Black Enough Edited by Ibi Zoboi

IMG_0341Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction- Short Stories Collection
Pages: Print 416
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Edited by: Ibi Zoboi
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I purchased from Brazos Bookstore in Houston. I also listened to an eAudiobook using Scribd.  This review does not reflect the views of the publisher, bookstore, or app. 


Harper Collins Synopsis

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is…sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.


Final Thoughts

I initially decided to pick up this book after seeing a copy of it displayed on social media. I did my research on the author and the intended goal of the book. According to the School Library Journal, this book is geared for grades 9 and up. I thought this would give me more insight into what it is like to be black in America from a variety of perspectives of POC authors. I am a black female who grew up along the poverty line in a low-income city. Colorism is predominant in the black community based on skin tone, and I am considered fair skin compared to my family. I was interested to read this anthology of stories and found a few that reminded me of my teenage self.  There were a few that just did not work for me but served its’ purpose of relating to the target audience. The stories that did not work for me felt rushed without a clear objective.

This book contains short stories written by famous POC authors, and it does its’ job of shedding some light on the challenges faced by black teens in America. It showcases the challenges put on teens by their parents to succeed, the difficulties of fitting in, the problems of essentially being black enough, and the family dynamics. I faced some of these similar challenges as a teen, and this book is much needed. It provides stories that are relatable to black and African American teens. It also provides insight on the amount of diversity in the black community and the different upbringings. Each author provided insight on a variety of topics such as LGBTQIA, racial divide, educated black young men and women, grief, family, relationships, and friendship. This book provides an intriguing approach to breaking apart the stigmas that I was taught as a child and made me feel a bit empowered after reading it. I have not read a lot of books written by POC authors, but it inspired me to read more.

Below I provided a list of my top 5 selections from this book that you must read. Here are the ones I enjoyed:

Warning: Color May Fade by  Leah Henderson– It shows that black Americans in a different perspective and showcases the power of expression through art. It also showcases the challenges of the pressure of parents and finding who you are.

The Trouble with Drowning by Dhonielle Clayton – It showcases the challenges of dealing with loss and moving forward. A compelling short story about how one family overcomes a huge loss and how one sister comes to terms with it.

The (R)evolution of Nigeria Jones by Ibi Zoboi- The daughter of a man who is starting a black movement faces the challenge of realizing that she doesn’t hate white people like her father and his followers. She wants to fit in and find her path while coming to terms with who she is. This particular short story ended on an embraceful note.

Wild Horses, Wild Hearts by Jaye Coles–  This is an LGBTQUIA story about two young males, one white and one black, living on two different farms. Their families despise each other, and both are feeling pressure from their parents. The good things are that they have each other.

Oreo by Brandy Colbert- A black family moves away from their hometown and are invited back for a birthday celebration for their grandmother. Tensions are high due to Joni’s families wealth and place of residence. Joni just wants to be accepted by her family and not be ridiculed for her choice of schooling or upbringing. This is a great short story to share insight on the challenges of colorism and judgment in black families.

I highly recommend you picking up this book and giving it to a black, African American, or diverse teen. It is intended for grades 9 and up but can be given to middle schoolers. You should definitely add this one to your list of must-have reads!


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the website at http://ibizoboi.net for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

24233708Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction
Pages: Print 352
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Hank Green 
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy that I purchased from Amazon. I also listened to an eAudiobook checked out from my local library using Libby by Overdrive. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.


Favorite Quotes

“Basically, do your best to mock and deride their connection to and appreciation of you because, deep down, you dislike yourself enough that you cannot imagine anyone worthwhile actually wanting to be with you. I mean, if they like you, there must be something wrong with them, right?”

“Just because you can’t imagine something doesn’t mean you can’t do it.”


Final Thoughts

Let me start by saying that I loved all the books written by his brother John Green and only bought this book based on the assumption that he would be different. I usually don’t read a lot of science fiction books, but this one shook me to the core.

