I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia Review

I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae CeceliaI Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: April 15, 2017

Pages: 74

Summary: How often do you daydream? For most, it is many times a day. We stare out the window instead of the task in front of us. We fantasize about where we would much rather be, the significant other we long for, our ideal job, the body we hope to see in the mirror, a healthier mindset, pure happiness in our lives and the lives of others, peace in this chaotic world. However, how many of us daydreamers believe these pleasant thoughts will truly turn into our reality? Daydreams are more than just short bursts of happiness that only our minds can see. I know I am more than a daydream; and you are, too.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: I Am More Than A Daydream is inspirational, filled with messages of positivity, self-growth, and finding the confidence within yourself to follow your dreams!

Earlier this year I read Cecelia’s Uncaged Wallflower and adored it and I loved her latest collection just as much! ❤

Her poems always leave me feeling hopeful and inspired!

Discussing body image, following your dreams, and finding your inner strength, this latest collection reminds the reader that while we all are set on differing paths and may face obstacles along the way, that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome them to make our dreams come true!

If you haven’t read Cecelia’s collections, please do!
All throughout her poems she weaves in messages to inspire daily growth and positivity!!

Above all, I Am More Than A Daydream is a wonderful collection of poetry that reminds us that our daydreams can become reality!

May 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan1. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amnia’s Voice Full Review

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: This book was incredible from the writing, to plot & characters! Khan weaves in so many themes such as family, friendship, and identity! Following Amina’s journey through middle school, she begins to question as people and things around her begin to change. This novel has so many different and complex layers, that anyone can find an aspect of Amina’s Voice to relate to! Highly recommend this gem of a novel!

Another Castle Grimoire2.Another Castle: Grimoire by Andrew Wheeler + Paulina Ganucheau

Another Castle: Grimoire Full Review

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 152

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Another Castle: Grimoire is a graphic novel that puts clever twists+spins on classic fairy tale tropes! Following Princess Misty, she sets forth to Grimoire to defeat Badlug and keep her kingdom safe. While the story is a little slow paced, its filled with action and adventure! The art is bright and colorful too! There’s a big emphasis on friendship and its filled with empowering female characters!

Shadow Run  Cover Reveal3.Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland + Michael Miller (Kaitan Chronicles #1)

Shadow Run Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Filled with action + adventure and a diverse cast of characters, you’ll be immersed in Shadow Run as you follow Captain Qole and Prince Nev and as they learn more about “Shadow” and how it impacts their world. I adored the characters so much! While I definitely wanted a little faster pacing + more world-building/development, this book is one I recommend if you’re looking to get into Sci-Fi! It’s very character driven and above all, a fun story! Can’t wait for Book 2!

Teenage model in hear shaped glasses laughing4.I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe In A Thing Called Love Full ARC Review

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date:May 30, 2017

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A delightful YA Contemporary with the perfect blend of humor, romance, and has themes of family and friendship weaved throughout. Told through 1st person POV, you follow Desi Lee as she creates a plan with the help of K-Dramas to help her find love. 

Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka5.Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka {Flying Witch #1}

Flying Witch Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: Vertical Comics

Release Date: March 8, 2017

Pages: 160

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A slow paced manga that follows Makato as she continues her training to become a witch. The story is very character driven and the story while it has its quiet magical elements, follows a “slice of life” approach. I did want more plot-wise, but above all this is a lovely manga! Highly recommend!

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-reveal6.When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 30, 2017

Pages: 380

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Balancing humor with more serious and heartfelt moments, When Dimple Met Rishi is a perfect summer contemporary! Its very character driven, and the magic & spirit of first love is captured through 3rd person POV as you follow Dimple and Rishi who have been set up in an arranged marriage. They have differing views of life and love, but throughout the story their relationship slowly develops and they learn more about themselves and each other along the way!

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren7.The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said Full Review

Publisher: Amulet Books

Release Date: April 4, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Ben and Lucy have lost Trixie (a dear sister + friend). Told through dual POV, you follow them as almost a year has passed since Trixie’s death and the complex emotions that’s still with them and how they are coping. Biren does a fantastic job with developing the emotional complexity of her characters and its present all throughout the story. Slow pacing and difficult character decisions made this novel a little disappointing. However, with strong elements in terms of character and development, this novel is very unique in its discussion of grief. 

