Suspicion by Alexandra Monir // I Actually Enjoyed This!

Monday, 30 May 2016 2 comments
Suspicion, by Alexandra Monir
Publication: December 9, 2014, by Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.
For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen’s dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.
Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.
Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.

My Thoughts:

Suspicion is the riveting tale about magic, labyrinths (agh, I remember discovering the definition behind that word), romance and a British empire and family who keep undergoing death and nasty (drama) things. I loved the main character, and just about every speck of gorgeousness that Alexandra Monir provided readers with from start to finish. This is a true gem at the bookstore, library or any other bookish provider that you know of. Weeks later, I am still shocked with everything that occurred, and everything is so new in my mind that it just keeps repeating truly like some endless labyrinth or cycle. This newbie has caught my eye for a long time, though not being captivated by Monir's time traveling trilogy, I had second guesses. If you are even not the biggest fantasy fan, this light read could seriously change that, as it is not a heavy duty read where you have to pry your eyes open and put that lame thinking cap on to make sure you understand every plot bit.

Alexandra Monir implants royalty and magic together, two things that go with each other like milk and cookies. We have our protagonist, Imogen, who never knew that she would one day become heir to her throne, and after spending many years in New York City with a foster family who loves her as if she was their own child, she decides to head back to London where her family's history resides beside her. 

Okay, there's romance, there's drama. I aspire to read books like that. If this did not contain any kind of romance whatsoever, I think my attention span would have died down, and this certainly could have been a DNF or close. The fling between Imogen and Sebastian just made complete sense with it all. I highly feel like promoting it. PROMOTE THE ROMANCE WITH FANTASY, PEOPLE!
The cover just makes so much sense and I feel this Selection by Kiera Cass vibe coming from this. Do not expect the actual selecting part though. This cannot compare to The Bachelor, my fellow rom-com obsessed friends. Instead, we had the kick-ass royalty thing coming along. Monir experiments this plot with a modern-day setting in London. I certainly have rarely seen high fantasy mixed with mystery mixed with contemporary. There goes the risk-taking that I love when authors take!

This just turned out to be such a great read that I highly recommend. I finished it in a sitting, devoured it instantly, and went around later explaining it to my friends. I have this itsy-bitsy feeling that they are hooked. This is not your Snow Like Ashes thing with elements or dragons. This is something that who knows, could exist somewhere. Think of death, parallel universes and a pretty garden with maids who fake things. Wow. *takes a breather*

What is interesting is that this apparently is a retelling of the book(?) Rebecca. We have myths and just about everything fitting in together to make this just the way we YA fans adore these kinds of books. Fall in love with this book, adore this book, make all of the positive things happen because this is truly one to remember.

Do you know any fantasy books that are retellings? Have you read Rebecca?

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood // The Gorgeous Cover Kind of Fooled Me

Thursday, 26 May 2016 2 comments
The Square Root of Summer, by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Publication: May 3, 2016, by Roaring Brook Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Time-Traveling
Pages: 295
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.
With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

My Thoughts:

I was kind of fooled by this beautiful cover, my lovely reviewers. Kind of. Slightly. I'm kidding. I was a LITTLE MORE than SLIGHTLY fooled by this cover and the time-traveling premise of Harriet Reuter Hapgood's debut novel that was released at the perfect moment—before summer and before allergy season (which has hit now), before I get the sniffles and am not able to look at books for a few days because my eyes are blurry. 'Twas a perfect period of time to release the book, but surely not a perfect story overall. I found this one to be too good to be true. In fact, it was not as math-based or philosophically inclined as I expected when I requested it for review.

The Square Root of Summer was supposed to be what you first thought: about time traveling and rewinding. I saw this more of a coming of age, moving story about a girl who is trying to discover what memories are important in life and what should she keep in mind as she makes new decisions and all of that jazz. This was mostly focused on the ever-building romance between Gottie and Thomas, two "best friends" who have known each other since birth and were separated by Thomas moving. He comes back, and things speed up once more even though they were separated for a real long time and y'know... once we become teenagers, shiz changes. Greatly, sometimes, even. I do not want to head back to my eleven-year-old life, let's just say that.

