Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

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5stars

I was going to live my life. I was going to spend time with people who cared about me and whom I cared about. I was going to be comfortable in my own skin even when some people wanted to make that impossible for me.

Title: Here to Stay
Author: Sara Farizan
Number of pages: 304 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: The writing style, how the feelings of the main character could be felt.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Important, frustrating, emotional, and funny! I didn’t get much of the sport’s terminology, but I still was on edge when they were playing.

PLOT —-
The story follows Bijan’s life in high school; he’s part of the basketball team, is shy and has a crush on a beautiful girl. People, based solely on ignorance and jealousy, feeling threaten by his newly found success in the team, start hating on him, photoshopping his face on a terrorist body. Just because of the colour of his skin. The book follows him during the days after the photo went viral at school, his feelings, the reality of things hitting him hard, and the eye-opening fact of what fear, however irrational, can do to people. It’s terrifying.

CHARACTERS —-
The characters were nicely written; you hated who you were supposed to hate, and cheer for the ones you were supposed to cheer on. There wasn’t the usual case of loving the antagonist. Here the antagonist is so hateful you can’t do anything but despise everything he is and everything he stands for.
I liked Bijan a lot. Trying to be strong, telling people he is okay when he’s everything but okay. Trying to be a high school boy, with a crush, with friends he trusts, playing a sport he loves. Trying to be a hero in his own story when the world wants to paint him as the bad guy.

“Your mom raised you to be an upstanding young chap, you’re smart, you’re tall, and you can put together a mean bowl of cereal. You’re a catch!”

THOUGHTS —-
I was furious. I’m always furious when I read about ignorant people making someone’s life a living hell because of their own ignorance, misinformation, and fake patriotism. Like they know generic stuff because they read a few article titles, so they feel entitled to hate, because they are right, they read it somewhere even if out of context. These people should disappear like poof, you racist you gone! You bigot you gone poof!!!

“Most people aren’t worth knowing, It’s the Age of the Asshole, man. It’s their time to shine. Doesn’t matter what race, religion, orientation, or gender. If you’re a jerk, the world is yours for the taking.”

CONCLUSION —-
The book is short, it’s easy to read and you’ll find yourself finishing it in just an afternoon. Its themes are important, but the book is not heavy or dark. It’s the reality of high schoolers who just happen not to be white, and the ignorant people that put all of them in the category of their choice. Until it’s still something that happens, books like this one, are going to be needed. And as mad as they make me feel, I will keep reading them and spreading the love.

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram ☆

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5starsplus

“You’re okay,” he murmured.
“No, I’m not.”
“I know.” He rubbed my back up and down. “It’s okay not to be okay.”

Title: Darius the Great Is Not Okay
Author: Adib Khorram
Number of pages: 320 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: I loved how calm and sweet this was, so very real!
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I can’t recommend it enough.
Rate: 5+++/5 (it’s a favourite!)

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I have never read a more relatable character than Darius. I loved this book with all my little heart. Feelings are overflowing. This is not an excessively sad book, it has sad parts but it’s a hopeful journey, and we get to see it through a very sweet boy’s eyes.

This story filled my heart with a bittersweet joy. I’m so glad I’ve read it. I’m happy, a sort of calm and quiet happiness.

I loved the quiet. Even if it sometimes made me think of sad things. Like whether anyone would miss me if I was dead.

Darius is bullied at school and it made me furious, not only because of the bullies but because of his dad telling him that if he was just more normal he wouldn’t have these kinds of problems. What kind of father tells that to a son? To a bullied son? To a bullied son who has also depression? He has a lot on his plate and he’s trying his best, he doesn’t need a father not being on his side.

Normally, I was thrilled to get pizza – it was pretty much the best dietary indiscretion ever – but I could feel Dad watching me at every bite, flaring his nostrils.

His dad infuriated me because he is exactly like my mother. Ever since I remember my mom has been obsessed with weight. I’m overweight, I have been this way, more or less, since I got my period at 9 years old. Pretty early, I know. Ever since that day I started getting curves and everything I ate stayed there with me. I have been thinner in the past, but it didn’t last, surely because I’m not supposed to be that way. I’m happy with how I am. I do care about my health and take care of myself, but this is my shape and people shouldn’t see that as bad or wrong.

Darius gained weight because of his medication, he really doesn’t have a problem with it. He has a problem with his father having a problem with it. Take that and add that he is going to Iran, her mother’s birth place, for the first time to meet his grandparents and relatives. Everything is overwhelming and different. Luckily, he meets Sohrab, a friend of his grandparents and they immediately click. They are destined to be friends. Great friends!

I liked that I could be silent with Sohrab.
That’s how I knew we really were going to be friends.

I love Darius and Sohrab together; they don’t get along all the time, they had a rough first outing together, but the nice thing about friends is that they can forgive you. Darius really needed someone like Sohrab, and I’m happy he got to meet him and bond with him. It helped him a lot. The subtlety of the LGBT theme was just right; I wasn’t disappointed it wasn’t more present, more told on page, because that’s just another way Darius was dealing with everything that’s been going on in his life. I liked how he just wasn’t ready to tell anyone, not even us, the readers.

