ARC REVIEW: Grit by Gillian French

Title: Grit

Author/s: Gillian French

Publication Date: May 16th 2017

Publisher: by HarperTeen

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 304

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

is presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long.
Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.


Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

My Thoughts

**Thank you HarperCollins International for providing an ARC of Grit.bBeing provided a review copy doesn’t affect nor influence my thoughts about the book.**

Primarily, this book disappointed me. 
The book was a bit different than what I thought. I expected conflicting mysteries, some sort of character insanities and mind-blowing twists and turns.
Instead of having read those, the author just showcased the daily life of the main character. The story revolved around Darcy’s journey, her continuous mention about the thing that happened on the fourth of July, the sudden disappearance of her former best friend, the problems that she’s currently facing and their preparation for the beauty pageant. Speaking of, I still don’t understand the part that the pageant played, what’s its concern, why is there a need to make a storyline with a pageant or what message it’s trying to convey. 
I don’t understand a lot of things. The story focused on too many activities at once. Turning the pages, I kept on waiting to be exposed to the real mystery, with hopes of finally reading a surprise revelation. So much is going on with the plot. I struggled looking for the main point of the story. 
I admired Darcy Prentiss’ character, she’s a strong girl who gives importance to her family. A girl full of determination. Someone who doesn’t care about what other people say to her. I liked how she handled all the issues about her, the slut-shaming and all. She managed to force a smile and laugh at the insults. I guess I focused more on this kind of real-life issues (sexual assaults) than the mysteries. 
Aside from the characters’ strong voice, what kept me reading this novel is the writing style of the author. French was able to use figures of speech that sometimes I tend to forget that the confusing plot is pissing me off. I appreciated her style. 
Altogether, I think Grit has a lot of potential, and it would be an okay read if the plot wasn’t as busy as it was. Just some cleaning up will do. 

Rating

2tars


author


Gillian French is the author of three novels for teens: GRIT (HarperTeen, 5/16/2017), THE DOOR TO JANUARY (Islandport Press, 9/5/2017), and THE SUMMER BOYS (HarperTeen, 5/2/2018). Her short fiction has appeared in Odd Tree Press Quarterly, EMP Publishing’s anthology Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups): Tales of Extreme Horror, Sanitarium Magazine, and The Realm Beyond. She holds a BA in English from the University of Maine, and lives in her native state of Maine with her husband and sons, where she’s perpetually at work on her next novel.

 


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BOOK REVIEW: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Title: The Love Interest

Author/s: Cale Dietrich

Publication Date: May 16th 2017

Publisher: by Feiwel & Friends

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 384

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

“There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

My Thoughts

Thank you Macmillan International for providing an ARC of The Love Interest. Being provided a review copy doesn’t affect nor influence my thoughts about the book.

Welcome to Love Interest Compound wherein young men and women are trained in the art of seduction. Two LI’s will be picked. One is a Bad, while one will be the Nice, their mission it to make the high-profiled Chosen fall for them, the winner will have a chance to experience real life in exchange of continuing his/her service by being a spy providing information to the secret compound.

Both Dylan and Caden act so damn good even I -as a reader who’s supposed to know the thoughts of the MC, was always left conflicted. The unpredictability of the characters were amazing. I loved how they slowly realized things, not just between the two of them. But the things about themselves, finding out what they truly want, what they honestly desire, and deciding to fight for it.

And Juliet, how I loved her character. We aren’t blinded by the fact that girls are known for being greatly sensitive, impulsive and emotional when it comes to a lot of things. So I was truly impressed when I knew her character. She isn’t like most girls. Juliet’s personality is far from those. She didn’t even dare to have revenge, to resent them, but instead, she decided to show forgiveness and understanding. She even offered help to the ones who did her wrong.

Though I mentioned a lot of times that I liked and loved the characters of this novel, I didn’t feel any connection to anyone. Not to single character, so I felt detached.

Caden’s first meeting with Juliet happened so fast. I disliked yet I liked (I know I know, I’m confusing) how SCRIPTED some parts were, how behind all their actions are persons who direct them. Yes, they have coaches and almost everything they do is all in their SCRIPT. They are like dolls! They undergo plastic surgeries (yes, they are unnaturally beautiful.) so that it’s certain that their Chosen will not dare to look at others. They even have a category, a Nice and a Bad. No need for me to explain for the explanation is already the word itself.

The novel started pretty interesting, then got more intriguing along the way, I’ve been trying to figure out what’s true and what’s not. Who’s being fake and who isn’t. The storyline’s doing good, it’s satisfying. Well not until the story reached its culminating point and the pace became fast. It seemed rushed up until 1/4 of the book’s part III.

So foolish of me to think that the romance will be another annoying love triangle. I should’ve guessed it when I first read the blurb. To my surprise and relief, it wasn’t. Funny how I started thinking that Juliet was used as a tool to Dylan and Caden’s romance. Oh god, I never swooned this much. The problem is, I never felt a deep connection between the two, nothing more but the sensual tension.

