[ARC] The Thing About Alice by Jean-Luke Swanepoel

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3stars

Title: Aurora Burning
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release date: May 5th 2020
Number of pages: 512 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: I think it conveys the hardness and hopefulness of life pretty well!
Bad things about this book: It’s very peculiar and I don’t think I understand it.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

I don’t think I understood what the book wanted to tell me. The writing was a bit hard to follow but I synchronised with it. Then the time jumps started and I got confused. I didn’t understand what was going on, who was who. And the last chapter is where the book lost me.

The story follows Alice, an old woman living with her husband, who knows everything about everyone and feels abandoned when her friends and neighbours start moving on and away. Each chapter focuses on a character important to Alice: it’s often raw, intense, you can’t catch a break, it’s rushed, things happen without you noticing.

I don’t know if I was supposed to feel like Alice, lost and having reality getting away from me, or it was just me who didn’t get what all of this was about. Nonetheless it was a very peculiar novella, one that left me wanting for so many information I didn’t get but wanted to know. I wasn’t expecting what I got, but the book has something that can’t be denied; life, crude life, with all it throws your way.

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[ARC] The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

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4stars

Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Release date: May 12th 2020
Number of pages: 400 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s diverse and own voices.
Bad things about this book: The main character wasn’t always likable.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3.75/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

*ARC from NetGalley*

This is a diverse queer contemporary story about a Bengali girl living in Dublin, coming out, having a crush, navigating school while bullied by bigoted homophobes and racists. There’s a lot about family, her sister is very important to her and to the story. Nishat, the mc, doesn’t make the wisest decisions most times, and doesn’t speak her mind much since “it wouldn’t change anything”. The frustration was real. So, while I was angry at her for the miscommunication, I kind of understood why she chose not to say anything, but how can you know if something can make a difference if you don’t do anything?

The writing style was easy to get into, and all the info about the Bengali culture and food really made me see everything that makes it beautiful and fascinating. I must be honest, I don’t think I really know where is Bangladesh, but now I feel like a know a bit more about the culture. I love learning something new while enjoying a nice book. Mixing both things is perfect!

The love story might sound like the dreaded trope of instalove. It’s more of an instacrush and then we have a really slowburn kind of love story. It was a bit frustrating because it’s the first crush, all encompassing, and Nishat didn’t manage it very well. I admit to have been quite angry at her for most of the book, but the last chapters made up for all the anger and shakes of head. It was pretty cute in the end. The sum of all the parts of the book make it good! It was like a journey inside Nishat’s head with all the doubts, the sadness, the anger, the hopelessness.

This is a book I would certainly recommend to everyone.

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Martin McLean, Middle School Queen by Alyssa Zaczek

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4stars

Title: Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
Author: Alyssa Zaczek
Number of pages: 272 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It was very cute and positive.
Bad things about this book: The mc could be a little annoying but he was 12 so it was fitting.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

At first I was skeptic because I realized the book wasn’t own voices and it had an irish cuban boy questioning his sexuality as a main character. Can this author tell this story? It was enjoyable and I was happy to read in the acknowledgments how many different people helped her built this book.

I’ve been to a few drag shows and I’ve been present when the magic, the transformation, happened. And it’s truly magical. Drag queens are fierce and you feel it just being in the same room with them. I loved how our young mc found his calling after a show.

There were tons of mentions of delicious food I too eat since I’m Ecuadorian, but not so often since I live in Italy and italian food is much faster to cook, and my mom thinks ecuadorian food is really fat. Which it is, but that’s one of the reasons it’s delicious!! The random spanish in the conversation can be off putting but I realized that’s exactly how my parents talk. It felt like home.

So, I say you give this little book a chance even if you had your doubts. It can be a pleasant surprise. I will still try, as always, to support own voices. There are just so many books to read, I need more time!!

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Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale

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5stars

Title: Take Nothing With You
Author: Patrick Gale
Number of pages: 320 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: This was such a sweet story, so well written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing! I loved everything.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s worth it.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This book was a journey, an immense journey. It’s not about first loves, it’s not about that romance that blinds you. This is a book, a sort of quiet and calm book, about a man going into treatment for cancer, having to be isolated for two days, and reminiscing about his life. The first time he realized he was interested in boys, his love for music and the cello, his friend and school, his family, his life after college, his first big love who left him too soon, his heart healing, second chances, disappointments, anger, hope, living his life. I loved how the author decided to end the book. It was just so fitting the rest of the story’s pace. I loved it.

