July 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 5

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton1. One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

One Italian Summer Full Review

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: May 4, 2017

Pages: 245

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There was a strong theme of sisterly bonding between the the 3 sisters Milly, Elise & Leonie throughout the whole novel which I loved, as they take a trip to Italy w/ their mother to celebrate a relative’s wedding. There’s also a theme of grief as the girls come to terms with their father’s death. Stainton really captured and kept the themes of sisterly-love + grief throughout the whole novel. However, there is a romance that I felt began to overshadow the plot (since its told through 1st person POV) + the atmosphere of Italy wasn’t quite there and I was hoping for a little more description. Aside from that, it was a pretty enjoyable YA Summer Contemporary!

This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes2. This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

This Is How It Happened Full Review

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: Genevieve Larsen comes to terms with her boyfriend Dallas Kade’s death in this YA Contemporary that discusses mental health, family, friendship, acceptance, and the impact of social media/internet! Kade was an up-and-coming singer and his fans mourned for his loss. Gen learns to accept and cope when truths come to light about what happened.While there were some moments of slow pacing + the romance feeling a little rushed, Stokes’s YA Contemporaries always manage to integrate a number of themes and topics into her novels that give them such depth!

The Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana3. The Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana

The Library Of Fates Full ARC Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 354

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The Library Of Fates is a perfect YA Fantasy if your looking for a character-driven +thought-provoking tale! When Princess Amarita’s castle is attacked, she goes on a journey to reclaim her kingdom and change her fate! There’s female friendships, a rich mythology that really shines throughout the novel, and little to no romance! The plot kept me surprised with each and every page! While there were a few moments of slow pacing towards the middle + wanting a little more expansion on world/characters, Khorana’s novel was a tale that immersed me from the very beginning!

Lucky In Love by Kasie West4. Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Lucky In Love Full ARC Review

Publisher: Scholastic

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 333

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Maddie’s life changes when she wins the lottery, however she makes some mistakes along the way as she is so overwhelmed with all the money she has! There’s a cute friendship/romance that develops with Seth Nguyen (one of Maddie’s co-workers), discussion on finances/financial struggles, + themes of friendship & family. While some of Maddie’s decisions did frustrate me, this novel is a fun and fast-paced contemporary that will have the pages flying by!

No More Heroes by Michelle Kan5. No More Heroes by Michelle Kan

No More Heroes Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing

Release Date: June 27, 2015

Pages: 265

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: No More Heroes is a perfect read if your looking for Urban Fantasy, action, mystery, love superheroes/superpowers, and are looking for a diverse cast of characters! (Seriously there is so much representation ❤ ❤ A majority of the cast are characters of differing ethnicites (Samon, Chinese, Indian, Cambodian + Maori  & characters who identify as aro-ace, gay, genderfluid, have anxiety + ADHD) In the City, we follow 3 teens who have Abilities who find themselves teaming up with Vigilantes (or those who use their Abilities to take down bad guys) as Vigilantes start mysteriously being killed off!  Kan does a fantastic job at building the element of mystery throughout! The world-building is so unique from the setting to the explanation for how the differing Abilities work! There is such a big emphasis on friendship throughout the whole novel + no romance! I did want a little more description/expansion in terms of world+characters, but above all No More Heroes was a unique and fascinating story that has me awaiting a sequel!

Additional Posts + Miscellaneous From This Month:

All Systems Red by Martha Wells Book Review (Originally read in July)

Fire Emblem AwakeningMisc*~ If you didn’t know, I love video games and after so long, I finally got back into playing them again! So, in July what took up a lot of my free time when I wasn’t reading was Fire Emblem Awakening!✨🎮 Its a tactical role-playing game where your a skilled tactician who wakes up from amnesia to find yourself helping out a prince, his sister and their guard in their fantasy kingdom of Ylissie as you defend the kingdom from monsters! I don’t really wanna give too much of the plot away, but yeah this game is tons of fun! I adore it, the characters, plot, world, everything, one of my new favorite video games for sure!! I made it about 1/2 way through the game in July & I’m hoping to finish it this month!😍💖🎉 ~

The Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana ARC Review

The Library Of Fates by Aditi KhoranaThe Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 354

Summary: No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

*Received ARC from a festival*

My Rating:★★★★☆ (still debating between 4 + 4½)

My Thoughts: The Library Of Fates is a character-driven tale that explores a rich and immersive world, while weaving in thought-provoking discussions! The plot goes in directions that keep you turning the page!

