Summertime review extravaganza

Stack of books that are reviewed next to a cat

It’s been a minute and a half since I’ve put out a review, but now I have not one, not two, but ELEVEN mini reviews for you! I hope everyone’s been having a great summer – mine’s been pretty lazy and hazy, to be honest – and I can’t believe it’s already only a couple weeks until September. So if you’re looking for some reads to finish off your summertime with, I’ve got plenty of recommendations, starting with some of my favourite reads of the year!

Normal People by Sally Rooney on an outdoor patio table

Normal People by Sally Rooney
This is one of the books I’ve enjoyed the most this year, and yet it’s the one I have the hardest time talking about. I flew through it in a haze, entranced by the awkward relationship between Marianne and Connell told in this matter-of-fact yet wistful language. The book follows the pair from their senior year in high school through university. Marianne was the weird one in high school while Connell was the popular jock, but in university their statuses flip, which they never fully recover from. I was emotional while reading this, at times rooting for them and at others wishing they would just say goodbye already. At first I resisted the style of dialogue without quotations (it’s still not my favourite, I find it pretentious) but it grew on me enough to let it go. Reading Normal People feels like you are getting the juicy inside gossip about a couple in your social circle without being involved.

“He feels like the fear has consumed him and turned him into something else now, like he has passed through the fear, and looking at her is like swimming toward her across a strip of water. He picks up the cigarette packet and looks into it. His teeth start chattering and he puts a cigarette on his lower lip and lights it. Marianne is the only one who ever triggers these feelings in him, the strange dissociative feeling, like he’s drowning and time doesn’t exist properly anymore.”

Internment by Samira Ahmed sitting next to a fence

Internment by Samira Ahmed
I wish this book reached the same levels of cultural hype as The Hate U Give did. It is epic, powerful, and too easy to imagine that it’s real. Layla and her family are taken to an Internment camp in the U.S. for being Muslim under Trump’s government. You’re there with her when they’re taken from their home at night. You’re there when they spend days not knowing where they are going or what is happening. You’re there when they’re dropped into the desert and expected to eschew their humanity. You’re there when Layla finds new allies and enemies. You’re there when Layla’s spirit ignites and erupts. This book… you just need to read it. Right now. It is absolutely terrifying.

“The government–the Exclusion Authority–built all of this, this whole camp, under the cover of darkness. I wonder what else they’ve built. What else can they do to us when America isn’t looking?”

Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston next to a mini mailbox on a desk

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
My god, I love this book more and more as time goes on since I’ve read it. That is a huge mark of a good book for me. I also can’t look at a tabloid the same way ever again. The First Son of the United States falls in love with a Prince of England? Oh my god. It is everything you’d hope it would be. It is worth the hype. It is funny, sensitive, exploratory, and inclusive. It is the imagination of a better world, but it’s still not perfect. The characters are so loveable you will miss them when you’re done reading it. I am not a praying girl but if that would help get the movie option (!!!) made fast, I’ll do it. It starts as a hate-to-love – the FSOTUS Alex and Prince Henry have butted heads until a clumsy accident lands them in the tabloids and they need to do damage control. But soon they see each other for who they really are and sparks fly. And it just gets better and better. The writing is so fun (there’s even a Twitter account just of quotes from the book), the message is pure love, and really this book is something to be celebrated. You must go get it right this instant!

“You and me and history, remember? We’re just gonna fucking fight. Because you’re it, okay? I’m never gonna love anybody in the world like I love you. So, I promise you, one day we’ll be able to just be, and fuck everyone else.”

How to Make Friends With the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow
Wow, what a moving portrayal of grief and hitting rock bottom. I still haven’t read Girl in Pieces but I knew that I’d be in for an emotional wallop with this one. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Fighting to keep the heat on and food in the cupboards, but still so happy to just be together. But on the day that Tiger ends up yelling at her mom for pushing her buttons too far, Tiger’s mom dies. Tiger’s left with nothing. Property of the state. Bounced around foster homes until she finds out she has a sister, who isn’t the most reliable either. This book will break you apart and put you back together again. It was a kind of story I hadn’t read yet and am so glad I did.

Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins
This is one of the more unique reads I’ve had this year! Mitali crafted a gorgeous story about finding the power in ourselves. Katina King, a jiujitsu champion, has just moved to Boston, searching for anonymity and closure after she was sexually assaulted at her high school. Robin Thornton knows he was adopted from an orphanage in India, but without knowing anything else about his past, he’s concerned about how to look towards the future. The two meet in an after-school church group, but don’t start to become close until they go on a trip to India to help victims of human trafficking. While the topics are intense, Mitali handles them with care through her beautiful writing. While sometimes the story focuses on the two becoming friends, it is really about them coming to terms with their lives and figuring out what they want to do with the power that they’ve had all along, which was smart and necessary. I could have done without the church stuff (especially as it was soon after I accidentally read a Christian novel) but it wasn’t preachy, and I could accept it for what it was. I still highly recommend this!

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali next to coloured pencils on a flat lay

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
Sure, I was hooked in when I saw there was a book with this title that actually involved a stationery shop and a love story. Done! But I will warn you … that was total bait. I still have an issue with the title of this book being what it is, and it goes alongside my growing annoyance at bookshop book bait, but that discussion is for another day. I still read a book with lovely writing about a story I might not normally hear. The Stationery Shop is actually about Roya as she goes through life, wondering what if. Roya was introduced to Bahman at a local stationery shop (it also sells books!) by its owner in Tehran in 1953, during the political upheaval. Roya was a teenager, a good student, who just liked to appreciate fine things. Bahman was a teenage activist. The two fall in love during their courtship that starts in the shop, and are engaged. But one day Bahman and his family disappears. The Stationery Shop shows us what came after for Roya all the way through her life until she finally sees Bahman again in their old age. It’s a heartbreaking story and it illuminated a time and place I didn’t know anything about. I think as long as you know, my beautiful stationery lover friends, that it’s not actually about stationery, you will appreciate the story for what it is.

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta
Twelve short stories put together a novel about a girl named Kara Davis as she grows up caught in between her Canadian nationality and her Jamaican heritage. It takes place in Toronto, actually some parts even near where I live, so that was the first thing to hook me. I could see the story playing out on my street, y’know? We go from Kara telling a lie on the playground about finding a pig’s head in a freezer in Jamaica to being in junior high as she’s the victim of an awful prank by her schoolmates, to being a teenager stuck between her mother and grandmother, or her grandmother and grandfather, as they wage ongoing battles. I wanted a bit more personality from Kara throughout, sometimes she felt a little too quiet for me, but I think that spoke to what she was going through. This novel felt incredibly real and represents a lot of stories for first- and second-generation Canadians, and it was important for me to read something that showed the experience for Black people in the city I live in. I look forward to reading more from Zalika.

With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Emoni escapes her life when she’s cooking. And then her cooking brings life to those who eat it. Emoni is a teen mom of a toddler, trying to figure out if she can go to college or not. She’s not on the best terms with her daughter’s father, and she has to help support her abuela. And on top of all that, she gets to join a cooking class at school but finds it’s not everything she hoped it would be, and she’s starting to have feelings for a cute new guy. And then there’s the upcoming class trip to Spain that she doesn’t think she could afford to go on. Emoni channels her stress into delicious dishes that spark joyous memories for anyone who gets to eat it, but she never gets those moments. I liked reading about Emoni’s journey and proving that she could have what she wanted but that she still had to put in the hard work. She desperately wants to be a chef one day, but she has to learn that it’s not all about cooking delicious food, it’s about business and people skills. I liked the elements of magical realism but found them very subtle, and wished for more. I think Emoni is a great character to read in YA this year, and I also look forward to the upcoming movie!

Flatlay of The Friend Zone by Abby Jiminez next to two cross stitched hoops

The Friend Zone by Abby Jiminez
I read this in one of my romcom frenzies this summer, but found it wasn’t as light as the rest! The Friend Zone has some darker elements to it than what I’ve read in other books so far, starting with the crux of the relationship’s issue: Kristen is facing a medical procedure that will make it impossible to have children, but Josh really wants kids. Then some other things happen that I was totally not expecting and can’t give away! I wasn’t exactly a fan of the way the story turned out, but I can’t deny that I was glued to reading it. I enjoyed the chemistry between Kristen and Josh as they are maid of honour and best man for their best friends’ upcoming wedding. I liked how Josh treated Kristen minus the “I have to protect her by coming over with my gun” bit. That was uncomfortable, but I felt like sadly it was not unrealistic. I also found myself annoyed at how Kristen was constantly freaked out and would lash out at Josh when feeling upset and knew that if they just talked they’d be better off. While I know that can be real, most issues between people are because of communication, I think in a book like this it comes off repetitive and aggravating. So while I can remember that I was hooked to reading it, I don’t think I’ll be looking back on this book with heart eyes.