Darius’ story was one of growth, family, friendship and understanding that is okay not be okay, but trying their best every single day. I loved this book, the way it built slowly, telling different stories that came together in the end. I loved it. I hope there are more books like this one out there, because as I needed this one, other people might need them in the future. I recommend it with all my heart.

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Single Malt by Layla Reyne

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4stars

Title: Single Malt
Author: Layla Reyne
Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey #1

Number of pages: 194 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: I just like a good crime book, and this is good.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Leaving the fact that it was hot as hell, also heartbreaking as hell, everything as hell, the action in this book was excellent!! The mysteries, the investigations, the twists, you don’t know who is involved in crimes until it may be too late!

I enjoyed it a lot. Like a crime show episode with a sort of cliffhanger ending. What is going to happen now??? Who knows! I sense pains of the heart but also a happy ending that I know I’m going to get because I read the synopsis of the last book of the series. So even if I’m going to suffer I know it’ll be worth it.

Aidan “Irish” Talley lost his husband and his FBI partner in a car accident 8 months ago; he is grieving, which is understandable, he feels guilty, and is stuck in this loop when he needs to start thinking about moving on. Because moving on doesn’t mean forgetting people who we loved but lost too soon, is getting a grip on our lives because we deserve living and being happy. Aidan isn’t at that point yet, even if he shows a lot of interested in his new partner, a lot of interest!

Here comes Jameson “Whiskey” Walker, tall and beautiful with a smile that gets him everything he wants. He has wanted Aidan for three years, but he was happily taken; now he gets to partner with him and maybe finally get a chance at taking things to a more pleasant level. But Aidan doesn’t seem ready to let go of his late husband, and Jamie is crushing harder and harder. Things are going to get difficult.

The case is super interesting; a facility storing very dangerous pathogens has been hacked and our agents need to stop further attacks to avoid a bioterrorist attack. But, as usual, things aren’t as they seem: possible moles, danger, accidents that aren’t accidents, the agents being domestic cuties, and a lot of not so subtle flirting. Aidan, though, is still afraid, but we see a different side of him and it’s both heartwrenching and hopeful.

I’ll read the sequel as soon as I can. I already miss Jamie; he worked his magic on me, too. And Aidan isn’t bad, either. On the contrary, those two are going to get a lot of love from me, I know that!

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Cloaked in Shadow by Ben Alderson

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3stars

Title: Cloaked in Shadow
Author: Ben Alderson
Series: The Dragori #1

Number of pages: 350 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Elves with magic and shapeshifting abilities!
Bad things about this book: There were a lot of grammar errors.
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s a nice story!

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I’m unsure. While I liked it, and enjoyed it, I felt that something was amiss. I’ll give this book 3.5 stars, a good rating, for a book full of potential, with a main character that was a tad melodramatic and emo, an ex that was forced to play a role that I felt unnecessary, and a prince that was sweet and adorable (Hadrian has flaws but he is a cutie).

Some scenes felt a bit random, like wth is going on, why is Zacriah acting like a child? He was at times annoying, I could picture him in my head whining. The ex-boyfriend thing still bothers me: it just didn’t make any sense and it ruined a nice situation with a pointless scene played by our drama queen Zac!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, even with the many grammar errors I found (then instead of than, lots of your instead of you’re and more), and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen to Hadrian and the ever so theatrical Zac!

Things left unexplained that I hope are going to be explained in the next two books, because, yes, this is a trilogy and it sounds promising. I have the second book ready, but I never binge read a series; it will have to wait. I just hope the boys are going to be okay in the end, and I hope that Zac will start acting less childish and get a grip! Things are more difficult now and he is needed!

Elves, shapeshifters, druids, magic, there’s a little bit of everything and I will be there to see how the story unfolds, no matter what. The cover made me read the book, it’s beautiful, and the story made me stay. I’ll be here until the end, fingers crossed it’s not going to be the end of the happiness the boys clearly deserve!

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Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee

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5stars

Title: Not Your Villain
Author: C.B. Lee
Series: Sidekick Squad #2

Number of pages: 307 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved reading the story through Bells’ eyes.
Bad things about this book: It left me wanting for more and now I have to wait.
Do I recommend it? Yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I love Bells and I loved him as a narrator. Maybe this book had less action than the first, but it had more details about meta-humans. The bad guys weren’t in this as much as I would’ve liked, I guess they’re going to be all together for the grand finale?? I sure hope so! I want to see our heroes kick some corrupted meta-humans’ butts.

I liked how the first chapters took place during some events of the previous book, and we could see some scenes from Bell’s point of view. From book 1 I already knew Bells was a good friend, even if he was keeping a pretty big secret, he was crushing on Emma, he was a caring son, a boy everyone seemed to love and want a piece of. This book confirmed everything I knew and introduced me to a whole new part of Bells; he is emotional, respectful, is scared but it doesn’t mean he’ll give up. He keeps going, for his friends, for his family, for his fellow meta-humans, for the world. He wants to be a hero even if now the world thinks of him as the most wanted villain in the country.