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I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo ARC Review

Teenage model in hear shaped glasses laughingI Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (BYR)

Release Date:May 30, 2017

Pages: 336

Summary: Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

*Got an ARC from a festival*

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Delightful, heartfelt, and funny, I Believe In A Thing Called Love had me hooked from page 1! With the magic of first love, themes of family, friendship and independence weaved throughout, Goo’s novel will capture your heart!

I adored this novel so much and refuse to believe its a standalone!!

We follow Desi Lee as she navigates her senior year of high school! She’s always got a plan, but when it comes to love, “Flailure’s” are never far behind.

Told from Desi’s first person POV, following her inner dialogue was relatable and had me laughing too! She is so ambitious, independent, and driven and I loved following her in her journey through senior year!

Her inner thoughts about talking to guys is so me! XD I could relate to the nervousness she was feeling and just being unsure of how to approach them! 

When she falls for a new student in her class, Luca Drakos, she devises a formula using plots from Korean dramas to see if she can plan out her first love, but of course she has help along the way!

Friendship and family were a big part of this novel! Even in her plan to find love, Desi tried to keep her friends Fiona and Wes in the loop no matter what and they stuck by her, even when her plans went a little overboard at times :’)

While I’m pretty new to K-Dramas myself, I was still able to understand the tropes that are mentioned and above all just loved how Desi referenced different K-Dramas + tropes through out the story!

With her mother having passed at a young age, she worries for her single, mechanic father and throughout the novel, its clear they have such a strong relationship! I adored the family dynamic!! Throughout this story, its clear family is such a huge part and while YA tends to put family off to the side, I Believe In A Thing Called Love kept this theme as such an integral part!

Goo’s writing delivers such well-developed and in-depth characters, that through Desi’s POV, they feel so real! Desi’s father, Luca, Wes, Fiona, even side characters like Cassidy and Violet really came to life on the page.

While this novel does have its sweet and fun moments, there are also a lot of important themes and messages (being true to yourself, following your dreams, independence) inclusion/diversity! There was so much depth to IBIATCL!

There was Korean, Mexican (Desi’s BFF Fiona) and lesbian representation! Above all, loved the diverse representation throughout this novel!! ❤

While there was a little bit of slow pacing for me personally, it worked really well with this novel! Through it, you really get time to understand Desi and her world. 

Through Goo’s writing the setting of Orange County, Desi and friends, themes/messages, and above all just the atmosphere of first love comes to life all through out the novel and I loved that so much!

I Believe In A Thing Called Love is filled with fantastic characters, romance, humor, K-Drama scenario’s, themes of family and friendship! A delightful journey from beginning to end! Highly recommend this novel!

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Review

Amina's Voice by Hena KhanAmina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 208

Summary: A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

My Rating: ★★★★★

My Thoughts: Amina’s Voice is a beautifully written and above all fantastic novel which weaves in important themes, following Amina Khokar as she navigates culture, family + friendship, and identity!

Amina’s Voice is a novel I highly recommend! It was fantastic!

Khan’s writing delivers so many facets to Amina’s story! Not only do we see Amina’s strong family dynamic, her struggles with shyness and fears of losing her closest friend Soojin, but also the questions she has about her culture and religion.

This novel discusses the importance of culture, faith, and community.

I don’t think I’ve read any novels with Pakistani/Muslim representation, but I’m glad Amina’s Voice was the first! I adored this novel so much!

Amina and Soojin are best friends, however when Emily (a classmate who’d bullied them in the past ) begins talking with Soojin and gets invited to join them on a class project, Amina feels she may be losing her best friend.

Additionally when Amina gets signed up by her parents for a Quran recitation (being extremely shy/nervous in front of crowds) she begins to feel her world is falling apart.

The first person POV allows the reader to get into Amina’s head, follow along her journey to find her voice and slowly but surely find strength to tackle the problems she encounters.

Family is a huge part of this novel. The importance and discussion of culture and faith is prevalent all throughout, especially when Amina’s uncle comes to visit.

I adored the family dynamic all through out this novel. Not only with Amina’s parents and brother, but also the dynamic of her strong/supportive community.

Regardless of age, I was able to relate to Amina so much at times I find it difficult to find my voice/speak my mind, but reading this novel just left me feeling hopeful and overall was an amazing + inspiring reading experience.