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
I loved 2017’s Letters to the Lost and liked 2018’s More Than We Can Tell so I was excited for this year’s contemporary YA offering from Brigid. What I found was it was barely a romance in the way the other two were (though that’s still there of course). It was more of a modern day teenage Robin Hood situation, and more focused on the character of Rob than an even back and forth between him and Maegan. I didn’t mind this though. I thought Rob’s story was more interesting (and sad) anyway – Rob’s father had been caught embezzling funds from half the town and then attempted suicide, leaving him in the care of Rob and his mother. Maegan is the straight student who was caught cheating on the SAT, and then her sister comes home from college pregnant. Rob and Maegan are the school’s social pariahs, but find a common ground when working on a school project, and become first protective of one another as friends and then they fall for each other. But then the story turns more into a redemption arc of Rob uncovering more secrets to his family’s drama and deciding what to do about it. There’s a lot of commentary on class and privilege that I thought was interesting and open enough to not be sure where it would lead. And as a side note, I was entertained by the pair meeting up at Wegmans all the time because it’s the grocery store from my hometown and I just thought that was pretty funny as I remembered all the times I went there with my friends as a teen. Anyways, I wouldn’t recommend this as a YA romance but it did turn into something I wasn’t expecting and ended up appreciating.

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
This book hurt my heart. It brought me close to tears a few times. It takes place in 1989-1990 at a pivotal moment in history – the AIDS crisis in America. It was a good history lesson and commentary on our current political climate at the same time. Framed through the stories of three teens in NYC, it really is a true love story but not one of just romance. There’s Reza, an Iranian immigrant whose family left after the revolution, and he’s so scared of being gay because all he’s seen in the media is that gay = death. There’s Judy, a budding couture fashion designer who falls for Reza, thinking he’s straight. There’s Art, Judy’s best friend and out and proud photographer who also falls for Reza. So it’s a love triangle that’s quite complicated but that’s not even the part that hurts. It was Reza and Art’s realities of not being able to be their true selves, not being accepted by their families or anyone else around them, terrified of being intimate and fighting for their communities. I often found Judy’s story, though as much as I liked her, kind of in the way because I wanted to get back to Reza and Art’s. I thought Abdi’s writing was really well done, and I look forward to more from him, but I’m going to go wallow in my feelings now.

 

That’s it for now! What have you been reading this summer?

This entry was posted in Books.

At last, the Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail DiaryI’ve been hunting for a copy of the Flow Book for Paper Lovers #6 since November 2018, and FINALLY I have it! Thanks to the eagle-eyed finding of my good friend Melanie who came across it at Indigo after I had given up. (Ordering these big books from the Dutch publication costs way too much to ship to North America!)

I’ve been such a huge fan of these big crafty books for years (check out Three, Four & Five), so I’m very excited to get to play with the newest one. Each book is full of stationery, gift wrap, projects, and more, always by an arsenal of amazing artists Flow has amassed. These books are truly a sight to behold. It’s like Christmas!

Check out below some of the goodies inside, and I wish you luck on your quest to get your own 😉

There are a bunch of clever colouring pages:

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

A tiny build-your-own paper greenhouse (the little potted plants to cut out are on the next page):

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

A ton of different coloured papers to use for whatever you want (but I find to be the most kind of useless filler in these books, despite their cute names):

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Pretty stickers!!

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Fold-your-own gift bags (lots of papers to use!):

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Fold-your-own Geoballs (they can be tiny bowls) and again, lots of papers to use!:

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Gift tags and papers to use for whatever you please:

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

And last but not least, stationery!

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

I love these books for the sheets of paper and postcards:

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

And then in the back, a few extra goodies like some notebooks and a little doggo:

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

Tra-la!