However, the book did start a bit slow and boring for me. It wasn’t until I started listening to the audiobook that it became interesting. There are so many complicated twists and turns in throughout the story, that there were points where I had to rewind and listen to a section again. The more I dived into the book, the more entertaining it became, and the more I started enjoying it. I liked the discussion of how people of today rely heavily on social media platforms to get news. The book is written as if the main character, April May, is telling her story from her perspective. April May tells her story to the reader by explaining every interaction between her and the Carl’s, every decision she made and even a bit of commentary of her choices, and a lot of self-reflection. It was a unique way to get into the mind of the main character and honestly watch her develop and understand her actions. April May is established as a sarcastic, self-obsessed, afraid, optimistic individual who later lets her selfishness consume her and the people around her. After her first encounter with Carl, she becomes the center of attention globally and her life changes dramatically. She now gets the attention she has always wanted, but in the wake of her being pushed into the media, she must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for Carl. Throughout the remainder of the story, April May builds new friendships, new relationships, and a who community of enemies that could have an ulterior motive for her life. She also works hard to understand the purpose of the Carls, whether or not they are harmful, and whether or not she is special.

Hank Green did a phenomenal job with the writing of this book and the development of each character. The main character is developed as a strong female lead who has some serious identity issues but is seen as normal. The supporting characters each have their storylines developed around the main character without discrediting their worth in the plot. I enjoyed the humor, the relation to society today, and the discussion of the influence of social media. If you haven’t picked up this book, I highly recommend it.


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the website at https://hankgreen.com for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

img_0353Genre: Young Adult Autobiographical Graphic Novel
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a printed copy borrowed from a library I work at. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis 

Hey, Kiddo is the graphic memoir of author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Raised by his colorful grandparents, who adopted him because his mother was an incarcerated heroin addict, Krosoczka didn’t know his father’s name until he saw his birth certificate when registering for a school ski trip. Hey, Kiddo traces Krosoczka’s search for his father, his difficult interactions with his mother, his day-to-day life with his grandparents, and his path to becoming an artist. Click here for this synopsis on Goodreads.


Favorite Quotes

“Stories keep memories alive and people real to us.”


Final Thoughts

I heard about this book while watching a booktuber discuss books that you must read. I also heard about this book on Instagram and felt like I had to pick it up. I was a bit nervous to actually read this graphic novel memoir after reading the description. I haven’t read many books that discuss the challenges faced by children who have parents who are drug addicts. I personally picked up this book because I felt it was important to see how someone else dealt with an issue I dealt with my entire life.

Jarrett Krosoczka uses humor, emotions, and graphics to describe his childhood in this gut-wrenching graphic novel memoir. The author used his love for art as a medium of escape from the harshness of his reality. He discusses the real challenges faced by someone with a parent that is faced with a debilitating addition. In the face of the biggest challenge of his life, Jarrett has an amazing support system to fall back on. In this novel you watch him grow up, be a normal young man, and face the ghosts from his past in order to truly move forward in his life. I cried while reading about his relationship with his mom and the wonderful companionship he received from his grandfather. The pure innocence of a child is displayed exceptionally in this graphic novel through Jarrett’s hope of his mom overcoming her addiction.  It is hard to rate someones personal story which is why I gave it five stars. It takes a lot of courage to tell the entire world your story and the things you overcame as a child. This graphic novel memoir aims to shed light on the what it is like to live with two absent parents. Jarrett overcame a lot as a child to become what he wanted today and I definitely think that would not be possible without his grandparents. Out of the entire graphic novel, I enjoyed the acknowledgements at the end. I enjoyed reading about his life after he graduated high school, learning about what happened to his grandparents, learning about his parental relationships and how they developed and reading his appreciation of his family. I recommend this book to any guardian or parent who has a child that has a parent with an addiction.


How this story relates to me

This graphic novel touches on some of the challenges of having a parent that is an addict but not all. All situations are unique.  My dad was a drug addict and later died from the effects in 2007. I watched my dad live a life that we all knew would lead to his death. As a child , you hope that your parents will overcome their addiction, you hope they will choose you over an addiction, and you hope for normalcy. However, that isn’t the case in most situations. I had to face my own demons and overcome my own nightmares in order for me to move forward. It is okay to hope for your parents to get better but at the end of the day their choices are their choices alone. I had to understand that addiction is like a disease and my dad could not and was not ready to receive the right treatment. I completely understand as an adult that I did all that I could as a child and his addiction had nothing to do with me. If it weren’t for my maternal grandmother, I would not be here today. The past events shape who you are today but they do not define you. I definitely think I used books as a way to escape the harshness of the reality I lived in and that’s okay.


To purchase your copy of this novel, visit the Scholastic website at https://www.scholastic.com/kids/book/hey-kiddo-by-jarrett-j-krosoczka/ for access to purchasing links


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

IMG_0138Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: Print 310
Digital: eAdudiobook 6 hrs 44mins
Release Date: October 15, 2018
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from Half Priced Books in Sugarland, TX. The copy used for this review was a printed copy for the first half and the second half was an audiobook from Scribd. This review is no way tied to any of the purchasing entities or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


Favorite Quote

“don’t give up on me. he wrote

And I never did.”


