Book Review

A Song Below Water |Book Review

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(Disclosure: There are things that I don’t know and through literature I seek answers. Please educate me on things that I don’t know. As always I try to be inclusive. kind and respectful in my reviews. xoxo, Rina )

Synopsis:

Legacies meets Nic Stone’s Dear Martin in Bethany C. Morrow’s debut YA, A Song Below Water, about two best friends discovering their magical identities against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either. (Goodreads)

REVIEW

This was a surprising read. This was marketed to me as a mermaid tale. This intrigued me a lot because I had never before read a book that revolved around mermaids.

Pros:

This book had social commentary that I feel is relevant in today’s times. The book revolved around black characters and police violence. I feel like police brutality in the black community has taken a rise, and representation of it is important in literature to begin the conversation of how we can change this. This novel acknowledged the right to protest and showed it in a way of being able to use your voice in order to demand social change. I liked that this novel also showed the use of media, such as Youtube as a means to educate the public on social issues. I valued that this novel portrayed a true representation of what a protest looks like, the precautions one takes when protesting and the risk that one puts themselves in when they are protesting.

I enjoyed that this book included people of color representation and it was written by a black author.

While the book dealt with difficult social issues and had mythical creatures in it, it also displayed teenage love and the innocent feelings of crushes. While it did have a serious undertone to the story, the teenagers still acted like teenagers with magical powers. While the reader is trying to figure out who and what our main characters are, the main character Tavia and Effie are on the same journey as the reader trying to learn about their abilities and what it means to have those abilities in there life.

Favorite Quote:

” What is the status of that? Are we avoiding labels or is he officially your boyfriend?”

“Okay, what makes it official?”

“If he asks you to go steady. Doy.”

“I just don’t think guys literally ask that anymore.” (P.173, Bethany C. Marrow )

Cons:

However, the plotline of having police conflict within the black community was a promising touch, because I thought this was a very important point that provided space to educate the reader. I feel like this giant event was lost among the storyline. This story seemed to not contain a plot other than two girls having to protect one another.

There were different characters that were introduced without any explanation of their mythical origin besides their mythical names. Throughout the entire book, the main characters spent running away from an invisible evil force without really knowing why. Tavia and Effie also spend the greater part of the book not knowing their true identities and the reader spends a lot of the time being confused who is who.

There is a society of mythical creatures that are created to protect the girls called eolokes but, their origin is not explained. It is hard to understand their place in society. All the supernatural creatures lacked a back story. The creatures were all new to me, they were ones that I have never read about before. Which at first gave me excitement for a new fantasy world but the story fell short due to lack of back story and too much trying to be fit in such a short novel.

The family lines were very confusing, as the reader early on find out that the “sisters” are not related by blood. It was hard to identify which sister belonged to which family because it seemed that there was no strong connection between the family. When the families got together it felt like it was one large family, until the reader was reminded that the girls had lived previously in different homes. I personally struggled with making strong connections to their family lines. It did seem that the book tried to make the two families an important aspect of the story but it lacked in creating the connections that helped the reader be able to easily identify which family went to which girl and what roles the family played.

Overall

This book was not exactly my cup of tea. I enjoyed parts of it as I read. There was not much in this book that was very memorable to me and I do not see myself revisiting this book in the future. While I enjoyed the “people of color” representation and I thought that the book gave an interesting and important overview of protesting. The fantasy elements were not for me. I felt that the book lacked a lot of back story, while it introduced numerous amounts of supernatural creatures. I think that just by adding back story and having the book be slightly longer the story could have had a much more lasting effect on me. This siren tale was just not for me.

XOXO,

Rina

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Book Review

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Pages : 320

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Synopsis:

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams. (Goodreads)

Review:

I read this book because the book “DragonsAndTeaBookClub” on instagram was reading this last month. This was a book that took me a while to get into. It told the story of a girl “fox” named Min who wanted to go find her brother after her family was told that he deserted in the line of duty in the space force. She decided to go and find her brother to prove to everyone that he was not a deserter. This led her on a wild adventure through space, working for an evil captain and making the most unlikely of friends.

I really enjoyed the aspect that this book was based loosely on Korean folklore mixed with a space narrative. I loved the whole aspect of space and that the story took place on different space crafts and traveled through the different planets. 

