ARC Review: When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

29753111When Michael Met Mina (The Lines We Cross in US)
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Release Date: July 28, 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Before Mina, my life was like a completed jigsaw puzzle but Mina has pushed the puzzle onto the floor. I have to start all over again, figuring out where the pieces go.

When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.

Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.

Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.

They want to stop the boats.
Mina wants to stop the hate.

When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.

A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Jenna @ Reading With Jenna for sending me an ARC!

At first glance, When Michael Met Mina sounds like a meet-cute-esque romantic comedy with a bit of forbidden love thrown in there, right? You have the opposing sides of a debate, the two main characters “meeting” at a rally, and them coincidentally going to the same school. Suffice it to say, the book was much more than a light, fluffy contemporary that I’m prone to pick up. When Michael Met Mina tackles current issues through two very contrasting lenses. Abdel-Fattah weaves introspective narratives that look at the debate of refugees in Australia in a very micro-level aspect from the alternating first-person POV’s of Michael and Mina. I thought the characters were written really well, and although Michael had a more marked character arc, Mina also went through changes in her life that she had to adjust to, character-wise. The wonderful friendships – and not so wonderful friendships – were all realistic as readers really see how the world is made up of grey ideas, neither black nor white. Continue reading

ARC Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (Flame in the Mist #1)

23308087Flame in the Mist
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Cat from Let the Pages Reign for letting me borrow your ARC!

I have some conflicting thoughts about Flame in the Mist, and will try to write out my review from someone who is ignoring hype for this book, but also as a reader who has previously loved Ahdieh’s previous duology, The Wrath and the Dawn. Although set in another setting, there are some similarities between the books that I can’t help but notice, that might have detracted from my reading. I would say that what people found tiring in Ahdieh’s previous books – perhaps the distracting descriptions of minuscule topics, the flare for the dramatics, or even a complaint in the romance – will probably be repeated in this book as well. Ultimately, I enjoyed reading this book, but it won’t be one that I’m shouting my love about. Continue reading

#AsianLitBingo TBR and Links

Hi guys! I’m extremely excited to post my TBR for #AsianLitBingo, which was founded by Shenwei @ Reading As I Am. This was all their awesome idea, but I – and a couple of other Asian bloggers – have joined onboard to help out! Suffice it to say, this is an amazing opportunity to add more Asian books, especially with #ownvoices representation, on my TBR and increase their exposure in general to the blogging community. The month will also be full of interviews, giveaways, blog posts, and a fun Twitter chat at the very end. You should definitely consider joining!

Rules:

  • Book must have an Asian main character (can be one of several main characters) and be by an Asian author to qualify. It does not have to be #ownvoices, but #ownvoices is strongly encouraged.
  • Book can be a novel, short story collection, or comic book/graphic novel.
  • Book must be read during May 1st through May 31st to qualify.
  • Review link-up will close end of June 1st at midnight PDT. The extra margin is to give people the opportunity to write up a review for a book they might have finished late May 31st. We’ll follow the honor system assuming you didn’t read the book on June 1st.

Shenwei’s masterpost has all the information you need to get started, including the amazing prizes that this challenge will have. You can find it here! Continue reading

Blog Tour: First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy Phone Wallpapers + Giveaway!

Hello! I’m excited to be sharing phone wallpapers for this creativity blog tour of First We Were IV, a particularly thrilling Young Adult novel of four seniors who start their own secret society. But with secret societies come a darkness as well, as these characters will soon unveil in the story. With a tantalizing mystery, the love of friendship, and an exploration of the social dynamics between a community, First We Were IV will grip readers and not let go. Continue reading

ARC Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

31447601Noteworthy
Author: Riley Redgate
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.
Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Amulet for the review copy!

Not only does this story grip you from first page (actually, I was gripped from the blurb but totally sold by the first line), but Noteworthy also explores intricacies of the current day that should be, and are, discussed. Ranging from the inherent sexism that may come from male a capella groups to the exploration of sexuality and gender – and how the main character Jordan ultimately identifies as – Noteworthy composes a sonorous story that leaves readers thinking, pondering, and eventually in love with. Continue reading

ARC Review: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

29939047A Crown of Wishes
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: Companion to The Star-Touched Queen
Publisher: Griffin Teen
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you MacMillan for the review copy!

Note: This book is a companion to A CROWN OF WISHES, and thus will have no spoilers for the previous book in the series.

Roshani Chokshi does it again with A CROWN OF WISHES, the companion sequel to her best-selling THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, which you can find my review here. Filled with heavy imagery and a flowy prose, this book focuses on Gauri, a warrior princess who tried to take the throne and failed, and Vikram, the fox prince who wants to extend beyond his name as the next puppet king in the country his father rules. Both characters are so endearing and you really fall in love with them – and their dialogue – as we enter this magical adventure with them. Continue reading

3 A-MAY-zing YA Contemporary Books | Spotlight + Giveaways

Hello! I’ve decided to spotlight some of my favorite YA contemporary releases of the year, which all come out next month in May. I never used to like contemporary books: they would always bore me, and I never really connected to the characters. Recently though, I’ve seen an influx of phenomenal Young Adult contemporary stories with easy-to-relate to characters, extraordinary growth (while frustrating at times), and situations that deal with current issues. With that in mind, here are three that I’m exceedingly excited to see get published soon!

Fun facts:

  • These books have extremely relatable characters that just tug at your heartstrings.
  • These books all release May 2, 2017.
  • These books have been some of my favorite contemporary reads of this year.
  • These books feature superb growth both within a character and with external forces of their lives.
  • I highly recommend all of them, and I can’t wait for their release into the world.
  • So, I have giveaways for each one of them! 1 INTL, 2 US only.

Continue reading

Book Review: Downed by Jen Frederick (Gridiron #3)

Downed
Author: Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #3
Release Date: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Self-Published
Get it Here: Only $3.99 on Amazon Kindle!

Synopsis:

He’s the guy no one likes…

Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.

She’s the girl everyone loves…

Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.

Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I’ve been following this series since the first book Sacked and have thoroughly enjoyed all the books, even though I’m not the biggest football fan. The teamwork and camaraderie between players is a great add-on to the central romance that happens between the characters in these books. Downed is my favorite of the series so far! There’s something about a story of redemption or reformation that just makes me sigh in happiness. I love the exploration of Ace’s past and how Bryant dealt with her grief for her sister. I think that their characters were much more easy to empathize with than the previous couples, which made their relationship very sweet and easy to read and enjoy. Continue reading

Hiatus: Quick Update and Apologies

Sorry guys for not being active recently. I’ve been reading comments and loving them, but I got back from a Model UN conference recently and have been busy since last weekend.

More importantly, *sighs*, I got into an accident and suffice it to say, it feels like my life became one of those serious Young Adult contemporaries where characters learn a tremendous lesson. It’s been a rough weekend and it will be a rough week and my mind is definitely not on books or blogging. In fact, I picked up a book yesterday to pass the time (as some of this situation is out of my hands now) and felt sick to my stomach. I’m leaving for an impromptu hiatus, but I’ll be missing your voices. I won’t be opening Twitter as well for a while so apologies for not replying.

Hope you guys have a good week. I don’t know how long this will last, but hopefully I’ll be back soon.

Thanks.

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