This novel is filled with such unforgettable characters and plot! If you have not read this book, definitely pick it up! You will not be disappointed.

As the story progresses, we learn that the local mosque is vandalized, and the community is devastated. However, the mosque slowly gets rebuilt with the help of so many people/communities rallying together.

Amina’s Voice is a novel that is relatable to anyone! Throughout the novel Khan weaves in themes of faith/religion, importance of family, identity and community, friendship, and the complexities of growing up. 

April 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

The Golem And The Jinni1.The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

The Golem And The Jinni Full Review

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: I hardly ever rate books a full 5 stars, but this novel truly deserved it! It captured my heart! I loved everything about this novel from the characters, writing, world-building…I could go on & on about this book! It follows both Chava (a Golem) and Ahmed (a Jinni) as they learn more about  themselves and the world when they find themselves in 1899 New York. There is multiple POV, but Wecker does a fantastic job at differentiating them through the 3rd person POV. This is a novel I will never forget! A true gem + Highly recommend!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner2.Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A magical and captivating Beauty & The Beast retelling! Spooner delivers such complex characters and makes them + their development a huge part of the novel! The writing really delivers a “magical” tone to the novel and I loved that! I do wish there was more description for setting + faster pacing towards the middle/end. Regardless, this is a captivating tale with an immersive plot and wonderfully written characters/atmosphere! Spooner takes a classic fairy tale and makes it her own!

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi3. A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2)

A Crown Of Wishes Full Review

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Pages: 369

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi’s previous novel, The Star-Touched Queen was one I felt dispapointed me, however A Crown Of Wishes blew me away! It was phenomenal! Following Gauri and Vikram, they find themselves teaming up to compete in the Tournament Of Wishes! Chokshi’s writing is exquisite, she elegantly crafts her characters, world/setting and plot through both 3rd + 1st person POV! The plot is filled with twists & turns + is nothing short of magical! I adored it! ❤

Every Heart A Doorway4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #1)

Every Heart A Doorway Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Pages: 173

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: This novel takes the idea of of portals and other worlds and gives it depth. The main characters struggle when they find themselves returning from their Door, eager to find a way back. Filled with a diverse cast of characters, atmospheric writing, and a good amount of mystery, McGuire’s novel is engrossing and unique! My only issues were slow pacing towards the middle and a few disappointments plot-wise. Regardless, this unique tale will keep you turning the page!

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The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker Review

The Golem And The JinniThe Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

Summary: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Golem And The Jinni is a wondrous story filled with such in-depth characters, fascinating world-building, and a magical plot that will leave you captivated long after the final page!

Originally on my Goodreads review I rated it 4.5 stars, but honestly I’d spent maybe a month or so reading this book (which I’d been wanting to read for years now! ❤ ) and now that I’ve finished, this story truly a masterpiece and I felt it deserved a full 5. Aside from a minor issue (mentioned later in my review), The Golem And The Jinni is a tale I’ll never forget!

I don’t usually mention my “reading experience,” but that’s definitely another aspect that made me love this book so much. No matter where I stopped, I was immediately thrust back into the magical world of The Golem And The Jinni whenever I picked it back up! ❤ ❤

*~While I mostly read/review Young Adult, note that The Golem And The Jinni is an Adult book!~*

There were so many incredible aspects of this book I’ll try my best to explain them all.

Firstly, the plot. It was beyond amazing~ It follows Chava who is a Golem (creature made of clay) and her beginnings as she is created for Otto Rotfeld, who wants a wife. But her husband falls ill on their ship voyage to New York and passes away.

A Golem itself is also created to follow the desires/wishes of its master, however now that her husband Otto Rotfeld has passed, the desires/thoughts of people around her begin to invade her mind and she is unsure of what to do as she tries to better understand herself and navigate this world alone.

Then there’s the Ahmad the Jinni. He finds himself in a tinsmith’s shop in New York and realizes he’s been trapped in a flask for thousands of years. He does have gaps in his memory, but remembers for sure that there was a wizard who trapped him. All he wishes for is freedom.

These magical creatures are now understanding who they are and where they fit, in this new world.

As for other elements of the story (like plot) I don’t think I’ll go too much in depth, because I feel this a tale you really need experience for yourself without much background. But, I will mention the basics and a few specific elements that I really loved!