Final Thoughts

This contemporary young adult romance had me laughing and crying all within the same sentence. The author did a fantastic job with the character development, the discussion of social issues, and bringing in real emotion into this novel. The main character, Shirin, is written as a strong female protagonist who uses sarcasm and quick wit to seem tough. The author developed this main character with realistic emotions, strong core values, and a voice. The social issue of racism and discrimination is strongly exhibited in this novel but the author does it in a way to challenge and force the issue to the front. This entire novel is from the perspective of a muslim- American female teen who wears a hijab post-9/11. It takes a fictional approach to address the issues of racism and discrimination during a time when the entire country judge the actions of anyone they assumed a threat, which simultaneously correlated with attire. Mafi did a wonderful job addressing this issue in this novel and showcasing some of the challenges women faced as opposed to men. It also showcases the family dynamic and the challenges of staying true to your culture in a new country during a time where your way of life is being scrutinized. Shirin is also faced with a huge challenge outside of the normal gawking and rude comments, Ocean. Ocean is a teen boy who completely catches Shirin off guard with his calm and timid approach to interacting with her. No matter how hard she tries to deflect his feelings, he continues to pursue to interact with her. The further you read in the novel the more their “relationship” develops and they are faced with more adversity. Not only does the author discuss major social issues, she even touches (and I mean grazed) the topic of dating outside your race.

I  want to start by saying I have a BA in History and took a class in college that was solely about the events of September 11, 2001. This book address a large amount of the challenges faced by muslim-American women during the aftermath of 9/11. I saw this book and knew that it was something I had to read. I laughed as the main character interacted with her peers at her new school and cried when she had to choose between love or loss. I laughed when  mother criticized her for her attire and cried when her mom failed to even notice her daughter. There were numerous moments in this book that felt real and relatable. I personally gave this book a four point five rating because I wanted more detail. Pieces of the story was told after the event occurred instead of during each event. For example, something would happen and the main character would go through the telling of these events as if they were past events.  Albeit the story is told from the female protagonist perspective but I wanted more detail and a bit more action. I also hoped that the topic of interracial dating would have been addressed more in this novel. I felt like there was a giant elephant in the room and everyone kept ignoring it this entire novel. However, this did not take away from the overall storyline but would have added to it. Inevitably, I felt that portions of the book fell short for me. I wanted more depth when it came to the social issues displayed in this book and the interaction between main and supporting characters.  I also felt the supporting characters were glossed over and they only popped up here and there for small interaction with the main characters family. Overall, I did love this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in reading a compelling young adult contemporary novel. This is an appropriate read for teens and tweens with little romance and it does fall under the category of diverse reads.

Word of advice, PICK UP THIS BOOK!

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit Tahereh Mafi’s website at http://www.taherehbooks.com/the-books/  for access to purchasing links. 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

This Time by Azaaa Davis

40778146Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: Kinle: 205
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Author: Azaaa Davis
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book.


Goodreads Synopsis

Not even death can stop her.

Legendary demon hunter Nadira Holden has been torn from her next life and resurrected in present-day New York. The demons she once battled have made peace with humans. Or, so they claim. But brawls between demons and humans are becoming more frequent, and human leaders are disappearing.

Tasked by the shadowy organization that trained her, she must battle her own personal trauma and once again fight for the souls of mankind. Will Nadira remain a beacon of light to those fighting for humankind? Or will she lose her humanity to the darkness within?

Fight with demon hunter Nadira Holden in a new dark fantasy series that combines monster-slaying action, family drama and steamy romance. A complex heroine with inexhaustible courage and a terrifyingly changed world for urban fantasy fans of Vampire Hunter Anita Blake and Succubus Georgina Kincaid.


Final Thoughts

This book follows the journey of a demon hunter who seems to have awaken in a strange predicament. The beginning of the novel starts of strong with a great opening scene with Nadira waking up trapped in a box. The beginning of the book does not disappoint as it will have you holding your breath as events start to unfold.  As the story continues to progress, I noticed even more thrilling action scenes as the main character comes to terms with who she is. This entire book is packed with action, turmoil, confusion, revelations, and split second decisions made by Nadira, the main character.