I liked this one, don't get me wrong. Hapgood delivers a good message in this story, proving that we all have what it takes to form bonds (once again) with people who may be our enemies (even though it has never happened to me), or with people who we lost ages ago. 

Five Reasons Why I Gave This 3.5 Stars:

1. It missed the "WOW factor." I think y'all get it. I just was not able to see the thing that draws me in so much and keeps me drawn in. I read this because I was initially intrigued, but that seemed to fade away after I kept reading and things started to speed up, or in this case, s l o w down. I wanted more mathematical concepts explained, more theoretical stuff, less fluff. WHY THE FLUFF, HARRIET?!

2. I loved Gottie. Once in a while us readers are introduced to a protagonist who is so relatable that we feel like the book is strictly about our lives and it turns out to be kind of... creepy. Gottie was that person for me. When I read a book, I do not go into it expecting to be able to relate to every single character and feel like it's my life. But when it does happen, it turns out to be a factor that just makes me enjoy the book even more. I even had this conversation with my friends today. We laughed and anchored about a book that was supposedly "so bad" to others but I loved it. I turn out to be the black sheep in those senses a few times while reading. This? I was equal with everyone else. This is not a five star read, but Gottie's lovely, cheery character made everything a touch better. 

3. It's different. Uniqueness is that DEFINITE factor that makes me smile a bit. Jokes. A LOT. I love diversity in themes, and this definitely had it. I love ROMANCE WITH TIME TRAVELING. And this time-traveling had a twist, my friends! Let's head into the Tardis or whatever you Whowards or whatever call it. *wink*

4. You will enjoy it. I'm pretty sure it's everyone's cup of tea. I mean, there's a bitter taste at the start, but things do get better.

5. Thomas is smoking. Not as in cigarettes but as in HOT FACTOR. I ship Gottie and him so hard. *giggles*

"Thomas didn't belong on his side of the hedge, where the lawn was neatly clipped and his scary dad's rules were practically laminated. And I didn't quite belong on mine, where we were allowed to roam free. It wasn't about like or love—we were always together. We shared a brain. And now he's coming back..." (15)

The Square Root of Summer is that beachy read for your science nerds. Or for anyone, for that matter. I loved its depth, characters and diversity in themes, compared to your typical contemporary romance featuring long-lost lovers. Boom, this is the perfect book to add to your TBR list right now. This instant. This time period. Or, you could just go back in time and pretend that you did it already. You're a genius.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is the most 'mathematical' YA book you've read? Isn't this cover gorgeous?

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes // KIDS/EVERYONE, ASK YOUR PARENTS FOR THIS ONE

Sunday, 22 May 2016 0 comments
Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Publication: July 12, 2016, by Little Brown BFYR
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can't help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means,
and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?
Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren't alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.

My Thoughts:

Everyday, I take steps, leave my front door (most of the time, haha), eat, drink (WATER PEOPLE) and do homework. That is my reality. Everyday I like to pick a book up and devour it, reading a different author's perspective on a different subject every single day. Life goes by, things happen, good or bad, and we have to move on in order to stay sane. Last week, I received a beautiful, pristine copy of Jewell Parker Rhodes' Towers Falling in the mail, after anticipating it so long, not only because it is set in my favourite place in the world, but because NO middle grade author has ever conquered such a magical, difficult situation in their stories: 9/11. I have rarely even heard of fiction being based off on this tragic massacre that stunned the world on an "ordinary day" in September of 2001. I was only a year old, but after I discovered this particular moment of history, watched the videos, read survivor stories, and was immediately introduced to this event that changed the way our world rotates today, I was changed myself. Imagine how a class of ten year olds, who, if they look out of their classroom window, can see the remaining reflection of the Twin Towers, react to finding out the truth. It's remarkable, and Jewell Parker Rhodes stunned me with this middle grade, beautiful poignant story.  