Inside of Flow Book for Paper Lovers 6 via Paper Trail Diary

You can see a full flip-through of the book here.

This entry was posted in Crafts.

To Read: June 2019

Stack of books releasing in June 2019

Sooo it might be more than halfway through June, but whatever. Here is my list of exciting books that are out this month! Enough to last you for the rest of the year, pretty much. Your future favourite summer read may be below:

Out now

If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann: [YA] Winnie dreams of inheriting her family’s diner but that might not happen if the diner can’t stay afloat. To try and help out, she wants to enter a cooking show but her granny won’t let her. So Winnie has to find a way to get around her grandma to save the family!

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen: [Adult] My fellow mail lovers will squee over this one: William Woolf a “letter detective” aka a postal worker whose job it is to reunite lost letters with their owners. When letters addressed to ‘My Great Love’ start arriving, William finds himself on quite the journey!

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta: [Adult] Kara is caught between her Canadian nationality and desire to be a “true” Jamaican. In twelve interconnected stories, we see Kara grow up in between worlds.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest: [YA] Chloe’s mom won’t let her apply to the dance conservatory of her dreams, so she plots a secret road trip. But her neighbour Eli insists on coming with her (and bringing his dog), and suddenly she’s in for a life-changing trip.

This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura: [YA] CJ’s family has always owned a flower shop, but when her mom suddenly decides to sell it – to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII – CJ takes the fight into her own hands.

Where I End and You Begin by Preston Norton: [YA] Ezra is an anxious insomniac who has been trying to work up the nerve to ask Imogen to prom for weeks. But Imogen’s protective BFF Wynonna gets in between them. One day, Ezra and Wynonna wake up in each other’s bodies and then it keeps happening! The two strike a deal trying to win over each other’s crushes but guess how that turns out.

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash: [New Adult] NYU freshman Miriam hasn’t dated anyone since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. But she decides to take advantage of a coupon to a virtual reality dating service.. except it chose Caleb as one of her matches! And the other match is her new best friend Jeremy…

Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh: [YA] This Sense and Sensibility retelling follows two completely opposite sisters who discover the secrets they’ve been keeping make them more alike than they’d realized. When the family’s finances hit a snag, the two drift apart more than ever before.

Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian: [YA] Three teens in 1989 find their worlds changing dramatically – Reza is gay, Iranian, and new to NYC; Judy is an aspiring fashion designer and adores her activist uncle who has AIDS; Art is the school’s only out teen but has conservative parents. But at the heart of the story it’s about their friendship.

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi: [YA] This is the w4w hate-t0-love story we’ve all been waiting for! There’s Sara, an overachiever, and Rachel, a film director looking for her next star. This story of two strong-willed young women who fall for each other despite themselves is told in alternating views and inspired by classic rom-coms.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim: [Adult] Natalie returns home to San Francisco after she receives news of her mother’s death. They had been estranged since her mother rejected her chef career path. Natalie’s shocked to find out that her city’s Chinatown is fading and even more shocked to find out she inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

Rules We’re Meant to Break by Natalie Williamson: [YA] Amber has created strict rules for herself to survive her mom’s string of boyfriends. But after moving in with Kevin, the rules are even harder to follow. Between Kevin, his daughter, and his daughter’s best friend, Amber’s heart starts to open itself up.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven: [YA] After aspiring comedian Izzy is caught with the son of a politician, it seems everyone around her has labelled her a slut. She’s certain it will blow over, but then it doesn’t. She’s used to laughing out of situations, but now she can’t find the humour in the situation.

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante: [YA] Gabi’s always wondered what it would be like to be an American, but she never expected to be someone who was “illegally” snuck over the border after her brother was murdered and her sister’s life placed in jeopardy. The only way she can stay in the States is if she becomes a Grief Keeper, taking someone’s grief into her own body to save a life. Plus, she never expected to fall in love (with a girl) in this kind of situation.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez: [Adult] Kristen is an independent and fiercely loyal woman who is facing a risky medical procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children. Kristen’s planning her best friend’s wedding when she meets the best man, Josh, who is the ultimate catch. Except Josh wants a family. She tries to keep her distance, but their attraction keeps pulling them back together. This book promises to tackle the issue of infertility with both laughter and tears.

