[ARC] The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

thehennawars

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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[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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The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

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5stars

Your beauty is not a tax you are required to pay to take up space in this world.

Title: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Montague Siblings #2
Number of pages: 450 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Very funny and clever with wonderful characters.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

It’s a queer thing, to have a vacant space inside you and not know what it is that carved out the absence.

PLOT —
A treasure hunt! I was looking for the perfect description for this book and that’s what came to mind, and it fits perfectly. Felicity sets off for a very peculiar adventure from Edinburgh and ends up somewhere mysterious. Felicity has a mission: she will get to medical school and become a doctor. But the men keep denying her that possibility even if she may be even more capable than most of them put together if given the chance. Men are absurd thinking she couldn’t do the same things they did just because they thought women were weaker. Weak where? Don’t make me laugh!

It is not a failure to readjust my sails to fit the waters I find myself in. It’s a new heading. A fresh start.

CHARACTERS —
Felicity is a sweet and ferocious girl and I love her with all my heart! She surrounds herself with a couple of very interesting girls. One from her past and one from her present, each of them with secrets and goals in mind that’ll somehow bring Felicity on this dangerous journey of discovery. I love those girls so much!! All of them are so special!! I was so happy to see Monty and Percy again even if it wasn’t for many pages. They are so ridiculously and adorably in love, it gave me goose bumps and I smiled a lot.

“Prickly?” I say. “I’m not prickly.”
“Felicity Montague, you are a cactus.”
“Debatable.”

THOUGHTS —
It was infuriating reading about how women were treated not long ago. It’s so actual, maybe not the same, but this superiority complex of men has to stop. It has expired, and it shouldn’t exist anymore. I’m truly sick of it: sick of all the mansplaining, the condescending smiles, the little derision laughs, the way men make us feel. I loved how Felicity challenged this injustice and made everything she could to change the unjust situation.

I have spent so long building up my fortress and learning to tend it alone, because if I didn’t feel I needed anyone, then I wouldn’t miss them if they weren’t there.

CONCLUSION —
Loved the story, loved the characters, and love the ending. I was ready to kick some butt and was glad to see it done by the amazing ladies in this book. If Mackenzie wants to give us one more book with the Montague siblings I’ll accept it with open arms, open heart, and with lots of fangirling.

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[ARC] The Academy by Quinn Anderson

the academy

3stars

Earlier, when the party was in full swing, I looked around and thought to myself that something was missing. From the party. From my apartment. From my life. I couldn’t figure out what it was. But now, as I lay here, I think I finally know. It’s you.

Title: The Academy
Author: Quinn Anderson
Release date: September 17th 2018
Good things about this book: The characters are really nice and the feelings super sweet.
Bad things about this book: It could’ve been shorter, imo.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s a sweet love story.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT —
It dragged a little with the inner monologues and the Academy, the college they were in, and the title of this book, was soon forgotten. I would have loved to see more things happening in the Academy, but it was still nice to experience the college life through Nick’s eyes.

CHARACTERS —
Nick was a bit too overdramatic. Everything was this big guilt trip for him and also for Sebastian. Everything. They couldn’t enjoy anything with pages and pages of inner monologues why they shouldn’t be enjoying said thing. I wanted to slap some sense into both of them. There were really cute scenes, though. Some borderline cheesy as hell. I love those. Sebastian is a cutie!

THOUGHTS —
I liked the idea of a playboy finding real love for the first time and leaving his playboy days behind. It’s one of the many tropes I love, so I was completely okay with how the story unfolded. It had its ups and downs, being a little slow, but in the end, it was a cute and sweet story. And we had a couple of steamy scenes and wow, I liked those a lot.

CONCLUSION —
I liked the ending, the epilogue was really nice and all the on-page characters, mains and sides, were all interesting. I will certainly keep reading books by this author. They are both romantic and emotional.

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I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

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5stars

“Everyone’s normal, everyone’s weird, everyone’s just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something what’ll keep them going.”

Title: I Was Born For This
Author: Alice Oseman
Number of pages: 395 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Well portrayed mental health problems and tons of diversity and queer representation!
Bad things about this book: It gave me anxiety but that’s normal so it’s okay.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.

It was almost 2 am when I finished this book, and I had work the next day. I read for HOURS, non-stop. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know how it was going to end. I couldn’t leave these characters mid-journey. How could I? Each of them had something of me in them and they got me feeling shaken yet seen. Here. Understood. Overwhelmed. This was not an easy book to read, and I loved it for it. For its hard and true themes.

Angel is a super fan of a boy band called The Ark. She is spending a week with one of her best internet friends, Juliet, and they’re going to go to The Ark’s meet and greet and concert. This is going to be an amazing week for both girls. Wrong, of course, since nothing really is as easy as it’s supposed to be. Jimmy is one of the three members of The Ark and he has mental health problems he can’t deal with and keep at bay because he doesn’t have time for therapy sessions. The band is gaining a lot of fame and they are always on tour, or doing interviews, or in music shows. They don’t have a normal like anymore and it’s taking a toll in Jimmy’s brain. It’s bad. I really can’t imagine how it is to be someone so famous you can’t go outside, you get mobbed by crazy fans, you can’t trust anyone. It’s horrible.

I felt more for Jimmy than for Angel because a lot of his problems also were mine. They’re not as bad and I can deal with them by myself, for now, but I could relate to his anxiety and paranoia like I haven’t been able to do with any other character in the past. I, too, am afraid of being killed or dying and in my mind I have imagined every single scenario, trying to see unsuccessfully a way out. They always end badly. I’m on edge when I walk, when I’m in a car, when I take the train, the plane, etc. Everything triggers me a death vision. I have to live with it and because of that I think I know a little how hard it was for Jimmy. He needed professional help and he needed it as soon as possible.

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a romance novel. I was wrong and I was glad I was wrong because it was really perfect the way it was. The themes it touched were both important and difficult, and I liked how they were portrayed. I recognized myself in his struggles, and, as I do when I can’t deal with what I’m facing, I focused real hard to give him the strength he needed to get through an attack. I cared deeply about his wellbeing and I couldn’t put down the book until I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. I knew things weren’t going to just disappear, he was not going to be suddenly okay, cured, but I wanted to see if he was going to find his balance and face the challenges the world was throwing at him.

Loved the diversity. A Muslim girl who was probably queer, a half Indian half Italian gay trans boy, a bisexual guy, a black guy, and a half Chinese girl. I’m a Latina woman living in Italy; I never see myself represented, my situation is not usually at the base of any book, but I settle with as much diversity as I can get. In my little town I look around and see 98% of the same kind of people and my eyes glow when I see someone different. Imagine if I lived in London and see around me so many different faces each one of them with a different and probably interesting story to tell. My story is boring as hell, but I like to imagine all the other not Italian people around me, has an incredible story worth listening to.

I keep thinking about the last chapter of the book and I keep smiling. It’s the perfect ending for this kind of story. I couldn’t have asked for a better closing chapter. Full of hope. And hope is exactly what we all needed.

I’m taking a break from books for a couple of days because I have read so much in just two days and my brain feels like it’s collapsing. But I’m extremely happy that my last book before this much needed break was this one. I recommend it to everyone.

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