It’s the journal of Eustace. And it was incredibly touching and personal, just like a journal usually is. It infused me with all the feelings in a sort of zen garden way. I don’t know how to explain it. I guess you should just read it and see for yourself.

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Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

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4stars

Title: Her Royal Highness
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Royals #2
Number of pages: 274 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Scotland, private school, royals, tartan!!
Bad things about this book: I wanted at least one more chapter, just one more!
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s really cute.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This was a really cute book, without much drama. A quiet and sweet book set in Scotland with royals, friendships, romance, and rocks! Millie likes rocks and I love that she likes rocks because rocks…rock! I’m not sorry for that.

The not really enemies to lovers trope was perfectly adorable! I loved Flora’s character!! I thought she was going to be the mean girl, bully, but she wasn’t and I was pleasantly surprised!

It was really nice that there weren’t really bad girls in the school, and that Millie found real friends within the first minutes she got there. Going to a whole different country to finish school must be hard, but it also sounds like a very amazing adventure!

There wasn’t enough kilt talk for my taste since this was a book set in Scotland but I pictured them in my head so it’s okay! Everyone was wearing a kilt, and that’s my headcanon for the book!

I would never want to be a royal, though. It sounds like a pain in the royal buttocks!

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How to Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters

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5stars

“We have no control over what labels others give us, but we can define who we are by the ones we choose to give ourselves.”

Title: How to Be Remy Cameron
Author: Julian Winters
Number of pages: 340 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: The characters are really sweet and the book deals with important issues.
Bad things about this book: It was nice just the way it was.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

So cute and adorable, it explores important topics while staying fluffy and unputdownable.

Remy is drowning in labels and in feelings, and he’s in high school. How much harder can it get? He wants to feel comfortable in his skin, to accept and to be accepted. He is surrounded by a tight group of supporting friends and his family is just adorable and loving.

Remy has to write an essay about who he is and this is messing with his head. Badly. Because who is he really? How can he write something so deep when he doesn’t know the answer? It’s so hard putting into words things like that, like when someone asks you for your favorite book or movie, and there’s just a blank canvas inside your head.

Remy has a lot going on; an ex that broke his heart is one of those, and feelings for another boy when he has decided dating was off the table for a while. And college! I really can’t relate to all the stressing for college in the US. It puts so much stress on teenagers when everything is already pretty stressing.

I loved the friendships and I really loved all the scenes involving his family; how they told him he was adopted (the whole story when they got to meet him was so sweet), how opened they were when Remy came out to them, how they are just great with both him and his little sister.

This might be a very short book but it wasn’t rushed, everything happened slowly but steady, and it felt refreshing and just plain nice. I recommend it!

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[ARC] When Life Gives You Lemons by Fiona Gibson

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3stars

Title: When Life Gives You Lemons
Author: Fiona Gibson
Release date: March 17th 2020
Number of pages: 384 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It is hopeful.
Bad things about this book: It was a little slow and maybe a bit too long.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Cute. Maybe a bit slow the first half, but it was pretty sweet after that. I liked Viv, and her friends, her daughter and her cooking show, the evil kid neighbour. A nice story about getting yourself up again, stronger.

I don’t usually read books with mc a lot older than me. It’s about not relating a lot to them, maybe it’s just because I really hadn’t given these books a chance. I know I’m not going through menopause and I don’t have kids, but it was nice seeing this strong woman being fragile but at the same time doing something to be her best self, for her and her daughter.

Marriages can end, but you are still you, you have to move on and change your life as you knew it. It must be super hard, and Viv, even with the down moments, the menopausal symptoms, started living her life for the first time in first person: not as someone’s wife in charge of accommodating a fragile male ego, and being extra patient with a husband that was really awful to her.

People change, and I liked how this journey was portrayed here. The hope, the positivity, it was great.

