweight person, or that being judged for her weight affects her emotionally. She’s just wants to be appreciated for being Libby, the totally awesome person that she is. One of my favourite parts is when she chases after a boy who has tried to humiliate her, and she basically runs the kid down because she’s so fast.

“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader”

I am wanted
artwork by Deja M. Douglas (@deja_m_douglas_art)

As with so many teen romances, this book fails at avoiding the insta-love trap. Libby and Jack barely know each other before they start having “feelings”, which definitely moves the story along quite quickly, but generally makes me cringe. People, especially teens, are so hung up on appearances, and I find it doubtful that Jack would have been able to overcome the conditioning that would have separated him and Libby socially as quickly as he does. Just because he has his own issues and secrets doesn’t mean he would have given up the security of popularity to be with someone he barely knows.

Anyone who likes YA romance is sure to love this book. It’s full of great characters, a strong message, and a cute love story. And of course, the best part of this book is the love that it has inspired in readers. I just love seeing all the “I am wanted” (or “you are wanted”) tributes that people have posted online.

LC Rating: 4-stars

Have you read this book? Did you find the characters relatable? What was your favourite part?


This book was sent to me as an employee of Indigo Books & Music. The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.