While I may be in between 4/4½ , just the reading experience alone made this book so much fun!

Khorana’s writing really builds the world we see through Princess Amarita’s eyes! Through the 1st person POV, The Library Of Fates easily becomes a very character-driven story that shows so many different sides to Amarita as she undergoes a journey to reclaim her kingdom.

As for plot, I adored it so much! From the very first page discussing “The Parable Of The Land Of Trees,” I felt immersed from the very beginning.

The princess has lived quite a sheltered life and over the course of this novel, yet comes to understand more about her home of Shalingar and the magic that sweeps across her kingdom.

Amarita must escape her kingdom when it gets attacked by Emperor Sikander and finds herself on the run with Thala, an Oracle (who was taken from her family and trapped within Sikander’s kingdom)! There is never rivalry, etc. between them and they support each other no matter what as they go on this dangerous journey to reach The Library of All Things and undo the fate that’s been put upon Shalingar!

However, with Sikander eager to take control of the Sybillines cave (for the powerful drug chamak), his guards among others, are never far behind, so Amarita & Thala try to stay hidden over the course of the story.

Female friendships + empowerment in this novel is also huge part of The Library Of Fates! It really focuses on Amarita & Thala’s growth as they become friends and their strength as they face struggles while learning more about who they are!

As for the other characters, such as her father Chandradev, Arjun, her childhood friend+ Mala, her lady in waiting (among others we meet along the way) they all came to life through Amarita’s eyes.

The relationships, especially between Amarita + Arjun was very well done! We learn so much about their past and strong friendship, I wish he was present in the story more!

This novel is essentially a journey story, as Amarita tries to find a way to undo her kingdom’s fate and Thala hopes to find freedom. The plot went in directions that kept me guessing and above all was unexpected for me!

Khorana’s writing really delivers a world rich with mythology and is a vital part of the novel! That aspect of the story really shines throughout the novel, as do the magical/fantastical elements + Amarita as a character!

Similar to Mirror In The Sky, what I love about Khorana’s writing is how thought-provoking it is and how it really makes you think about the bigger picture!

I did find the pacing to be just a little bit slow towards the middle + I did want more expansion/development from certain characters + aspects of the world, because I really wanted to learn more about them as the story progressed!

Aside from that…
The Library Of Fates is a complex and thought-provoking YA Fantasy that really focuses on the expansive mythology in the world as well as the characters! The plot takes unexpected turns that will leave you guessing till the very end!

August 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 10

The Kiss Of Deception1-3. The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (BYR)

The Kiss Of Deception Rating: ★★★☆

The Heart Of Betrayal Rating:★★★★☆ ½

The Beauty Of Darkness Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: I will admit I had a rough start with this Historical-Fantasy trilogy with the slow pacing + difficulty connecting to the main character in book 1, but the sequel is the best book of the 3! An enjoyable trilogy with the perfect mix of romance and betrayal!

PS I Like You4.PS I Like You by Kasie West

PS I Like You Full Review

Publisher: Point

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Pages: 304

My Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A delightful & cute YA Contemporary with humor + mystery! I loved Lily the main character reading from her POV made this book so fun to read! Highly recommend! ❤

Mirror In The Sky June 215.Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana

Mirror In The Sky Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: June 21, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The author melds 2 unlike genres and delivers it in a wonderful writing style. However I wish there was more discussed about Terra Nova (the mirror planet) which was left more in the background of the story. Regardless, the author created such a unique concept & I’m interested in reading more of her books!

Women In Science 50 Fearless Pioneers by Rachel Ignotofsky6.Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Women In Science Full Review

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Pages: 128

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: An inspiring read filled with stories + wonderful illustrations of women who throughout history, worked and studied hard to achieve their dreams and accomplish incredible feats in the fields of science and math!

Hidamari ga Kikoeru Cover7-8. Hidamari ga Kikoeru by Yuki Fumino (volume 1 &2)

Full Review To Come!! 

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: A heart-warming manga about 2 college students. One is quiet, introverted + hearing-impaired and the other is sociable+ outgoing! The two develop a friendship that hints at leading to something more! Great mental illness/health discussion! I flew through these volumes & loved each and every moment! ❤ ❤

Kingdom Of Ashes And Briars9.Kingdom Of Ash And Briars by Hannah West

ARC Review To Come Closer To Release Date

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Release Date: September 15, 2016

Pages: 352

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Loved this book! An immersive YA Fantasy that mixes fairy tales + fantasy perfectly! This novel surrounds Bristol, a kitchen maid, who discovers she is an elicromancer who is tasked with protecting the 3 kingdoms in the land of Nissera! Highly recommend adding this book to your TBR!

