ARC Review: I Owe You One (Sophie Kinsella)

43462771.jpgGenre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: February 7th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

The irresistible new standalone from Sophie Kinsella is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is actually my first time reading a Sophie Kinsella book and I am very excited to read it! I have read so many good reviews about the Shopaholic series so it is a great start to read her latest book.

I don’t usually gravitate towards Adult Fiction that much because of my interest consisting of reading Young Adult books only. However, I don’t actually have any problems reading this as the characters in the book are very easy-going and relatable at the same time.

I love reading about family businesses because it is interesting to see how each of the family members play a role in managing it. You can see that family don’t always agree to each other on decision-making stuffs hence it is their duty to convince and persuade why it is a good or bad idea to agree on something.

The important message from the book is that family can be tough sometimes. It takes great courage to stand to our enemies, but just as much to stand to our family. It is an unbearable thought to criticise our own family members, the idea of breaking the family bond seems terrifying.

I love the main character, Fixie with her love interest, Sebastian. I love all of the scenes when they are together and it shows that they are a perfect match. I hate reading parts where Fixie’s siblings are such unbearable and unhelpful characters ever. I find myself similar to Fixie, I grow attach to a person so quickly and if things go wrong, I will just move on from the scene. I love when Fixie discovers her true self, where she evolves from a shy and timid person to someone who can stand up for herself.

The characters have such interesting lives and problems that they face and I learn a lot of lessons from their adulting journey. The romance is so good that it is one of my favourite things from the book. I wish I have read Sophie Kinsella’s book sooner because her writing is so good and I am totally missing out now!

Thank you Times Reads for providing me this gorgeous review copy of I Owe You One!

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Sabrina

 

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ARC Review: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (Shaun David Hutchinson)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is my first time reading Shaun’s book and honestly I have high expectations since one of his books, We Are The Ants is a very well-loved books in the YA community.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (yes, it is very mouthful!) is a story about friendship between long-lost ex-bestfriends who grew apart from each other. This story between Dino and July at first is very intriguing as I am very interested in reading male to female dynamic relationship that is not related to romance.

As the story proceeds, I cannot find any WOW factor, or any part of the book that is worth reading and impressive. The characters are very bland, they are extremely flawed and not interesting. I guess the author is trying to write characters with anti-hero qualities, the one who lacks the ‘conventional heroic attributes’ unlike what we see in movies or even books. Both of them also have opposite characteristics, one is passive and the other is hostile. The reason on why they grew apart is also so petty, that I think the relationship can be repaired by just only discussing the problems between them. The plot is also very forgettable and nothing special, at times I cannot even identify the conflict and storyline.

The one thing is really stood out to me is the theme of death. Someone’s death can truly change and effect our life as a whole. How the death can change their relationship. I guess that the author is trying to metaphorically explain the meaning and impact of someone’s death to people. However, it does not work for me.

I truly appreciate the LGBT references in the book as one of the main characters is gay and also about the support and understanding given by the people of him.

I am mildly disappointed by the book but it does not stop me to try and read Shaun’s other writings in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me a review copy of the book!

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Sabrina

 

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea (Tahereh Mafi)

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

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.


RATING

3.5 STARS!

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I have been waiting for so long to read this book and write the review for this highly anticipated read for 2018! I was honestly stoked when Tahereh finally decided to write a YA contemporary book because I knew that this book is going to be perfect. I have only read two of her books, which are the middle grade series; Furthermore and Whichwood. The books are nothing but perfect!

The unique part of this story is that this book gives us an insight on what it means to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim country after the tragedy of 9/11. We get to see Shirin’s journey on how she goes through her life as a 16-year-old student, from being a friend and facing the family dynamics in her household. This book is brutally honest and raw, different from her other masterpieces. There are no flowery writing inserted. All monologues from Shirin is just purely straight forward and truthful.

I highly appreciate Muslim hijabi girls representation in Young Adult books, because I think they are not well represented in the society. Muslims are often mistaken for bad things and they are always treated horribly by the society. Their devotion to God is always mistakenly understood to be extremism. It is not always easy for immigrants to live a peaceful life in a foreign land as people will always have bad things to say. It is even worse when there is a sickening tragedy that involves the lives of many people. One of them, who is Shirin would be badly affected by the aftermath. We see how the society, in a smaller context, the students in her school treat her. They won’t befriend her, assume her like she is invisible and also throw brutal racist remarks to her. Being a Muslim in a non-Muslim country is different from being a Muslim in Muslim country. While reading, I compare myself, between the situation in my country with the struggles of Shirin’s. I think that never in my lifetime that I would understand what she has gone through. I understand my privilege and I will never abuse it to downgrade other people. I feel angry while reading because Shirin is constantly challenged with the society’s expectation towards her. She is always violently punished for something that she has never done. Everyone deserves to live in the world without being harmed.