Towers Falling is not just for ten year olds, like my sister. It is not just for teenagers who decide that they would like to read a book (with a beautiful, precious cover) that falls under the middle grade category. It is not just for librarians who will surely recommend the story to their young visitors. It is not just for parents who will like to read about an exemplar of what to tell their own children. This story is for everyone, young or old. We see so many current issues exemplified and implied in the two hundred and forty pages that I am still mindblown to this current moment. 

"We all bleed red. And all good stories are, by their nature, diverse because they are about individualism, uniqueness."

This is quote, quoted by the author in a speech of hers on the importance of diverse books. I firmly believe that it is true, that it makes so much sense. This is not only a diverse book, formed with three main characters (Deja, Sabeen and Ben) who all have different ethnicities, but it is also a story of belonging, hope, commemoration. I have so much praise for it and I believe that every child deserves a copy of this story. It impacts you as a reader so much, giving you emotion for Dèja, who has dealt with homelessness in the past, being a young girl who does not understand much about the world. It is so difficult for me to even try to compare this to any other middle grade book I have read; it is truly one of a kind, and those kinds of books come in one in a million chances. 

This is not the book for a parent to give their child to have them understand 9/11. No. I would say that in order to really feel the impact of this story, a reader must have a little knowledge of this event. I am going to have my sister read this story and see how it impacts her, checking to see if it hit her the same way as me. That'll be some kind of psychological study for me to research. It is so easy to feel smitten with the characters that Jewell Parker Rhodes incorporates to this story. We know that in the end, it is about Dèja, her family's story, and what they have overcome, but we also receive an equal amount of screen-time between Sabeen and Ben. I love this trio of characters. 

I like that this is real, that this is not a story that seems fictional to any extent. This is as real as stories go. I love the values and the emotions that I endured; tears were brought to my eyes several times and this was absolutely captivating. Knowing that there was a big secret in Dèja's family, I knew I had to keep reading, and instead of going to bed, I would be able to understand what really happened.

"I turn away from the screen and look out Ben's window. It's beautiful. Birds, trees, sky, and clouds. What would it be like having a plane crush through like a missile? Destroying the world?" (98)

Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this glorious novel. This is truly inspiring, for authors to write like, and for readers to feel gratitude. With a perfect EVERYTHING, Jewell Parker Rhodes deserves the highest possible award for this beautiful story. You cannot go wrong or point at anything. It is as nourishing as a cup of water after being in the Sahara Desert, although I do not even know what that is like, I can only imagine, and that's what Jewell did with her vision here: imagine, but form a real story.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is your most recent favourite MG book? What are the issues that authors have written about that shocked you?

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe // Magic in the City

Monday, 9 May 2016 0 comments
The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, by Katherine Howe
Publication: September 15, 2015, by G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 379
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ½

It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.
As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose-petal lips and her entrancing glow. There’s just something about her that he can’t put his finger on, something faraway and otherworldly that compels him to fall even deeper. Annie’s from the city, and yet she seems just as out of place as Wes feels. Lost in the chaos of the busy city streets, she’s been searching for something—a missing ring. And now Annie is running out of time and needs Wes’s help. As they search together, Annie and Wes uncover secrets lurking around every corner, secrets that will reveal the truth of Annie’s dark past.

My Thoughts:

After reading Katherine Howe's Conversion, I realized that I became extremely enticed with the genre of fantasy, though mixed in with elements from the real world. This time around, we have a male protagonist who takes readers (crazy fanatics such as myself who are hungry for a new fictional boyfriend) on a story through the streets of Waverly Place in NYC, my second home, where he unexpectedly meets a girl named Annie who honestly changes the way he functions throughout his summer in the 'city.' This is an addicting story that captivated me a while back where that golden hand/doorknob on the cover kind of glimmered at me. I am pretty sure it was just me who saw this. Let me know in the comments if you saw that special glimmer of shine too.