Overall, this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as you read and learn more about Nadira. The author did a great job with this storyline and with the development of each character. The backstory of the main character is captivating and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about how Nadira become a master demon hunter. Nadira does face many challenges in this novel but in the end she seems to try her best to the pieces of her life back together and fill in the missing pieces of her memory. This book is based in a world where Demons and Humans coexist, in a sense. However, this did not come easy and a life was given up for this to occur. Whose life was sacrificed for peace?

The ending scene does not disappoint as it is filled with as much action as the rest of the book. You will be captured from the moment you open this novel and I am sad it took me so long to finish it. I combed through this novel once I got past the first few chapters and had hope for the main character, Nadira.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in a fantasy novel with a hint of romance. This book is a bit mature for young ages but would be great for older teens due to some violence scenes. It is more suited for young adults or adults. Take a journey through the world of demons, vampires, and humans with magic powers to help Nadira find something that has been stolen and help her figure out where she belongs.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578412160 for access to Kindle version and print copy. 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

The Forgotten Headline by McCaid Paul

fullsizeoutput_150fGenre: Middle Grade Thriller/ Mystery
Pages: Print 187
Release Date: November 19, 2017
Author: McCaid Paul
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy.


Goodreads Synopsis 

NO ONE KNOWS what their last normal day will be like. For Mick Smith, the day that he goes hunting with his dad, turns out to be his. After a deer that his dad shoots runs on their neighbor’s property, he decides to retrieve it–without the neighbor, Mr. Welch, finding out.

But once they cross the property line, Mr. Welch fires shots at them, making them leave the deer behind. Mick’s dad warns him it’s too dangerous to go back and get the deer but Mick doesn’t listen. Later the same day, he finds himself crossing the neighbor’s property line once again. And what he finds there WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.

Deciding not to tell his dad about his discovery, Mick makes up his mind to investigate on his own. Only with the help of his best friend Billie, will he set out to solve the mystery, unearthing secrets about his discovery, his family, and one shocking secret about himself that threatens to destroy everything he’s ever known.
Some secrets are dangerous, and should stay forgotten.


Final Thoughts

This middle grade fiction novel written by a young author takes you on a journey through secrets of one town. The books starts off with a thrilling set of events that made me not want to put it down. The beginning definitely set the tone for the rest of the book as the author worked to unravel components of each character and events. It is prevalent that the author spent time on developing each character in this book. I would have liked more development of Billie, Mick’s best friend, but her story may come out in the next book. As a librarian, I especially enjoyed the two friends interaction at the local library. I liked that the author added realistic pieces into the book and showcased a bit of the importance of the libraries. The library is seen in this story as motivation and the match that lit the fire of the investigation. It is also seen as a pathway to the past as the two discover secrets of their own and as their curiosity is fueled by what they have discovered.

Overall, this is a great read! I enjoyed the interaction between characters and the climax of the book. I felt the ending could have used a bit more pizazz but it definitely had me reaching for my wallet to purchase the next in this series. This is merely the first book and if you are interested in a thriller that focuses on family, secrets, and friendship, then pick this one up. Also, this book definitely takes you on an emotional rollercoaster toward the end as secrets start to unravel and both Billie and Mick find their voices. Imagine if you had to stand up to someone you trusted, do you think you would live to tell the tale?

This book is great for middle school aged and upper elementary students depending on the reading level. There are scenes that involve hunting and shooting in this book. It may be mature for younger ages.

To purchase your copy of this novel on Amazon, click this link https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Headline-Summersville-1/  

 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

saint_anything-540x822

Genre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: Print 417
Digital: eAdudiobook 13 hours
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Author: Sarah Dessen
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out an e-aduiobook copy of this book from my local library using Libby by Overdrive. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an unabridged e-aduiobook. Image taken from https://sarahdessen.com/book/saint-anything/


Goodreads Synopsis 

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.


Final Thoughts

This contemporary young adult fiction romance is written so well. The novel starts with a scene of Sydney and her family in a court room. Then from their the book continues by following her life after that day in the court room. Sydney, a junior in high school, is used to being invisible. Her brother Peyton has always been the center of her family’s attention and she has been in his shadow. Peyton has made a grave mistake that has changed her family’s life and the life of another family. Somehow Sydney carries some of the guilt from his mistake as she tries to start over at a new school. Imagine being invisible to everyone and then someone finally notices you. Sydney adjusts to her new school, she makes a friend that leads her to other friends, and she finds a new home in the Chathams family restaurant. She truly learns the meaning of friendship, of being there for someone, and she finds her voice in the shadow of her brother’s mistake. Her mother and father continue to put Peyton first, ignoring Sydney, until she makes a mistake that causes them to pay attention to her. In that moment Sydney wishes to become invisible again. In this novel written by Sarah Dessen, I could feel the emotions of each character and understand each decision made. Dessen has done an amazing job with this novel and the events inside felt real. Each supporting character playing a huge role in the overall dynamics of the story. The plot is captivating enough to make you want to not put this book down.