The ending, sadly, seemed like it wasn’t carefully handled. The sudden revelation made me think about the LIC system and how much secret they’re still hiding. Regarding the Stalkers (killing machines), and the implants (trackers?) on the love interests, the Science Fiction part of the book took place, and for the first time, I liked it.

For a debut novel, Cale Dietrich made an impressive masterpiece. Hats off, Mr. Dietrich.

Overall, I highly recommend this sexually diverse, fast-paced, and action-packed novel to every YA Contemporary and Sci-Fi fans out there.

Rating

4stars


author

14541076Twitter

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ARC REVIEW: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Author/s: Maurene Goo

Publication Date: May 30th 2017

Publisher: by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 336

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

“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.

My Thoughts

**Thank you MacMillan International for the review copy of this book.**

Being an Asian and a K-Drama fan, being approved of having to review this book brought me a-100% joy! Reading the blurb, I immediately knew that I’d love the MC, a Korean-American teenage girl with a cool father who loves watching K-Dramas… Or would I?

Meet Desi Lee, an outstanding student, a goal-setter, a complete control freak, she excels at anything except love. Then she met the artist, Luca Drakos (what a cool name right?) and she’d do anything to make the boy fall in love with her. Of course, with the help of her listed steps or Rules on How to Achieve True Love.

A round of applause for the well-made diversity. Racial and sexual diversity are present in this book. Stating the fact that the two MCs are people of colors and that Desi’s best friend is a lesbian.

Desi Lee has such a strong voice, with her being all nerdy, wanting to be in-control, setting goals, having directions in life, and planning her future. But I hated how she thought that she can manipulate EVERYTHING, I mean, who would want their feelings to be manipulated? I hated how she purposely played with Luca’s feelings, like Luca’s just another science experiment (which he was) and another trophy to put on her collection.

I also want to mention the difference between Desi and Luca’s father. Desi being really close to hers supporting her, her dad being all vocal and witty around her. While Luca has a father who always have him arrested, grounds him, and all. Makes the readers realize that parents do have different ways on raising their children.

This is my first time reading a book written by Maurene Goo. Her exceptional and brilliant writing made me want to read more of her works.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who loved Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Love Before.

 

Goodreads Review Click This Link

Rating

6171cf4f-39cf-4de2-b9c6-bebe8ed9657e


author

6549377Maurene Goo grew up in a Los Angeles suburb surrounded by floral wallpaper and piles of books. She studied communication at UC San Diego and then later received a Masters in publishing, writing, and literature at Emerson College. Before publishing her first book, Since You Asked, she worked in both textbook and art book publishing. She also has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants and lives in Los Angeles

 


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BOOK REVIEW: The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: The Careful Undressing of Love

Author/s: Corey Ann Haydu

Publication Date: January 31st 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 288

Purchase at: Amazon

Synopsis

“Everyone who really knows Brooklyn knows Devonairre Street girls are different. They’re the ones you shouldn’t fall in love with. The ones with the curse. The ones who can get you killed.

Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Street girl, and for years, paying lip service to the curse has been the small price of living in a neighborhood full of memories of her father, one of the thousands killed five years earlier in the 2001 Times Square Bombing. Then her best friend’s boyfriend is killed, and suddenly a city paralyzed by dread of another terrorist attack is obsessed with Devonairre Street and the price of falling in love.

Set in an America where recent history has followed a different path

Untitled-3

I am grateful that The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu was sent to me.
The novel’s synopsis hooked me. I mean, who wouldn’t want a book about girls who shouldn’t fall in love with a boy? Because if so happens, the boy they love will die.
Another magical realism! I am starting to be a fan of this genre. I love how odd and mysterious the book is, the curses, their beliefs. Problem is it became TOO mysterious, there wasn’t even a history or background about the curse, why there’s a curse, when did it start, etc. ACUOL has a nice plot if only the author did let it reach its potential. 
This novel is indeed about a careful undressing of such a powerful feeling, love. What is love per se, and all its worth. The book also focused on grief and how to cope. 
I didn’t feel any connection to characters. And I was disappointed for the whole story centered to Lorna, her grief and her beliefs. It seemed like the author forgot about the other girls who were also supposed to be in pain, grieving, questioning love and their curse. But each character has a loud voice screaming things about the importance of friendship.
I’d like to mention two of the things that made me rate this book three stars. First is the diversity. The characters have different nationalities as well as sexualities. Next in line is the gorgeous prose, one full of feelings and emotions.
Though the ending left me feeling unsatisfied, I would still say that this book deserves to be read especially by those who love mysterious magical realisms, that my dearies, is if one is open to a lot of questions

Rating

3stars


Author

5414574

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BOOK REVIEW: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson

Title: City of Saints and Thieves

Author/s: Natalie Anderson

Publication Date: January 24th 2017

Publisher: by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 401

Purchase at: Amazon

Synopsis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

Untitled-3

**Thank you Penguin Random House International for providing an ARC of this title in exchange of an honest review.**

Please take note thar this review is based on an ARC.