I loved the loyalty that Min had for her brother that she would do anything to defend his name. This book had mystical creatures, foxes who could shapeshift and use charm to get out of trouble, goblins conjuring junk food, and dragons possessing the powers to control the weather. 

This was a new release (January 15, 2019) in the middle-grade genre. At times I did find this book slow to read around the middle but the last 100 pages or so were extremely entertaining. I was super satisfied with the ending and felt that everything was tied together very nicely without loose ends. I can see this book being a stand-alone or it has the potential to be made into a series.

0 by 2020 · Book Review

Ignite Me | Book Review

Pages:421
Published: February 24, 2014
Harper Collins

Synopsis:

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her. Goodreads

REVIEW:

I loved this book. I shipped Warner and Juliette so freaking much. I honestly, did not expect to like this book as much as I thought I would. But, honestly, Warner made it so worth. Clearly, we already know that I am team Warner. I really enjoyed how Warner and Juliette’s relationship was portrayed as if they were equals. I noticed that Warner has always thought that Juliette is such as strong and independent character. He sees that she doesn’t need his protection and his belief in her makes her a stronger individual. I loved that he empowers her and doesn’t bring her down.

I struggled liking Adam, he seemed like such a little whinny character. He tries to protect Juliette while not letting her live up to her fullest potential. I loved Kenji so much, I thought that he can totally be my best friend. He is such a light and fun character. I think that he makes all the tough situations a little lighter. I also enjoyed seeing that he stands up for what he believes even though some of his actions can cause tension between the people in the Omega Point group. Oh my goodness, can I just give a shout out to James. I loved Adams little brother and I love his connection to Warner. James is such a light-hearted individual. I love that he wants to be part of the action but he is also so loved and protected by the others (Juliette, Kenji, Castle, Adam).

Also, there were some steamy romance scenes that I was just living for. I also really enjoyed that this book shows progression of mental health. When the series began you can see that Juliette has a lot of anxiety but as the series progresses she has some great quotes that she says that really show how she is dealing with her mental health and becoming a strong individual. I really enjoyed that Warner owns his flaws. He knows that he has done some bad things, he knows that he is not perfect and he never claims to be. I love that about him. I feel like Adam contradicts himself so much in this book, he claims to love Juliette but the moment that she does something that he is not happy with he shames her for it and makes her out to be this delicate person.

Genuinely enjoyed this book. I hope to get into “Restore Me” soon. I hope that romance between Warner and Juliette continues because I a 100% living for it.

Book Review

Hopeless By Colleen Hoover|Book Review


HopelessPages: 410

Published: December 19th 2012 (first published December 17th 2012)
Original Title:Hopeless
ISBN 1301949825 (ISBN13: 9781301949823)

Synopsis:Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.(Goodreads)


Reviewstarsstars/5

I originally read this because I was trying to get out of a reading slump. Colleen Hoover has always been one of those authors that has always pulled me out of reading slumps. Her writing is addicting and her storyline make a reader invested in the story.

However, I didn’t find this to be the case with Hopeless. At times it was enjoyable, because it had a lot of different themes in it. I liked that there was a mystery plot that developed along with a romance contemporary that Colleen Hoover is known for.

I really liked the relationship development that occurred between Sky and Holder. I thought that their romance wasn’t as instalove as romances can tend to be. I enjoyed that they shared a strong friendship. I also like that at a one point in the story, there was a scene were the main characters were about to have sex and the female protagonist said she wasn’t ready, I felt like the male character did not pressure her to continue and supported her throughout her trying to piece together her past.

Holder wasn’t one of those book crushes that I usually get all the feels for from reading Colleen Hoover books. However, I did like how intense he was portrayed and his whole bad boy persona really made the book more interesting as he was a very big part of the novel. Sky, at parts was a really interesting character to watch because you can see her go through so many emotions. As a reader you can see her fall in love, and figuring out her place in Holder’s secret. Looking back on my reading, and thinking about Holder’s character. I feel like he was written to be to simple, as he is a character that was dealing with holding on too a lot of information and it didn’t seem like he was a very grieving character.

I didn’t like that the resolution of this story was so anticlimactic. The entire book build up the storyline and I felt like it resolved just too easily.  The story also had a lot of triggers, such a rape and suicide. I think that one of the main things that really made me give this book  2 stars is that it wasn’t very memorable. After I finished reading it I only really remembered some main points but not anything that made the story super enjoyable to sit through and read. Also, this isn’t a book I plain on rereading anytime soon.