I stumbled upon this book while browsing through the available e-audibooks in Libby by Overdrive. I remember seeing this book when it first released in 2015 but I didn’t purchase it. I was so glad to get a chance to listen to the audio version of this novel. If you are interested in reading a novel that focuses on the importance of family, forgiveness, friendship, and first loves, then you should check this one out. The beginning will grab your attention, the middle will keep you interested, and the ending will have you wanting more. This novel is appropriate for upper middle school, teens, and adults interested in a good young adult romance novel. The romance in this novel is subtle, which is why I say it is appropriate for tweens.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit Sarah Dessen’s website at https://sarahdessen.com/book/saint-anything/  for access to purchasing links. 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.


*You can also check out Libby by Overdrive, a new way to checking out e-books from your library. (This is not sponsored. I just love this app!)* 

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

c+E3loN5QcykIQPFTL+u4wGenre: Contemporary Young Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: Print 312
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Author: Maurene Goo
Rating: ★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I checked out a copy of this book from my library. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished print copy.


Goodreads Synopsis 

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into 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 guidance 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 Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged 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.


Final Thoughts

This contemporary young adult fiction follows the journey of Desi, an overachiever Korean American teenager raised by a single father. Desi is smart but seems to fall short when it comes to dating. Desi is starting her Senior year of high school off with a bang of embarrassments. She fails at an attempt to go on a date with a guy who is clearly interested in her and also fails as noticing when a guy is flirting with her. That is until she meets Lucas, a new boy in town who seems to be interested in Desi depict her lack of dating skills. Desi sets her mind on attaining Lucas, disregarding all social norms, and consulting her dad’s favorite K drama series as a source for dating advice. As the story unfolds, we watch as Desi learns that not everything can be controlled and how listening to those around you is something that always needs to be done.

The author took a common approach when developing this love story. I literally just grabbed this book randomly off the shelf at my library and decided to give it a read. I typically enjoy contemporary young adult romance novels but this one fell a little bit short for me. The huge scene toward the end of the book wasn’t actually that thrilling and left me wanting to making it more thrilling. I am not looking for a sparks to fly when something dramatic happens but I am looking for something more realistic. The emotions displayed by Desi when her secrets start to unravel felt real but the moment leading up to Lucas discovering them, was not. I personally wanted more depth in the story and more realism when it came to meeting the parents, going to a big event, and an accident. It is like there was a complete disregard for what would happen in the real world if someone did this. I mean I am no wizard in the dating scene but I somehow managed to snag my current boyfriend with me being myself. However, I do commend the author on showcasing the importance of being yourself and I did like the scene at the end. Unfortunately, I got to a point in the book where I was getting anxious and wanted it to end. I read as Desi went through a lot of unnecessary antics to gain the attention of a boy but in the end the truth came out. If the goal of this book was to be a mushy young adult romance novel then it did its job and more. If you are interested in getting your sweet tooth itched with contemporary young adult novel, then this is your book. Otherwise I suggest reading something a little more tame with more depth in the storyline. I recommend this book to early teens and adults interested in novel with a potential happy ending ( I will not spoil the ending). Sometimes the geeky, overachiever, underdog can have things malfunction but still learn from their mistakes.


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

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Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

 

Borrowing Christmas by Kat Bellemore

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Genre: Adult Romance Fiction
Pages: eBook 253
Release Date:
Author: Kate Beasley 
Rating: ★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is a finished digital copy of this book.


Synopsis 

Two weeks before Christmas, Katie is kicked out of her apartment. Again. Rather than wander the streets and continue to work for a dirty cop, she decides to leave the city and disappear for good. But her car breaks down in a New Mexico town, and everything is threatened when she falls for the charming mayor.

Sam Freedman is the first bachelor mayor of Amor. After convincing the locals that having a mayor without family responsibilities means he can dedicate all his time to the community, townspeople watch his every move. Then Katie Andersen shows up. Against Sam’s better judgement, he hires her to replace his event coordinator. Now he can barely think straight, let alone run a town.

