Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

28458598When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Published May 30th 2017

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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Advanced Reader Copy was sent to me by the publisher

This book was so cute and I really enjoyed it. It gave me Kasie West vibes and was perfectly diverse.

I really loved the plot and how Dimple was so driven by her passion. She was very goal oriented, something I don’t see that often in contemporary books. I did really like Rishi as well but I didn’t quite connect to him like I did Dimple. I kind of wished Dimple was a little more open to her fellow girls. I felt like there was some (very slight) girl hate through out the book and I wish there would have been more uplifting and empowering girl friendships.
I also really loved how When Dimple Met Rishi was full of Indian culture and how organically it was incorporated into the story.

Overall, When Dimple Met Rishi was a really great, fluffy YA contemporary. I loved the plot and the writing was awesome. If you’re looking for a cute summer read, you’ll want to pick this book up.

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Recommendation Friday

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This week I’ll recommending one of the best books I’ve ever read. I rarely read books that I would say are must reads, that everyone should read at least once. But this book is definitely one of a kind and should be on everyone’s TBR.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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If you read one book in 2017, read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

The Hate U Give is ground breaking, unique, heartbreaking, and honest. It gives a much needed voice to people who haven’t been heard.
The characters are well written and complex. Starr has shown me a perspective I haven’t seen before and I will always appreciate new perspectives.
I also love how much this book focuses on family. I felt like that was such an important aspect of this book and I don’t often see YA books that show such strong family dynamics.
I went into this book thinking it was going to be super intense, super dark 100% of time. And it is dark and tense but it shows other aspects of Starr’s life as well. It shows her friendships and her family. There’s actually some witticism and I felt like it added to the realism of the story.

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Review: Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

29743029Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

Published May 9th 2017

From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh, Becoming Bonnie is the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family’s poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas’s newest speakeasy, Doc’s.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn’t know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie’s life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

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I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When I started this book, I was deep in a reading slump and I was having a really hard time finishing books and even finding the incentive to read. Becoming Bonnie got me out of my slump and I never wanted to put it down.
I’ve always liked the story of Bonnie and Clyde so this book was right up my alley. I had pretty high hopes when I started this book and I was pleasantly surprised how Becoming Bonnie not only lived up to my hopes but surpassed them as well. I loved this book so much more than I was expecting.
Bonnie’s character development was awesome. The author did a great job of showing how Bonnie went from someone who would never step foot in a speakeasy to a girl who helped break her boyfriend out of jail.
I thought Jenni did a great job of merging history with fiction and creating such a fun, engaging book.
Overall, I loved this book and I can see myself rereading it in the future. I really enjoyed everything about this book and I cannot wait for the next book.

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Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Published May 16th 2017

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

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I was sent an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Flame in the Mist is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It was so original, well written, and I really liked the main character.
It was a little slow at times and I was kind of confused at first but once I got into the plot and understood what was going on, I really liked it. It was very difficult for me to keep track of the characters. A lot of the characters had nicknames and titles and it was all thrown around at the same time. I feel like I would have to read this book a second time to really understand who was who. However, I haven’t really seen anyone else have this issue so maybe it was just me.
The main character, Mariko, was such a badass and I felt like she could totally have her own action movie. She did come across as spoiled at times, which was kind of annoying, but it was definitely because of her upbringing and it made sense.
My favorite things about Flame in the Mist was the plot and setting. The plot was so engaging and captivating. I really liked the Mulan-like elements. I don’t know if this was meant to be a retelling but it definitely felt like one.
The setting was absolutely amazing. The Japanese culture paired with the writing style was a match made in heaven. I loved how much detail there was on Japanese culture from the food to the traditions. Renee’s descriptions of things painted a beautiful picture and I loved it so much.
I haven’t read Renee’s other books so I can’t compared Flame in the Mist to The Wrath and the Dawn but I’ll definitely be picking up TWATD very soon.