Overall, this story just fell flat for me. I just didn’t find it to be memorable at all.  The entire book was just okay for me. I hope to enjoy “Losing Hope”, a little bit more.

Until Next Time With Warms Cups of Tea and Just a Few More Chapters,

Rina

 

Book Review

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green |Book Review

35504431Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship. (Goodreads)

Pages: 290

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Published:October 10th 2017

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Review:

This book was brilliant. I related to it on so many levels. Aza, spoke to me because I could see mine own battle with anxiety happen through her eyes.

Turtles all the way down, was very good. It wasn’t my favorite book that John Green has ever written because “The Fault In Our Stars” does holds that special place. I did enjoy it a lot because I was able to connect with it.

Our main character Aza has an anxiety disorder, which I identified with as well. There were so many instances in this novel that I felt that I had reacted to a situation in my life, in a similar way as Aza has. The one problematic area that I couldn’t connect with was when Aza, was prescribed medication for her anxiety right way without the doctor trying to find alternative ways to deal with anxiety.

I loved the relationship and friendship that this story developed. I think that it did show the honest truth and difficulty of what it looks like to date someone with anxiety. I can identify with the feelings that Aza, had when she was conflicted with two sides of herself and wanted to be closer to Davis but, at the same time she pulled away from him, and began to overthink every little bit.

I thought that Daisy, Aza’s best friend was written as a typical high schooler who wanted her best friend to just be able to have fun. I can see how she could be a problematic character in the sense that she was not always supportive of Aza, but I can see where her character struggled to understand what is going on with her best friend and although wanted to continue to be friends, but had to take some time to change her thoughts and  behavior in order to do so.

Overall, I thought that this was a beautifully written novel. I enjoyed that this novel also revolved around a mystery of what happened to the billionaire Russel Picket. The storyline was never flat, as it revolved around the constant suspense element while introducing the struggles of a character dealing with anxiety.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning about mental illness, and anxiety. There were also so many beautiful quotes in this book that I couldn’t help but flag every single one of them in my copy so I can go back and reread them in the future.

(Also, please know that if you are battling with anxiety or mental illness, you are not alone. If you need additional support please contact SAMHSA treatment referral helpline: 1-877-SAMHSA7. Or reach out to a school counselor or parent.)

With Warm Cups of Tea and Just A Few More Chapters,

Rina

As Many As Possible By 2019 · Brain Dump · Yearly TBR

Blogmas: As Many as Possible by 2019 Challenge| Brain Dump

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Bibliomaniacs,

One of the challenges that I want to take on in the upcoming year would be to read through all my books.  However, if I am brutally honest with myself, the likelihood of that happening is very unlikely. However, one step that I can take in order to get to this  goal is buy less books. This is really hard for me, because I literally want to read everything.

I love buying books, I have always found comfort in going home with a stack of books. However, I realize that if I buy books I need to read at a faster speed and literally do nothing else but read in order to get through all my books.

So, what does that mean for my Goodreads goal? I have been pondering this for sometime. I have come to the decision that I will set my goal to 10 books and up it every ten books when I get there. This will just relieve the pressure of not reading enough and reading shorter books in order to achieve a goal. I would love to focus 2018 on reading books that I have been putting off due to size, or the mentality that I have to read a certain amount of books and end up reading nothing at all.

I know in the month of January I will be dedicating the entire month to reading “It” by Stephen King. And although, I don’t want to have a set “to be read” monthly list in 2018. I decided to dedicate January to “It”, because I don’t go back to school until the 29th. Also, I decided that I will be reading the e-book for this book because I tend to read e-books a little faster and it will definitely be easier to carry then the physical copy. (Just an observation- mass pocketbooks of “It” are impossible to track down.)

If you would like to join me on the adventure of reading “It”, leave a comment and I would love to discuss this book with you.

With Warm Cups of Tea and Just a Few More Chapters & A Very  Happy Holidays!

Rina


Goodreads : rinareviewsbks

Twitter: rinasw0nderland

Blogmas · currently reading

BLOGMAS- Currently Reading| DEC.2017

Hey Bibliomaniacs,

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season. For all my student readers I hope that your finals have ended successfully. Today was my last day of finals and I am happy to announce that there will be a blog everyday up until New Years.

To start of this blogmas off, lets talk about the current book that I am reading.