In the midst of half-truths and outright lies, Katie and Sam desperately search for the place where honesty and trust lead to love. Can they find it before the past catches up with them?


Final Thoughts

This book follows the life of the main character Katie who has been put in a challenging situation. She is forced to make fast decisions to either salvage the life she had or build a new life in a new town under a new name. She struggles to answer the following questions: 

Can she run from her past forever? Will her past catch up with her? Can she start a new life based purely on lies? 

Katie is developed as a strong character who has been given a short hand at life. She wants to run and start over but there are consequences for her actions. As she tries to restart her life in the small town of Amor, how ironic of the name as this is a romance novel, she meets a handsome gentleman who has more power than she could imagine. She continues to grow as a person and grows those around her. She grows close to the town bachelor, making enemies, friends, and making changes. Along the way she runs into problems as the lies she has told start to causing her problems. Soon she will realize she cannot run from her past forever. 

Overall I thought this novel took a unique approach to a romance. The main character is developed in a way that allowed for an understanding of her past and present. There are portions of this book that made me think, “yep this is a fictional novel, stuff like this doesn’t happen in real life.” This novel has the happy ending theme attached to it and I knew the ending before I finished based on the way the story was written. If you are looking for a fast paced romance adult novel then this is the novel for you. I personally would have loved for more of a character development and more depth added to Katie. I understand she had a hard life but I wanted to know more about her past to better understand her. I also wanted a bigger plot twist. The action/drama filled scene toward the ending fell a bit short for me. I was holding my breath the entire novel waiting for something big to happen but it fell short for me. There were also pieces that I felt was missing from the story, like how did I get from point A to point B. Overall, I thought this was a great novel and I would recommend this to anyone who is into adult romance. 


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

The Boy, The Bird, and The Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods

CoverTitle: THE BOY, THE BIRD, AND THE COFFIN MAKER
Author: Matilda Woods
Genre: Children’s Fantasy Fiction
Pages: Print 189
Release Date: May 4, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.


Description:

Friendship and magical realism sparkle on the page in this heartwarming, delightfully eccentric illustrated middle-grade gem from an extraordinary new literary voice. Perfect for fans of A Snicker of Magic and The Penderwicks.

Alberto lives alone in the town of Allora, where fish fly out of the sea and the houses shine like jewels. He is a coffin maker and widower, spending his quiet days creating the final resting places of Allora’s people.

Then one afternoon a magical bird flutters into his garden, and Alberto, lonely inside, welcomes it into his home. And when a kindhearted boy named Tito follows the bird into Alberto’s kitchen, a door in the old man’s heart cracks open. Tito is lonely too–but he’s also scared and searching for a place to hide. Fleeing from danger, he just wants to feel safe for once in his life. Can the boy and the old man learn the power of friendship and escape the shadows of their pasts?

With a tender bond that calls to mind The Girl Who Drank the Moon, charming characters reminiscent of The Penderwicks, and the whimsy of A Snicker of Magic, this is a novel to curl up with, an extraordinary work of magical realism that makes the world feel like a warmer and happier place. Complete with dazzling interior illustrations, a gem from start to finish.


Author Bio:

Matilda Woods (www.matildawoods.com) grew up in the small town of Southern Tablelands, Australia. She graduated from Monash University with a Masters of Social Work. Matilda splits her time between writing middle grade fiction and working as a youth social worker. The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker is her debut novel. She currently lives in the same small town where she grew up, with her four chickens, three dogs, two cats and one bird.


Final Thoughts:

This entrancing middle grade read follows the life of a boy, a bird, and a coffin maker. Alberto has been making coffins since the death of his family. Allora, once a thriving town, is merely a place of silence. Sickness has taken over many lives and in the wake of death, silence is imminent. Alberto continues to make coffins in hopes of giving back to the dead. One night, Miss Bonito is brought in. She was found in her home in a still warm bed. As the weeks follow after her funeral Alberto starts noticing food items missing. Who is the their in his home? Did Miss Bonito really die alone?

Overall, this was such a great book. I loved the interaction between characters and the turmoil between the thief and Alberto. I would have liked for more of a backstory on Miss Bonito and more explanation about Mister Bonito. The author did a great job portraying the challenges of diseases during a time where there was no cure. I assumed the story was written in a time before medicines were popular. It was a bit harder to tell the setting and time frame of this novel. The text had me wanting more. I would recommend this book to any middle grader looking for a good read pertaining to families, friendships, and unlikely relationships with animals. Birds are free, are you?


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com