I learn so much from the book, what it feels like to be in a xenophobic and islamophobic world but I think I am just given a tiny glimpse about what it feels like to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim country. This book is very important for readers to devour into, because it makes us understand the prejudice towards muslims in America. Seeing all of these makes us wonder the status of our education. Has our education done a perfect job in educating our children? It is our job to ponder.

I adore the male lead, which is the love interest for Shirin. I like the relationship between Shirin and her love interest, however, I hate for the fact that the romance has taken over the whole purpose of the book. I would want the book to focus more on Shirin’s journey for self-discovery. The romance factor has defeated the sole purpose of the book. I at times don’t feel comfortable reading about their relationship because I think it is too forced, and it is used as a plot device. This is the only reason on why I don’t give this book a 5 star. I would have to say that I am mildly disappointed with the relationship part.

My most favourite part of the book is that Shirin is a close reflection of the writer herself. I have never read any book that is very private and written based on personal experience by the author and the fact that Tahereh has published a book that is very close to her is such an amazing thing. It makes the book much more authentic and honest. It shows that Tahereh is very brave to show the world that her story is important enough for readers to learn. 

I now know the meaning of the title of the book! Only those who have read it may understand the meaning of it! 😛

X

Sabrina

Review: Emergency Contact (Mary H. K. Choi)

38749034Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books
Publication date: March 27th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 394

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


RATING

4.5 STARS

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I read this gorgeous book in a day! You can imagine how good this book is.

The fact that Rainbow Rowell, one of my favourite authors who introduced me to Young Adult Contemporary books blurbed this book, I AM ALREADY PUMPED!

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Once I skimmed the synopsis when it was released, I was hooked and interested! This NYT Best Seller book did not disappoint at all! Even though this book received many mixed reviews on Goodreads, I truly enjoyed reading the story of Penny and Sam facing their inner demons and life obstacles. I was surprised that this book was actually a YA/NA contemporary. I don’t really read NA these days thus reading young adults who were trying to start their journey outside of their comfort zones was very special to me, as I am also searching and struggling.

Emergency Contact allows us to appreciate the growth of two struggling young adults who are finding the meaning of life and exploring the beauty of their friendship. I gravitate towards good friendship/relationship books, I love to see how relationships between two people starts to develop and bloom. I love Penny and Sam always find their ways to each other, their frankness in their relationship and also on how they depend on each other during hard times. The characters were realistic and fragile, there were times when I wanted to hug them so much because they were too vulnerable as they have went through so much in life 😦

The writing was good, for me it was fast paced as it kept me entertained and interested in reading till the end. I didn’t realise that the book was going to end until 360+ pages because I was so engrossed with Penny and Sam that I didn’t want it to end! I read somewhere that the writer is plotting on Book 2 and 3, so rest assured that there will be a sequel coming! YAY

Characters are not always perfect. Things in life change people, effect on how they react and think. One thing that truly disturbed my attention was the fact that Penny pushed her loved ones, especially her mom. I felt for her mom, because family always wants to be near us. I am no position to judge people on their relationships with their family, but take the time to appreciate them.

I would truly recommend this book to readers who would enjoy reading about blooming friendships who find peace in each other presence 🙂

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this ARC in exchange of an honest review!

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Sabrina

 

Review: Open Road Summer (Emery Lord)

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Source: Pansing Books

This book is available at all good bookstores.


Blurb from Goodreads:

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts.

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.


RATING

4.0 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I am glad that I totally enjoy reading this book. This is definitely my first time reading Emery Lord’s writing and I am happy to say that it did not disappoint! Her writing is honestly amazing and very entertaining.

I totally recommend you guys to read this during summer or vacation, because it is totally a fast paced and light read for you to devour in. Sometimes I would love to read light books that does not need extra attention to fathom the development of the world created by the author. You could be so engrossed to the book, not realising that you have gone through more and more chapters.

This book has received a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, such as the main character being so annoyingly stubborn and angsty. However, I totally love all of the points that the book highlights, because that makes the book even special to me. YA Contemporary books like this often deliver profound messages for readers to appreciate and understand.

This book highlights on finding new hopes and dreams. Sometimes life can be very hard and disappointing but there is no reason that we cannot chase our very own happily ever after. Both of the characters pave their way to heal a broken heart after breaking up with their partners and it is interesting to see how both of them face their challenge with confidence and positivity. I also love for the fact that both of main characters are always there for each other no matter what. The major part of the story is basically they accept each other for their good and bad, flaws and wrongdoings in hope that both of them will find serendipity in their own ways. Thus that makes this story important to me ❤

I hope you guys will enjoy this book as much as I did 🙂

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

X

Sabrina

Review: From Twinkle, With Love (Sandhya Menon)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Three starred reviews for this charming romantic comedy about an aspiring teen filmmaker who finds her voice and falls in love, from the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi.