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith: [YA] Chris and Maia have a lot pushing them together: being neighbours, a near-fatal car accident, the usual circumstances. Despite their best efforts, they can’t stay away from each other. Chris has come out as transgender, but still deeply processing an assault he survived from the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister. Falling in love was the last thing on their minds.

Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen: [YA] Mia and Jake have known each other their entire lives. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand each other. The teens decide they’ve had enough and hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs by pretending they’re dating.

All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil: [YA] I was sold at ‘post-punk San Francisco fantasy told through the eyes of a Mexican American girl.’ Xochi is running from her painful past when she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old from a rockstar family. Xochi becomes Pallas’s governess who quickly finds her place among the family. But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, the pair accidentally summon a pair of ancient creatures devoted to avenging the wrongs of Xochi’s existence.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali: [Adult] Roya is an idealistic teenager in 1953 Iran who heads to her local Stationery Shop (which also sells books – my dream) for comfort. There she meets the owner Mr. Fakhri and a teenaged activist Bahman who immediately captures her heart. The pair become engaged, but one day Bahman disappears. The book follows Roya until her old age until she finally finds out what happened.

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay: [YA] Jay plans to spend his last summer before university playing video games. But when he discovers his cousin was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out what happened.

June 25:

Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson: [YA] Haley thinks she’s texting with her crush Martin but it’s actually another classmate with the same name (but she doesn’t know that). Haley finds that this Martin is actually willing to listen to her weird facts and obsessions, and Martin feels like Haley is the first person to see him for who he is. You can see where the story goes from there!

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer: [YA] Rob, once a popular lacrosse player, is now a social pariah when it’s discovered that his father had been embezzling money from half the town. Maegan is seen as an overachiever, but the pressure in her life comes from her older sister’s pregnancy. Rob and Maegan have both built up walls to protect themselves, but once they’re paired for a class project, they slowly start to find ways to open up to each other. Kemmerer is great at YA romance, so I’m excited for this!

Have you read any of these yet? What are you most looking forward to?

This entry was posted in Books.

To Read: May 2019

Stack of books released in May 2019 on The Paper Trail Diary

I know it’s already halfway through the month but May is so full of exciting book releases (most of this list is YA)! Just you wait until June, though. That list is even longer! Anyways, holy smokes, look at these books.

I’ve been too busy or too tired offline (my usual story) so I’m hoping I’ll still get a good few reads in this month! So while I’m pressed for time and craving sleep, I’m going to tell you about all of these books in a couple sentences.

Out now

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo: Famous K-pop star Lucky is in Hong Kong for a night before a big performance, and while out on a secret hunt for a hamburger, she bumps into a cute paparazzi boy.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang: The much anticipated sophomore novel from the author of The Kiss Quotient is a fun love story between Khai, an autistic accountant, and Esme, who was handpicked by Khai’s mom in Vietnam as her son’s future bride. I read it in a day!

This Is Not a Love Scene by S.C. Meagale: 17-year-old aspiring film director Maeve has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and a monster crush on her leading man!

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo: High school senior Emoni has a young daughter and abuela to support – she lets go of her stress in the kitchen, where she adds a bit of magic to everything she cooks.

Kings, Queens and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju: Awkard Nima is in love with her straight best friend and still hurting from her mother’s departure. She stumbles upon a drag scene in her small town and it helps her to learn more about herself.

Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum: A love story between a girl who grew up alongside her odd fame of being photographed near the burning twin towers on 9/11 and a boy who was also affected by the tragedy.

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox: Biz knows she has it good between her mom, siblings, friends, and love interests… but she also sees the ghost of her father. But something happens and soon he’s gone, severing Biz’s sturdy tethers to her reality.

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Chrichton: Lennon believes in the security of the number five. And flicking light switches enough times so she can go to sleep. Kyler, the boy next door, sees these light flickers from his treehouse, where he hides from his pain and fills notebooks with lyrics.