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[ARC] Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

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4stars

Title: Yes No Maybe So
Author: Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed
Release date: February 4th 2020
Number of pages: 448 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: A lot of diversity.
Bad things about this book: Too much politics for my personal taste.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC given by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

With everything going on in the world, this feels important. It’s just about a tiny part of the whole world, super tiny, but it tells you so much about what’s happening and the frustration, the anger. Both the mcs were plenty likeable and adorable. There was a bit too much politics but they got me involved in the narrative and dynamics. I didn’t understand much, though.

I’m a not jewish nor muslim, and I’m ashamed to say I don’t much about either, but I love how tv shows and books educate me and show me more and more. It puts you in their shoes for a bit, showing you the good and the bad parts.

People are so infuriating. They hate for the sake of it, being ignorant and just plain blind about why they’re hating. They just do. And it’s terrifying because they feel entitled to hate, like it’s their right to be physically and mentally violent towards someone. That’s not what this is about. It’s so frustrating it’s making me furious!!

As much as the political theme played a very wide and important part in this book, it’s the friendship between Maya and Jamie that wins it all. Love it.

Important, diverse, with queer rep, friendship, family matters. It has a bit of it all. I really enjoyed it.

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[ARC] We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar

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5stars

And it isn’t like I’m really in the closet. But it isn’t as if I’m all the way out either; it’s more like I’m standing in the doorway.

Title: We Are Lost and Found
Author: Helene Dunbar
Release date: September 3rd 2019
Number of pages: 304 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Honest and important. Relatable characters.
Bad things about this book: Not bad but it took a me a bit to get used to how the dialogues were written.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC given by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This book is so important and showed us a young boy’s pov of the beginning of the AIDS pandemic in NYC in the 80’s. I loved Michael’s voice; wanting to be free but feeling guilty because he didn’t want to put life as he knew it in jeopardy. And how he couldn’t love as he wanted because he didn’t wanted to die of AIDS like so many people were. So many. Those numbers. The government’s silence. The press’ choice not to talk about it. People letting fear cloud their judgement.

But I don’t have a story, I respond. Everyone has a story, Michael. Maybe you just don’t know the plot of yours yet.

I loved all the characters. Micheal and his desire to be himself in a world who sees him as a monster who deserves to die, giving himself to the music and his friends. James and his fear, living as best as he could with what he had. Becky being an adult when she should’ve been a kid enjoying her last years of school. Connor and his life after he publicly came out to the world resulting in him being kicked out of his house, his safety. Gabriel and a life working to have a better life with his family.

I truly found this book honest and important. Everyone should read this.

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[ARC] Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

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3stars

Staying awake with your thoughts while the rest of the world slept was a nightmare in reverse.

Title: Wranglestone
Author: Darren Charlton
Release date: February 6th 2020
Number of pages: 384 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Full of potential and really creepy zombie scenes.
Bad things about this book: Some parts dragged a little then some others were too rushed.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 3.5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC given by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I couldn’t put it down. It was really interesting and had a lot of themes I like to read in books. Nevertheless, it had parts in which the inner monologues of the main character Peter dragged the story, and parts where more info and insight were needed, felt a lot rushed. Things happened real fast when a little explanation would’ve been great.

The premises was promising. A dystopian world full of zombies and a community trained to survive the walking dead. As I said, it was pretty interesting. Sadly it felt short in a few parts with the rushing of things and some other stuff just there pretty out of the blue. Again, an explanation would’ve been useful.

“Star Wars?” Peter shrugged. “OK. And what’s that about?” “It’s about a brother and a sister and their evil pa who’s up to no good.

Peter and Cooper were really adorable when they weren’t whiny which luckily didn’t happen often. I loved how Peter was all for good grammar, sewing, making pillows, and just having a tidy and clean house. Everyone needs a Peter in their lives. And if you’re a Peter, you’re amazing!!

There were things I didn’t see coming and revelations that I didn’t guess, which made me like the book a lot. I like coming up with theories when reading. Makes me feel like a very amateur Sherlock. Alas, I fail at my deductions most times.

Fast read, finished in a few hours, easy to read, fluent storyline even with its flaws. I sure will recommend it to fans of zombies when it’s release day!

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