The writing (3rd person POV) is very descriptive and creates a magical atmosphere which immediately draws you into the story. There is a lot of description of food, setting/nature, that the setting feels rich and immersive.

There are multiple POV’s however, Wecker does a masterful job at making them distinct, really letting you understand each and every character with such depth that they feel so real throughout the story!

The story weaves together phenomenally which is shown masterfully through the differing POV’s.

At its heart, this tale is about finding yourself and understanding who you want to be. I loved that theme of self-discovery was weaved all throughout the story.

The diversity was fantastic! There’s mainly a Syrian and Jewish cast of characters and an array of ages among them.

I adored the world-building! There’s so much detail put into the differing neighborhoods, buildings and architecture. Additionally, I found each character lends a unique scope to the world-building as well, which truly made the settings come to life.

While reading I could really picture the wear and tear of the apartment buildings, the baked goods, the sunsets, bustle of city life…everything! Being able to really envision these little details really transported me.

Magic weaves with history and religion as this tale, which fuses both Jewish and Arabic folklore, unfolds.

The female friendships in this book were fantastic! While a problem or two arises along the way, they show support and care for each other no matter what!

I suppose my only minor issue pacing with some moments throughout the POV’s where it is rather slow.

The Golem And The Jinni is a captivating & atmospheric tale that melds history with fantasy. Filled with compelling characters, themes of family, friendship, and a dazzling setting, this is not a tale to miss!✨

Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller Review

Daughter Of The Pirate KingDaughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A fast-paced pirate adventure with the perfect blend of action, romance, swashbuckling, and a hint of fantasy that will keep you turning the page!

Ever since I found out about this book back in 2015, I knew this would be a book I would love!

I mean kick-butt lady pirates, deception and adventure on the high seas? Whats not to love??

And this book absolutely went above and beyond my expectations! ❤ ❤

I flew through it in less than a day! 

You know when your reading a book, your transported and feel your right there with the characters in their world + before you know it you’ve reached the end?? Thats what reading this book was like! I loved each & every moment! (´▽`ʃƪ)

The plot surprised me with each and every page! I never knew where the plot was going & overall it went in very unique directions I was not expecting!

Reading from Alosa’s POV + through Tricia’s fantastic writing style, made DOTPK the swashbuckling adventure I was anticipating!

In terms of writing-style, Levenseller does a phenomenal job with atmosphere and characters, while the world-building itself is lightly touched upon in the beginning & introduced more towards the middle/end, she crafts it in such a way where you can really understand the world with its mythical sirens, mysterious islands and seafaring adventures!

I loved learning about the mythical Isle De Canta! Levenseller really built it into the lore and history of this world perfectly!!

As for characters I loved them! As stated before with Tricia’s writing, you really get to know these distinct characters through Alosa’s POV & get more insight to them through Alosa’s perceptive/pirate skills!

+ Oh gosh I adored Riden!! (´▽`ʃƪ) While he appears to be a ruthless, cold person, Alosa learns there’s more to him than she expects & the relationship they build through their banter was the best! Their relationship never felt forced to me & overall I really loved their dynamic!!

The plot surrounds Alosa as she plans her capture onto an enemy ship known as The Night Farer to find the missing piece of a 3-part map that will lead her father (The Pirate King) to the Isle De Canta! Thought that’s not without some obstacles along the way, like Riden’s interrogations, Alosa having to be constantly aware of her cover and not reveal any of her ruthless pirate skills or the plan for that matter!

Draxen, captain of The Night Farer underestimates Alosa’s pirate skills, however Riden (younger brother + first mate to Draxen) is sure that she’s hiding something!

I adored the female crew she had by her side when she finds herself docked for a night at a small town & how they were eager to help her no matter what! (Mandsy, Zimah & Sorinda were all such supportive friends to Alsoa!) It was clear that they all looked out for each other + supported each other!

Alosa also struggles to come to terms with who she is (when certain secrets are revealed) + while also wanting to prove herself to her father and seeing that struggle really surprised me because when the book starts out, you don’t really see much fear from her.

Her development + Riden’s was remarkably done! Levenseller really added depth to their character (among others) and you really see them differently by the end of the novel!

Overall this book went above and beyond my expectations and I cannot wait to see where Alosa’s adventure is headed in book 2!

Daughter Of The Pirate King is a swashbuckling adventure with action, kick-butt lady pirates and an immersive + fun story to keep you turning the page!