Overall, Flame in the Mist is one of my favorite books of 2017 and I definitely recommend it. The writing style, setting, and diversity was amazing and I can’t wait for the next book in Mariko’s story.

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Review: Put Your Warrior Boots On by Lisa Whittle

34237126Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and for All by Lisa Whittle

Published April 1st 2017

You Can Be a Spiritual Warrior.

Does it feel like the world has gone crazy and you’re just along for the ride? From bombings to bullying, the world has us on pins and needles–afraid for our children, fearful for ourselves, worried that we won’t have enough strength to stand our ground. But you don’t have to start brave to stay strong. Inspirational author and speaker Lisa Whittle wants you to experience the joy and release of trusting in your Savior to help you live a God-ignited life. Find the tools you need to… confirm Truth and keep anti-biblical messages from misleading you develop passion for defending your beliefs without letting personal pride interfere outfit your days to support your faith so your dedication doesn’t fizzle

There’s no better time than this moment to put on your warrior boots and discover the fearless life you’ve been called to live.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book but I actually really liked it.
I found it to be super helpful and I loved how it’s geared towards women with busy lives.
The author talks a lot about how when it comes down to it, praying is what will help more than anything else and I definitely needed that reminder.
I loved the questions at the end of each chapter and I think Put Your Warrior Boots On would make a great book for a women’s Bible study or just discussion with friends.

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Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Adrift by Sarah Darlington

 Adrift by Sarah Darlington

Release Date: May 30, 2017
Series: Kill Devil Hills #4

 

What happens when the world thought you were dead and suddenly, now you are alive?



Ben Turner is back! Not quite as dead as everyone thought, fresh out of a nine-month stay in prison, and back home in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Having been dishonorably discharged after charges of desertion from the military, this once well-loved local has fallen from the top. With no plans for college or the future, and hated by the town that once loved him, Ben feels like he’s drowning all over again.



Juniper is pregnant, alone, and running from her crazy fiancé. With only enough money for a one-way bus ticket, she heads to Kill Devil Hills, NC, a town she vacationed in as a little girl, a town she knows, come February, will have plenty of beach rentals to lie low in for the next couple months. Except she didn’t plan on getting caught on day one by the man living next door. Ben. He’s a man who has even more problems than she does, but maybe it’ll take a man like Ben to save her life.

**New Adult Romance. This novel is the fourth book in the Kill Devil Hills series, however it can be read as a standalone. Recommended for 18+

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ARC Review: Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

28822458Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Scholastic

Once upon a time, a girl skipped into the forest and became a zombie.

Wait, no, that’s not how this story is supposed to go. Let’s try again.

Once upon a time, a boy did a horrible job as a sheep-sitter and burned his tongue on stolen pie.

No, children in these stories are always good and virtuous. From the top.

Once upon a time, a king and queen tried to find a princess for their son to marry, and he wound up fleeing from a group of very hairy vampires.

Hmmm…

What about, once upon a time, a bunch of fairy tales got twisted around to be completely hilarious, a tiny bit icky, and delightfully spooky scarytales… in other words, exactly what fairy tales were meant to be. Grab some flaming torches, maybe don’t accept that bowl of pease porridge, and get ready for a wickedly fun ride with acclaimed author Kiersten White and fairy tales like you’ve never heard them before.

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I was sent an ARC copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was such a fun read. I really loved the creativity and writing style. The concept was a lot of fun and I think young readers will really enjoy it. The Princess and the…Pea? was probably my favorite of all the stories and I even laughed out loud while reading it.
I don’t know if this really appeals to an older audience but I think middle school and elementary readers would really enjoy this book.

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Review: Unfiltered by Lily Collins

32737127Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. by Lily Collinsiew

Published March 7th 2017

In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.