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen was wonderful, lovely even. It is one of those gentle stories that provide an understanding to readers that won't always be seen unless you feel a special connection to the setting, characters or message. Yeah, this did not make me cry or have my inner-heartfelt-emotions explode, but I was connected to Wes, the main character. Interestingly enough, Howe places readers in the busiest place in the world for 379 pages, filled with so much drama that we could all go mad and have so many stories to tell or make up as if they were our own. It is one of those stories that makes absolute sense, even though it is pure fiction. I do not think we're going to go through this time-traveling-like mesmerizing experience in our own lives, that's for sure. 

"In Dad's mind, New York was for people too hungry for life to be anywhere else. I wasn't hungry enough. I was too safe, behind my camera. I would never just show up in Port Authority without a place to stay. I wouldn't play guitar in the subway for spare change. [...] Even when I think I'm living, I'm still just watching."

My most favourite thing about this book is Wes. I adore his character! The fact that he is in the situation of living in this new place and having to undergo this fantasy-like situation is pretty comical, if you ask me. Although the novel was boring for a big chunk, especially through the beginning and middle, I was satisfied with the decisions he made. And yes, this book was seriously boring, no joke. Unlike Conversion, which was stupendous throughout, this one turned out to be gloomy from time to time. It's such a big story and I felt that less was needed. 

Was that a love triangle my friends? Yes, it sadly was. I kind of twitched when I actually realized that it was happening. Oh, well. 

"Now that I've seen her, I feel like she can never be unseen. She looks... I suck at describing people, and beautiful feels especially pathetic. But the truth is, I don't understand how I haven't been staring at her the whole time we've been here."

My experience with this book cannot be unseen. I have mixed feelings, people!

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen was a heavy read, I cannot deny it. I felt really awkward at the points where it became slow and drowsy, I inwardly wanted to put it down. Towards the end, things picked up and I realized who the real star of the show is and who Wes' love interest should be. (I cannot spoil it, but here's a hint: normal chick). I find that everyone may have mixed feelings with this story, and the only way to discover is by reading it. Check out Howe's first book, though, you may be more satisfied, actually.

What is your favourite fantasy book of the year? Do you like Katherine Howe's writing?

Dreamology by Lucy Keating // I Want to Dream Now!

Saturday, 7 May 2016 4 comments
Dreamology, by Lucy Keating
Publication: April 12, 2016, by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.
But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.
When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

My Thoughts:

Dreamology is not just a book about dreams and hopes and all of the cheesy, fluffy stuff. This is a story that contains depth, and all of the magical stuff that we like to look at. IT'S TRULY ONE OF A KIND. I remember requesting it back in the day, when Lucy Keating and her wonderful publisher announced the cover. I honestly am not interested in a book without some kind of colourful cover. I fell in love with the title, the setting, and what Keating is/was trying to get out of this whole story. Dreamology is such a smart story, coming with a point that will affect us all. I have always classified myself as a "dreamer," and I truly understand what the term really means now, at the moment. If you are looking for a precious romance mixed with a story that we all inwardly hope to be so real, this is perfect for you.

Dreamology is about a main character named Alice who reminds me so much of myself. While reading, I found that she made so many similar decisions to what I would have done in her shoes. Ever since she was young, she dreamt about her dream boy, Max. Every night, they take on different adventures and she is seriously in love with him. But when she opens her eyes each morning, he's gone, and there's not much to live for in the real world where he does not exist. When her father moves her to Boston from New York City, and she starts going to this preppy elite school, she meets him. 

I never really knew what this story was actually about. I knew the dream part, but I thought it would be more fantasy-like than contemporary with everything about the romance. Because I am the craziest freak about romance, I think that this turned out to be a good thing. In fact, there was a scientific explanation behind the dream thing, having to do with MIT (YES) and professors. That was extremely cool. 