Hopeless
Goodreads

Synopsis: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever. (Goodreads)

With Warm Cups of Tea and Just a Few More Chapters,

Rina

Brain Dump

Brain Dump: The Way I Want to Change my Reading | Discussion

Hey Bibilomainics,

Happy December!

As the end of the year comes around, I have been thinking a lot about my reading goals and who I am as a reader? Since 2011, I have participated in the goodreads reading challenge. I feel like participating in the goodreads challenge makes me feel part of the book blogger/ goodreads community.

Ariel Basset, recently came out with a youtube video titled “Is reading competitive?” And it got me reflecting on my reading habits. Before blogging, I made youtube videos and although I have wanted to create some video content for a while, I have have had two things stopping me. Number 1, not reading enough and not being able to explain my thoughts clearly enough via the video outlet. With writing, when I do these discussion posts they are mostly brain dumps that I can sit and stare at my screen, I think the notion that the camera is rolling and I am expected to say something really makes me anxious in a way and I battle with anxiety already that having that extra element is not necessary beneficial to my well being.

Going back to the video, Ariel talked about reading being competitive in the sense that the online book community makes goals and makes them public. This in turn no longer makes reading a solitary thing. Looking back, even at this year I feel like I have not read any GREAT books. Which is so sad, and I began to think why do I read the first place. It wasn’t until May this year that I began to even dedicate time for reading. And although I have been feeling guilty for not reading more books, I have enjoyed the process of reading. But, I also feel like a lot of my reading was rushed, because I felt like I was spending too much time on one particular book. I also, have started and put down a lot of books, due to the competition I have been feeling with my reading. In honest truth I don’t think that anyone really cares if I read 100 books or if I have read only one book.

With all that being said, what does that mean for the upcoming year? That means that next year I will be reading just for fun. What does that mean for this blog?

Well, my hopes are that because I am reading for fun and not

IMG_4220
Bookstgram picture I took today! Follow me on Instagram at: marinainw0nderland

 

pressured to read a certain amount, there will be more diversity in the books I read and am able to bring more content that is authentic and really connects with my life rather than just a review or a tbr. I want to share with you books that have really changed my life. Ariel gave a really good example in her video, something along the lines that “she reads in order to find her favorite hidden gems that she can go back and reread.” I love this because I don’t reread many books, but the ones that I have reread in the past some have brought back joy and memories from the first time I read them and some have disappointed me such as “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo”, it just didn’t gripe me in as it did the first time I read it.

With taking time for reading for fun this year, I also want to dwell into the creative photography aspect. I have been loving bookstagram and even captured a picture today that I am really proud of (seen above). I want to focus the next year on finding hidden gems and the many new adventures awaiting me in the next year.

With Warm Cups of Tea and Just a Few More Chapters,

(P.S. Check out Ariel Basset on Youtube, she has great content. Just click her name on this post and it will take you to her page. )

Rina

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review

The Lovely Reckless By Kami Garcia|Review

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Title: The Lovely Reckless

Author: Kami Garcia

Pages: 384

Publisher: Imprint

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia, a contemporary romance full of loss, love and redemption…

Seventeen year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad–an undercover cop. She transfers to public school in the Downs, where fistfights in the halls don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him…and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

Your own heart will race with each page turn of this heart-stopping star-crossed love story. (Goodreads)

REVIEW:starsstarsstarsstars.5 /5

I  enjoyed this book so very much. It was literally everything that I wanted in a story. It had an element of love, and adventure. I love the fact that this book was so descriptive about the car races and the how it showed the police investigation. You can really tell that the other knew what she was talking about.

I loved the main two characters. I thought Marco, was just perfect. Although, he was meant to be portrayed as a bad boy, he had a very tender side to him. I really enjoyed how the relationship between him and Frankie played out. I liked that there was no element of instant love, which is often used in young adult novels.  I also liked that this book had a lot of other elements that it focused on, and didn’t just zone in on the love story element.

This story was fast paced, and richly written with characters that were hard to resist. I couldn’t put this book down. I was extremely engaged with the relationship building in this book. I also felt that the plot was creatively written with the reader constantly wondering what is going to happen next and keeping them on the edge of the seat. The characters are so good, that it is very difficult not to get attached to them. I would highly recommend this book to fans of young adult and romance.

With Warm Cups of Tea and Just A Few More Chapters,

Rina