Slay – Brittney Morris

43723509Slay by Brittney Morris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Simon & Schuster Canada
Published: September 24th, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Gaming, Black Culture, Racism, High School, Relationships, Family, Friendship


REVIEW:

This isn’t the type of story that I would typically read. Mainly because I prefer to actually play games than to read about them. But SLAY is such a unique and thematic MMORPG that I couldn’t help but get curious about it. I also loved the fact that it was created by a teenage girl with a normal life many people can relate to. Keira Johnson’s voice is equally strong and gentle. She is kind, patient, loving, smart … but not one to let disrespect slide. Continue reading

All-American Muslim Girl – Nadine Jolie Courtney

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All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: November 12th, 2019
Publisher: FSG
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Religion, Race, Family, Contemporary Romance, High School


REVIEW:

This book starts with a bang.

It’s a book that is impossible to ignore. Once you start it, that’s it. It has you. You won’t be able to put it down, and honestly, you won’t want to. It is a real page-turner and one of the most engaging YA stories about religion and race that I have ever read in my entire life. I don’t know what people are waiting for. It should get at least a thousand requests on NetGalley and ten times as many pre-orders. Continue reading

The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa

39508663The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Viking
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Japan, Animals (Cats), Road Trip, Friendship, Coming of Age


REVIEW:

This is the heart-opening story of Nana, a stray cat who finds a master, Satoru, to whom he grows close until Satoru cannot keep him anymore and the two of them travel in search of a new home, visiting friend after friend, reminiscing, making realizations and growing closer still. The more people Satoru and Nana visit, the more we understand about these two characters (especially their pasts and personalities) and many more. Continue reading

Where the Forest Meets the Stars – Glendy Vanderah

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Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Thomas Allen & Son
Published: March 1st, 2019
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Family, Contemporary, Romance


REVIEW:

This is the second most unique story I have read this year, behind Daisy Jones & The Six. There are other books worth mentioning, but somehow very few stories manage to surprise you continuously and unfold so elegantly and meaningfully. This book deserves to be studied by aspiring writers out there, that’s how worthy of our attention it is. Continue reading

Normal People – Sally Rooney

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: April 16th, 2019
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Literary Fiction, Romance, College, Coming of Age, Bullying, Popularity


REVIEW:

This book did not affect me in the same way it seems to have affected other people. It did not make me angry, or sad, and did not move me, really. That is because I never cared for Marianne or Connell. Sometimes I even hated them. Usually, I do. Usually, I care about the protagonists I read about, especially when they show their vulnerabilities to me. And I did enjoy reading about this on-and-off (almost) couple. Because they are so, so humanly flawed. But they are not exactly likeable. Continue reading

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: March 2019
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Recommended Age: 15+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Romance, Music, Realistic Fiction, Addiction, Family, Love/Hate Relationships


REVIEW:

This was pretty darn fascinating. I have never read anything like it before and that alone deserves praise from me because I don’t frequently find myself reading something I have no clue what other book to compare it with. I also have no clue how the author came up with such an original idea, which makes me really want to develop superpowers in order to read her mind. Just a little. Continue reading

The Perfect Couple – Elin Hilderbrand

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The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: June 19th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pacing: Fast
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary, Weddings, Drama, Family


BLURB:

It’s wedding season on Nantucket. The beautiful island is overrun with summer people–an annual source of aggravation for year-round residents. And that’s not the only tension brewing offshore. When one lavish wedding ends in disaster before it can even begin everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash digs into the best man, the maid of honor, the groom’s famous mystery novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, the chief discovers that every wedding is a minefield–and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from THE CASTAWAYS and A SUMMER AFFAIR, THE PERFECT COUPLE proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read. Continue reading

Darius the Great Is Not Okay – Adib Khorram

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 2018
Publisher: Dial Books
Pacing: Fast
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Mental Illness, Persian Culture, LGBTQIA+, Friendship, Depression


BLURB:

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything. Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline. Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own. Continue reading

Listen to Your Heart – Kasie West

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Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: Point
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Summer Reads, Contemporary Romance, Friendship


BLURB:

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible. But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder. Continue reading

Still Me (Me Before You, #3) – Jojo Moyes

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Still Me by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: January 30th, 2018
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Travel, New York, Friendship Dynamics, Family Relationships, Long Distance


BLURB:

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life. As she begins to mix in New York high society, Lou meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. Before long, Lou finds herself torn between Fifth Avenue where she works and the treasure-filled vintage clothing store where she actually feels at home. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself: Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places? Continue reading