DREAMOLOGY IS SUCH A LIGHT READ. I read this really quickly and it seemed to just make my day. I was so happy when it ended, NOT BECAUSE IT WAS OVER but because it was so satisfying and pretty. I loved the turnout. And at the same time, Keating featured Alice's relationships with other people in such a healthy manner. Everything that happened to Alice seemed absolutely clarified. Real. I imagine these things happening. Alice was friends with guys (who are hot) and girls. She did not have that selfish personality that a lot of complaining chicks had.

Why should you read this book? The world needs this book because it provides us hopes and dreams. That is the most cheesiest response but I am sure that we're all okay with it. Honestly? I just love the message that it promotes; anything is possible. The world is small. Max is adorable. Alice is a great character. Everything clicked together in this book like puzzle pieces. Magnetism. 

Dreamology has that special something. It is fluffy but hits you hard in the end. Would I call this one of the best debuts of the year? Absolutely. Every teen needs to pick this beauty up and read it in a day. At least, that's what happened to me. PICK UP THIS POIGNANT, DASHING READ, OR EVEN DREAM ABOUT IT!

*A review copy was provided the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

Have you ever read a book about dreams? What are your favourite debuts of the year?

BEA Adventures: The Commencement

Thursday, 5 May 2016 2 comments
BookExpo America (BEA) is the best bookish event in the world. If you have
not heard of it, you're in a different world. A world that does not include bookish
events. Whoa.

Yesterday I decided to *inwardly* celebrate a special day that means so much to me, and of course—to other book bloggers. ONE WEEK UNTIL BEA!

Jimmy Fallon knows how to party.
It's been a long (but short) year since my first visit to New York City, where I fell in love with a culture of diversity and books, and the first major book networking event of my blogging career (or whatever you must call it). I NEVER IMAGINED THAT I WOULD GO TO CHICAGO. A big thanks to my family who has decided to tag along and make this all happen. What do I expect from Chicago, AKA The Windy City of them all? (I heard that it actually is not windy there. That's kind of weird). 

  • THE BEAN. Oh, come on, you know we all must see it
  • To see the city where Veronica Roth imagined Divergent and how it came to life
  • CULTURE. GOOD FOOD. You know what I mean!
  • A city that is not as busy as NYC, which allows me to see everything
  • SHOPPING. Michigan Avenue, here I come!
  • UofChicago. I'm heading on a tour there! (I would also LOVE to see Northwestern).
  • A midwestern city! This would be the farthest west I have ever been in the US. Not that I expect anything different
  • Publicists! I have to email everyone and ask if they are heading to Chicago!
  • Bloggers! New friends, here I come!

There's a lot more, but my brain's a little jittery at the moment because I am thinking of school, as usual. I will be missing four school days in total, which is not absolute torture but close. But hey, this is educational! I'll probably bring some books back for my teachers too. *begs for 100 percents*

Instead of repeating all of my tips on going to the show, here are links to last year's posts from me! Of course, there will be recaps this year. 

You must have enough of my own typing and writing. Here are some extra stuff that I found from other great bloggers!

THERE WILL BE RECAPS, EXCELLENCE AND PHOTOS. I hope I could see some of you there!

Are you heading to BEA this year... or any big book conference? What is your favourite part of going to book events?

Waiting on Wednesday #39: The Problem With Forever

Wednesday, 4 May 2016 2 comments

The Problem With Forever, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication: May 17, 2016, by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 480

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.
Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.
It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Every time a new JLA book is announced, my heart jumps and my insides squirm because the anticipation has begun. I had not thought about the possibility that Jennifer will be writing a new romance slash new adult slash YA story! WOOOOO SOUND THE SIRENS PEOPLE! I discovered this book after making my BEA schedule and I am crossing my fingers for a copy! (You wouldn't know what I wanted to actually type: my insides are crossing? Don't even ask).

What are you book lovers anticipating the most this week? Are you looking forward to JLA's new book?