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Unfiltered has become such an unexpected favorite of mine. I wasn’t very familiar with Lily Collins prior to reading this book but now I’m such a fan of hers.
Lily is very open and honest in Unfiltered and I really appreciate how sincere she is. I was able to relate to her a lot and she also showed me a few new perspectives on things.
Lily talks very openly about her past with eating disorders and I think her story can be very empowering to others who have/are struggling with that disorder and are looking for representation and a voice.
I really loved how Lily talked about normal, everyday things that happen to many people and put an inspirational spin on it. She talks about a few situations she’s dealt with when it comes to her dating life and I really liked how she gave advice after her stories through out the book.

Overall, I really loved Unfiltered and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a quick non-fiction read. I think this would be especially great for young girls because Lily is such an inspirational, classy role model.

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Blog Tour: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr + Giveaway

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

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A cross between Memento and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is a unique, breathtaking page-turner about a girl with no short-term memory and her remarkable journey to find the one boy able to penetrate her fractured mind.
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this singular memory pierces Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake and their shared kiss are responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step in reclaiming her life.
With little more than the tattoo “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is, how old, where she lives, and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to the land of the midnight sun–Svalbard, Norway. There she is determined to find Drake, and to explore the romantic possibilities and hopeful future that their reunion promises her. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
Rich with psychological twists, powerful moments of hope, despair, and confusion, and a landscape very much a character unto itself, The One Memory of Flora Banks is an emotionally compelling and immersive read that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the depths of the human heart, and the power of the human mind.

Published May 2nd 2017 by Penguin Teen

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Review

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book made me feel so many different feelings. I really liked it but I was also a bit frustrated at times.

I liked Flora even though she was a little slow at times and pretty naive. I thought she was a very interesting character. I did kind of annoy me that the one thing she could remember was a boy. This book did tend to be more about the boy than Flora and I would have liked it to focus more on Flora and her well being.

The One Memory of Flora Banks reminded me a bit of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver in the sense that it was repetitive. I honestly can’t think of a better way to represent Flora’s disability and situation but if you’re easily annoyed by a tedious plot, you might want to skip this book.

I did really enjoy the writing style. I thought this book was really well written and I also really liked Flora’s friendship with Paige.

Overall, I had some mixed feelings when reading this book but in the end, I enjoyed it. It’s pretty different from most books I’ve read and I really appreciate the originality.

Giveaway

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Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (ARV: $17.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 1, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 22, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 24, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

About the author

unnamedEmily Barr (www.emilybarr.com) began her career as a journalist at the Guardian before realizing that she was drawn more toward books. After taking a year to go backpacking for a column assignment, she returned home with the idea for her first book, the New York Times bestseller Backpack, and never looked back. She has since written 11 additional books for adults. The One Memory of Flora Banks is her young adult debut. Emily lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children. You can follow her on Twitter @emily_barr.

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Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Published April 11th 2017

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

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I’d seen so much hype around this book and I was a little hesitant to pick it up because of that. I haven’t read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I wasn’t familiar with the author and didn’t know what to expect. I tried to not have a really high hopes going into this book but the hype definitely got to me.
I really loved how cute this book was. It was a great mix of fun, cute contemporary and dealing with serious issues. The main character, Molly, has anxiety and I really appreciated the representation. I personally felt like it was an accurate representation and it helped me relate to the main character a lot.
I loved the writing style. I think the writing is my favorite part about this book. There was just something about how Becky described everything that blew me away. It was so wonderfully written.
This is book is also really diverse (anxiety disorder, lots of PoC, LBGTQ) so that was pretty great.
The only thing that hindered me from giving this book 5 stars was the lack of emotional investment I had in The Upside of Unrequited. Even though I loved the writing and liked the characters, I couldn’t really become emotionally invested. I had a hard time loving Molly because the whole thing with her crushes was a little annoying to me. It felt repetitive and a lot like puppy love.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the writing style, diversity, and anxiety disorder representation. And even though I wasn’t completely emotionally invested in the characters, I still really liked them. If you’re looking for a great contemporary, I’d recommend The Upside of Unrequited.

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