A YA novel I never thought I’d love!

What had me hooked was the first rule in being a thief. “If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.”

The unique setting quite fascinated me. I now have enough knowledge about Kenya. I mean, if I am not mistaken not much books are set in such place. Tina lives in such a complicated yet interesting place, Congo. The originality caught my whole attention and made my reading experience more enjoyable.

I liked the characters, mostly Tina. She’s someone who’s determined, strongly-motivated, someone who knows exactly what she wants. A brave and smart young girl. Together with her is Michael and Boyboy, both played a really important role in the the story. They were also one my favorites!

There were serious issues tackled in the story like human rights, politics, economics are also included, as well as inequalities. Each has strong and unimaginable impact.

The pacing of the story is what annoyed me, most of the time the pacing is stead-fast, while some times, it’s too slow. Though it didn’t affect my reading, I just you guys to know just in case some of you don’t like alternated pacing.

Never have I ever read a thriller book with a revenge plot mixed with street gangs. One which has relevance in our current situations. The story was too thrilling, too unpredictable, I was often at the edge of my sit. The storyline kept me guessing, thank goodness I was brought to a few new places.

Overall, City of Saints and Thieves successfully pleased me. I want to read more diverse books like this. Highly recommended if you want something different.

Rating

4stars


Author

14746831

Natalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Boston, Massachusetts. She has spent the last decade working with NGOs and the UN on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer in Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints and Thieves.


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BOOK REVIEW: Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell

Title: Pillow Thoughts

Author/s: Courtney Peppernell

Publication Date: October 05, 2016

Publisher:

Format: eBook

Number of Pages: 256

Purchase at: Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indigo

synopsis

“Pillow Thoughts is a collection of poetry and prose about heartbreak, love and raw emotions.
It is divided into sections to read when you feel you need them most.
Make a cup of tea and let yourself feel.

thoughts

**Thank you Raf from The Royal Polar Bear Reads for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this promotional blog tour!

An extremely heartfelt collection of poetry. Courtney managed to craft a masterpiece that somehow expressed the thoughts that I always have in a way that I can never do. The poems speak to you. Courtney used simple and non-complex words that touch the heart, body and soul of whoever reads the book. It was impressive.

But truth be told, reading the book, I cannot say that I enjoyed it that much. Basically, all I did was cried my heart out.

Rating

6171cf4f-39cf-4de2-b9c6-bebe8ed9657e


author

courtney-peppernell

Courtney Peppernell is a best-selling LGBTQ author from Sydney, Australia. Courtney has been writing her whole life and focuses on Young Adult novels and Poetry Collections. Keeping Long Island is her third title release, and the first under her new book brand, Pepper Books.

 


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BOOK REVIEW: Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Title: Lucky Boy

Author/s: Shanthi Sekaran

Publication Date: January 10th 2017

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 480

Purchase at: Amazon . FullyBooked . National Bookstore

 

synopsis

“Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. As Kavya learns to be a mother–the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being–she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.

thoughts

The moment Julia (from PRH International) introduced the book to us, I knew that Lucky Boy is not my cup of tea, but somehow I wanted to read something that is out of my comfort zone.

Thank you Penguin Random House International for giving me an opportunity to read and review Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran in exchange of an honest review.

Lucky Boy is one hell of a strikingly beautiful novel, wherein two main characters were introduced. Soli , an illegal immigrant from Mexico who got involved with some guys, and found herself pregnant. She is the birth mother of Ignacio “Nacho”. Since she’s an illegal immigrant, she got into trouble with the state’s laws. Soli temporarily lost custody of her child.

Then meet Kavya , and her husband Rishi , Ignacio’s foster parents. Kavya and Rishi had a hard time trying to make a baby, they were so close to having one, but all their hopes fell when the baby lost its heartbeat. They tried and tried and almost gave up, until Ignacio “Iggy” entered their life. Kavya treated him as her own, gave him a life that is close to perfection. However, only one mother can have Ignacio.

Tell me how to stop all these feelings? The novel is full of hard reality facts. Subject matters are of importance. Immigration, parenthood, issues that are prevalent in this generation. Also, though the book did not focus on this particular aspect, rape issues were present.

The book was set in a familiar place, but funny how the people aren’t. There were different beliefs, personalities, values and characters.

Even if the book did caught my interest, I can’t help but notice the flatness of the author’s writing style for the first 30 pages. Good thing that it happened to impressively improve along the way. I was too invested to the lives of the two mothers, but going close to the resolution, the story started to bore me. I lost interest. Everything happened to be predictable. And the only thing that keeps me reading is the fact that I know the importance of this book, and that I am rooting for a surprisingly different ending. BUT, the ending left me upset, disappointed.

Overall, Lucky Boy is definitely a compelling and promising book. One that is full of love and at the same time it will leave you conflicted.

Rating

4stars


author

1779547Shanthi Sekaran was born and raised in California, and now splits her time between Berkeley and London. A graduate of UC Berkeley and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, she was first published in Best New American Voices 2004 (Harcourt).

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