A Torch Against The Night10.A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes #2)

A Torch Against The Night Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: August 30, 2016

Pages: 452

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel! The strengths of this book are definitely in the characters and their development! The tone of this book felt completely different from book 1, regardless its filled with twists and turns, non-stop action & I cannot wait to see where book 3 is headed.

Additional Posts From This Month:

August 2016 Book Releases

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Cover Reveal

Book Bytes I #5

Daughter Of The Pirate King Cover Reveal

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

 

Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana Review

Mirror In The Sky June 21Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: June 21, 2016

Pages: 352

Summary: For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.

The world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, and Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.

As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–or for Tara–will ever be the same again.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

My Thoughts: A wonderfully written debut that mixes Sci-Fi w/ Contemporary!

 

This felt very reminiscent of Tommy Wallach’s We Looked Up regardless, Khorana brings a very unique story with a variety of elements, like politics, race, even scientific theory!

When Terra Nova (a mirror planet to Earth) is first introduced I was definitely interested to learn more about its origins and how it would impact the lives of everyday people.

With news broadcasts, various theories + Tara’s POV this mirror planet brought up many fascinating questions of whether or not Terra Nova could possibly reflect an alternate timeline/universe which was fascinating!

However there were a few problems I had:

1.Pacing

If a plot drags for a big portion of the novel, I will most likely not give it a full 5 stars and overall I found the pace for Mirror to be extremely slow.

2.Tara Nova/Plot

Tara Nova was a very unique concept that I don’t think I’d ever read in another novel before. That said, I wish it was discussed more + given more of a central role in this novel.

Because in the beginning it is discussed, however the novel ended up focusing more on Tara’s new friends (popular kids) & the drama that goes on between them & Terra Nova was then left in the background.

It became more of a YA-Contemporary than the Contemporary/Sci-Fi I was expecting.

Leaving Tara all alone junior year, Meg leaves for the first semester to be in Argentina. Tara wishes things could be different. Soon she gets her wish.

After attempting to save Halle’s (most popular girl in school) dog, she soon becomes friends with the popular kids and her long-time crush Nick starts talking to her!

She believes it may be Terra Nova!
But soon things begin to take a different turn. Her mother becomes obsessed with Terra Nova & decides its best if she leave to not only find herself, but understand what exactly Terra Nova is!

Tara becomes tangled in friendship drama +comes to see the effects/reaction of Terra Nova brings to her school.

While the plot itself definitely introduced interesting elements + I really did enjoy reading from Tara’s POV (the politics of HS/some science here & there of TN + how she came to understand the popular kids + feel more connected with some of them) I felt the plot just mostly focused on the drama that went on w/ her new friends & I was expecting a more broad view of Terra Nova.

I will admit the ending was definitely unexpected (Halle’s disappearance) Did not see that coming!!
Now I really want to know what happened to her b/c that was such an open ending!!

While it wasn’t necessarily for me, it definitely delivers well developed/realistic characters + a variety of social/political elements with a unique concept!

Regardless of these issues, with a mix of genres, wonderful writing style and unique concept such as this, I am definitely interested to read more of Aditi’s work!

June 2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

Here are the June Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

You Know Me Well June 7
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin June 7

1.You Know Me Well by David Levithan + Nina Lacour

ARC Review To Come (Currently Reading)

Summary: Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

American Girls June 7
Publisher: Flatiron Books June 7

2.American Girls by Alison Umminger

Summary: She was looking for a place to land.
Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she’s had it with her life at home. So Anna “borrows” her stepmom’s credit card an runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn’t quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls—and although the violence in her own life isn’t the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna’s singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America—in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn’t, in a way not often seen in YA fiction.

 

 

How It Ends
Publisher: HMH BYR June 7

3.How It Ends by Catherine Lo

Summary: There are two sides to every story.

It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They’re BFFs…until suddenly they’re not.

Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is a wildly fast but deeply moving read about a friendship in crisis. Set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys and backstabbing, the novel shows what can happen when friends choose assumptions and fear over each other.

Never Ever June 21
Publisher: Viking BYR June 21

4.Never Ever by Sara Saedi

Summary: When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently.

But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.

Mirror In The Sky June 21
Publisher: Razorbill June 21

5.Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana

Summary: For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices.

The world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, and Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it.

As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara’s life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth–or for Tara–will ever be the same again.