Bells is strong, but how strong? He has a lot of stamina, but just how much? We’ll find out so much about Bells in this book and I loved every second of it. He is a fragile thing, putting on a smile even if he’s hurting inside. I think he is the bravest of them all.

In Not Your Sidekick we got a glimpse of Jess’ genius younger brother, and in Not Your Villain he is part of the action. He is a delight. Sassy and shy at the same time. He has a crush on Bells and that’s just the cutest thing ever: how he acts around Bells is adorable. I hope we get to see more of him in the third book: he deserves a book for himself after the book from Emma’s pov. Will he get it? I have my doubts, but I’ll love to read something from his pov, even if it’s a short story.

Captain Orion is kidnapping meta-humans, the Collective is keeping everything under wraps, the League is not easily trusted anymore, and defense robots (more like killer robots) will make getting to the bottom of the corruption situation a lot harder that I thought. With all of that going on, and personal feelings getting in the way, Bells will have one hell of an adventure. I’ll miss him as a narrator a lot, I love reading about his emotions and everything that went on in his head.

The third book can’t come soon enough. I’m already very impatient!!

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Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

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5stars

“Everything about us was entirely normal, really. We were as ordinary as anything we might come across in this world.”

Title: Wonders of the Invisible World
Author: Christopher Barzak
Number of pages: 352 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s written in a very magical way. I loved everything about it.
Bad things about this book: I feel that this is a kind of narration that can be hard to get into.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I’ll give it a chance if I were you.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As I thought from the blurb and from the first chapters, I really liked this book and how the story unfolded, circled back, flashed forward, backwards or whatever. It has that touch of magical realism, spells, curses, a world beyond the world, harbingers of death, mysteries, everything that I love. Peculiar and magical with a love story as sweet as honey, the perfect combo!

It was pretty weird and sometimes it could be hard to follow with all the dreams sequences and memories, but I found it fascinating, so I focused really hard and enjoyed the ride. Aidan is such a sweet boy, trying his best to remember what’s been forgotten, while experiencing feelings he thinks he is supposed to find wrong but instead come to him as easily as breathing and seeing the invisible world.

“Here they were, the people we were becoming, about to knock on our front door, hoping they could undo the mistakes we were making at that very moment.”

Jarrod is one hell of a supporting character; he supports Aidan in all his crazy life with such sincerity and love, just because he cares and wants to be with this sweet boy who sees what other people can’t. Aidan’s mother was a bit of a pain in the butt with all her evasiveness and half sentences, but Jarrod comes to the rescue every single time, and he stole, not only Aidan’s heart, but also mine.

I get sad when I see a low rating of a book I’ve loved, but I understand where they come from; this is the kind of book that you love or don’t understand its meaning or purpose. It’s weird and full of details many may find boring and unnecessary. But if you come to understand it, you’ll see how truly marvelous and magical this story is and you’ll love it. That’s what happened to me, and I hope it happens to many other readers who’ll decide to give this book a chance.

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Finders Keepers by N.R. Walker

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5stars

“But if we could say what we meant without the dillydallying, we’d get to the good parts so much quicker.”

Title: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author: Lauren James
Number of pages: 220 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: It’s adorable, with sweet characters, a lovely romance, a cute dog, and one of the most wonderful endings ever.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This was so cute and adorable. I was afraid we were going to get drama but there wasn’t any. There were just two people slowly falling in love, getting to know each other, spending time together, all of this thanks to a runaway dog who looks like an Ewok.

Griffin was just so lovable from the beginning. Sweet, a little shy, a little bossy, and really good at his job. Dane is just as sweet, he is good at his job and he loves his dog with all his gorgeous heart. Fate made Wicket, the ewok dog, find Griffin when he escaped from Dane’s parents’ house. Wicket is a marvelous dog, and he just did the most wonderful thing for his dad! Sometimes it takes a dog to start one of the most romantic love stories I’ve ever read.

“All I learned today was that my dog is having the time of his life with the man of my dreams, and I’m stuck here with you guys.”

Griffin and Dane liked each other instantly, but it wasn’t really instalove. They started texting, then calling each other, then when they finally meet they understand that what they have might be start of something real and important for both of them. The way they talked, the way drama wasn’t part of the equation because sometimes thing can be simple, made my heart grow a few sizes, and made me wear a big smile from beginning to end.

The side characters were just as lovely, no antagonists who were put there to disrupt their relationship. We had Griffin’s landlady, Bernice, who’s like a firecracker on drugs. I haven’t found a lady this funny in a very long time. Then there’s K, Bernice’s boyfriend or something like that. They are a power couple. As much as the two main guys, these two also had an important part in the story and I loved how nothing was done to put some drama into the mix. This book was just perfect the way it is.

I loved this book and it was what I needed when I went looking for a light, fun, and romantic book to put me in a right mood for harder books. Highly recommended!

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