[ARC Review] Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Akemi Dawn Bowman’s debut Starfish is a colourfully painted, masterfully crafted YA contemporary about growing up biracial, fitting in, and what it means to have a place in this world.

I absolutely loved this novel. But before we dive into the review, take a look at the cover and blurb (from Goodreads):  Continue reading

#IndigoYAPreview Fall 2017 Recap

Hey everyone! Yesterday we were lucky enough to attend a YA preview event hosted by Indigo Books at their head office in Toronto. We’ve attended their previews twice before, and as always, we had lots of fun! Thank you to Indigo for inviting us and to the publishers for donating awesome books for us bloggers/readers to take home.

This post will mostly be photos, and of course, we’ll share the awesome books we took home!

We started by mingling and eating (photo below); we got there around 4:50, and it was due to start at 5pm. The preview covered YA books, but we also talked about everything from graphic novels/manga to romance reads and crossover adult titles! Continue reading

July Wrap-Up [2017]

Hey all! July completely FLEW by, and we still can’t believe summer is almost over! Let’s take a look at what we read/what we posted on Instagram in July!

July was pretty eventful outside of school. We went to our cousin’s wedding, celebrated Canada Day and our bro’s bday, and visited Pennsylvania for a weekend (B&N book haul below!)

In July, Sarena read 1 book:

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon — 4.5*

Sasha read 6 books: 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber — 5*

The Child by Fiona Barton — 4.5* (ARC review here)

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus — 5*

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody — 4.5* (ARC review here)

The Disappearences by Emily Bain Murphy — 5*

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton — 4 – 4.5*

Here is our July book haul:

Let’s take a look at our other IG pics! Continue reading

[ARC Review] Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Have you ever read a book so immersive, you can feel the smoke, smell the kettle corn, taste the licorice cherries? Well, that’s exactly what Amanda Foody’s Daughter of the Burning City did for me–paint a vivid landscape in a unique circus setting, with a haunting mystery at its core. Take a look at the vibrant cover and synopsis, and then we’ll dive into my gush-filled review of this book! Continue reading

[ARC Review] The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins is known for her books told in verse, but her newest release, THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN, is told in both verse and prose. Filled with poetry and deep messages, this novel was the most light-hearted-yet-emotional book by Hopkins thus far. I was offered a review copy by Simon and Schuster Canada, so big thanks to S&S for being so kind to send me an ARC. Without further ado, let’s get into the review by beginning with the synopsis. (I will admit, the synopsis gives away quite a bit relating to the ‘twist,’ so if you don’t want to read the synopsis, skip down below!)


30312837How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.


***Disclaimer: I received a review copy from S&S Canada. This has in no way impacted my review.**

This book was an emotional ride. It’s definitely a lot lighter compared to some of Hopkins’ other works, like IDENTICAL and BURNED, both of which I read and remember having heavier themes than this one. However, at the heart of this book, what I liked was that it contained a story about family. First and foremost, the novel was always about identity, family, and finding yourself. I liked how Hopkins was able to diverge from her usual writing style (verse) and use a mixture of the two to get across a unique dual PoV. Though I guessed the twist not long before it was revealed, it still came to me as a shock. (Kudos, Hopkins!) I especially enjoyed the diverse aspects of the novel, especially the exploration of bisexuality.

Now, let’s get into the two characters themselves. Both are young women, in their teens, exploring different parts of themselves. Ariel has never known life outside being with her father. Though her father was definitely the worst, Ariel was still able to forgive him for certain things, which I found to be very mature. I liked how different Maya’s voice was compared to Ariel’s, considering Maya’s parts are told in prose and Ariel’s in verse. I still have to say, though, that Hopkins’ verse is one of the best, so Ariel really stole the show for me. I wanted to keep reading her parts, which took up most of the novel compared to Maya’s sections, as they were really quick to get through.

I especially liked Monica and Gabe, though Monica won my heart in terms of BFFs-to-more characters. The fact that she’s Mexican and brings with her a rich culture and language made the story even more organic and diverse.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, though I’m not sure if I liked it more than the other two I’ve read by her. Those were hard-hitting with twists I did not see coming, especially in IDENTICAL. I remember reading IDENTICAL in one day, as well as BURNED. It’s been a few years since then, so I thought it was time to pick up another one of her books, but this one took me a bit longer to get through. This one did have a lighter tone, though, and made for a different, perhaps more unique (and maybe more enjoyable for some!) read.

My rating: 4.5/5*. This book released on Jan 24, 2017.

Until next time,

S&S

 

Most Anticipated Diverse Reads of 2017

Well, it’s been a while. Is this thing on? *taps mic* Ah, yes. First off, HI! It’s been… over a month. Almost two. Yeah, sorry about that. Dunno how that happened (actually we do — school is basically to blame). We fell into a major blogging slump over the past little while, with no desire to write posts at all, as we were swamped with school work (and will be for the next two weeks! huzzah!) and #PitchWars, which is now over. (More on our #PitchWars experience in a later post, but for now just know that it was amazing and Brenda Drake is the best. Go buy her books.) And can we just say it feels great to finally be writing up posts again? Our fingers are flying across the keypad!

Now, onto the topic of this post. Anticipated Diverse Reads of 2017. I (Sasha) recently held a poll on Twitter asking what your most anticipated diverse read of 2017 is, and the winner was (drum roll please!) … THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas!

most anticipated diverse 2017.PNGYay! (And thank you to everyone who took the time to vote.) Close behind was another one of our most anticipated diverse DEBUTS of 2017, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. Seriously–it’s a Snow White Villain retelling. We need this one when it releases in fall!

Now, it’s time to talk about OUR most anticipated diverse reads of 2017. So here’s a list of ones you should be looking out for in the new year. 😀

THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

FLAME IN THE MIST by Renee Ahdieh

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN by Jenny Han

NOW I RISE by Kiersten White

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME by Adam Silvera

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED by Becky Albertalli

A CROWN OF WISHES by Roshani Chokshi

TRAITOR TO THE THRONE by Alwyn Hamilton

THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco

POISON’S KISS by Breeana Shields

EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES by Rhoda Belleza

THE SHIP BEYOND TIME by Heidi Heilig

THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzie Lee

27 HOURS by Tristina Wright

MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma

THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon

THE AMATERASU PROJECT by Axie Oh

DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

GIRL OUT OF WATER by Laura Silverman

THE EDUCATION OF MARGOT SANCHEZ by Lilliam Rivera

IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S A SECRET by Mia Sugiura

And probably a gazillion others we are forgetting… but this list is getting long enough, so for now, be sure to add all these to your TBR!

Until next time,

S&S