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream comes true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily ever after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is honestly my first time reading Sandhya Menon’s book. I push myself while reading this because I want to understand the hype of her debut, When Dimple Met Rishi. Unfortunately, I am not impressed by this story.

The main character, Twinkle is a bit unbearable to begin with. The fact that she is 16 years old, she does things stupidly sometimes. I simply cannot stand with her. The plot is pretty much bland, with so little sparks, specialty and surprises.

I don’t know guys, maybe I just have to take a break from reading contemporary novels like this because mostly YA contemporaries follow the similar, cliché and repetitive endings. Like any teen, Twinkle faces parental expectations, peer pressure problems and also puppy love.

Apart from that, Twinkle is an aspiring Indian-American filmmaker who dreams high and wishes to pursue her career in film industry. She writes a series of “dear diary” to her respective idols who are her favourite female filmmakers. She is passionate in doing what she loves and protective when people criticises and demotivates her work.

From Twinkle, With Love has such important and remarkable points and issues for younger audiences to learn about. I think I will appreciate this better, when I read this in the right time and space.

I will love to give other Sandhya Menon’s book a try so, I look forward to read When Dimple Met Rishi next time!

X

Sabrina

 

 

Review: Love, Hate and Other Filters (Samira Ahmed) #OwnVoices #MuslimYA

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacquelyn Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?


RATING

3 STARS!

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I am honestly very much excited to read this when it first come out! I live for Muslim representation in YA books, so this book is a perfect trial for me to enjoy! Mind you, I have never read a story with a Muslim main character in YA.

Love, Hate and Other Filters is a moving and coming-of-age story about Maya Aziz, 17-year-old high school senior who is an Indian-Muslim teen living in United States with her parents, who are dentists and have their own established clinic in Illinois. Maya loves making movies and her ultimate goal is to pursue film studies in NYU. However, typical Asian parents will always ask their children to do premed and prelaw after graduating from school. As you can guess, Maya disagrees with their plan.

This story mainly revolves around romance and Islamophobia. The romance part is great, I love how Maya handles her love situation by not running away from problems. She meets Kareem, the perfect Indian-Muslim guy at a family wedding during the first part of the book. I am glad that Maya confronts and cuts ties with him before anything big develops between them. I personally don’t like the pairing of Maya and Kareem, because I feel something is off.

Then, Maya has this big crush on a guy in school named Phil, who is also the perfect guy you can ask for. Unfortunately Phil already has a girlfriend in school, Lisa. Their relationship pretty much develop slowly along the story, from meeting and studying at cafe to romantic getaways. To her knowing, her parents will never let her befriends with guys who are not Indian and also Muslim.

The middle of the book gets emotional and heavy when there is a terrorist attack in the state capitol and casualties happen. The suspected person behind the attack is a Egyptian-Muslim, and leads to the prejudice that Maya, her family and other Muslims in the community have to endure. Violence and threats that they receive make Maya’s mom and dad even more reluctant to allow Maya following her dreams. Things get complicated and everyone is depressed. Her dad is injured by the doings of mad people and Maya receives hate from friends at school because of the attack. I love how her parents explain to Maya about terrorism has no religion.

“These terrorists are the antithesis of Islam. They’re not Muslim. Violence has no place in religion, and the terrorists are responsible for their own crimes, not the religion and not us.”

There are a lot of Indian culture presented in the book such as weddings, tradition and food! I swear I can smell their cooking and my mouth waters every moment when food scenes come in.

The supporting characters are ON POINT! Violet, Maya’s closest friend, is the best friend you can ever ask for. She is always there, to support her friend during ups and downs. I love it when Violet offers a place to stay when the attack happens as she wants her friend to be safe. Hina, Maya’s aunt, is the supportive aunt in the family ever! Hina’s thinking is different from Maya’s parents, she believes in order to be successful, you need to follow your dreams, even if you don’t have your parents’ blessings at the first place. She is the aunt that you can root for.

Every good has it’s bad. There are problems in the book that I really wish do not and should not EVER happen. There is a bad representation of Muslim elements in the book. For instance, Maya. She never mentions and portrays her beliefs as a Muslim in the book. Not ONCE. She lives her life as if she is not a Muslim. I’m sorry but that’s how I feel while reading. I am sad because this book has the potential and chance to talk about how Muslims live and do in a daily basis. I also don’t like when one of the Muslim characters normalizes a sin such as drinking wine. Like, don’t you have any respect to GOD? Maya is also sometimes very rude to her parents, when her parents don’t agree to Maya’s plan to pursue studies at NYU. I feel sorry for her parents though, I guess it’s the challenges that parents nowadays have to face in order to raise a rebellious child.

Samira Ahmed writes engaging and likeable characters, with such moving and heavy points for the reader to ponder. Maya is a character who tries to fight the stereotypes of an Asian girl who has to follow family’s order to become successful. She is independent and determined, as she has her own goal and let nobody stops her.

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Sabrina