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay: Another bookshop novel! I feel like those are ABUNDANT this year. Anyways — Madeline inherits a bookshop from her aunt, but it’s struggling and she’s gone through hell since her childhood days of love towards the shop. When she intends to sell, the store’s two employees have other ideas. The book promises a story of sweet friendship.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver: This book has had all the hype from the YA twitter world, and I’m excited to check it out. When Ben comes out to their parents as non-binary, they’re kicked out and forced to live with their estranged sister. Ben is struggling with anxiety from the ordeal when they meet Nathan, a charismatic student who takes Ben under his wing. And then their friendship continues to grow!

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno: Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea ever since her abuela and mother had epic traumatic experiences with their loved ones there, so going near a boy with a boat is bad news. But then there’s Alex. And in between, Rosa is mostly concerned about feeling caught between cultures and big life choices.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: I’ve seen a lot of love going around for this book about an American First Son falling in love with a Welsh prince, but they have to pretend to be best friends. Also, the First Son’s mom is president. So. Yes.

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra: Jonathan and Adam are partnered in English class to write letters to each other in a weekly pen pal assignment. (!!) With each letter, their friendship grows into love.

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane: An introverted forty-year-old university gardener gets a year off work and decides to set out to reconnect with four old friends. It’s about maintaining friendships in the digital age, and it sounds very sweet.

May 21:

Going Off-Script by Jen Wilde: From the author of Queens of Geek and The Brightsiders is back with a story about a TV writer’s room intern who must join forces with her crush to keep her boss from ruining a lesbian character on their show.

Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra: 16-year-old medical prodigy Saira has already graduated med school and is working with children cancer patients. Things are already complicated for Saira – battling skeptical adult doctors, working alongside her mom – but then she falls in love with one of her patients.

May 28:

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: Teen witch Hannah lives in Salem but has to keep her epic powers a secret. She spends her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend until dark magic starts to take over the town. What follows is badass teen witches fighting evil, and a love triangle!

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn: Kimi longs to be a fashion designer, but her mother sees this as a distraction from her portfolio for a fine art academy. When her grandparents invite her to Kyoto for spring break, she jumps at the chance, and immediately loses herself to the wonders of Japan, and a cute med student named Akira.

When am I going to find the time to read all of these?!?!? Have you read any? What are you interested in on this list?

This entry was posted in Books.

Blog tour: The Beauty of the Moment

Book 'The Beauty of the Moment' on a sheet of colouring paper

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena

Welcome to my blog tour stop for The Beauty of the Moment, organized by Penguin Teen Canada! Make sure to check out the rest of the bloggers this week.

beauty of the moment blog tour graphic

Reading The Beauty of the Moment was like getting to know the teenagers I see on the bus. (Minus all of the squealing, swearing, and staring at phones reality.) It takes place in the next door neighbour to Toronto, Mississauga, so it felt very familiar and like a great representation of Toronto teens. Teens who come from all kinds of cultural backgrounds, who put on fundraisers for Syrian refugees, who are taking their driving tests, who are working part time jobs, who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives, who are trying to live up to their parents’ expectations… all the while just wanting to enjoy themselves.

This book is all heart. At the base of the story, you get a will-they-won’t-they out of Susan and Malcolm, but there’s so much to their family lives that you get to see. It’s not all beautiful. Susan has just moved from Saudi Arabia and is feeling like an outsider. She spends her time alone at school, and when she gets home, she is incredibly stressed by the demands from her parents, even though they aren’t setting a good example. All she wants is to apply to art programs at universities… and maybe gain the confidence to talk to boys. Malcolm is still feeling the heartbreak of his most recent relationship, the grief from his mother’s passing, and the pain from the aftermath with his father. But even with all of this hurt, he still has enough love to give to his friends, sister, and maybe this cute girl Susan. These two have a LOT on their plates, but they find each other. It’s a slow start for them, but it makes things so much sweeter. They complement one another so well, and their character growth is natural and satisfying.

The Beauty of the Moment felt incredibly authentic in such a gentle way. It doesn’t make drama more dramatic than it needs to be, it just is what it is. Despite all it tackles, it is a soft read, one that I think will resonate with a lot of people. I would have liked to get a bit more out of Susan’s passion for art and Malcolm realizing his talents with accounting, but I don’t want to ask even more of these kids!

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To Read: April 2019

stack of books mentioned in blog post for being published in april 2019I can’t believe it’s already almost April! I’ve had a slow-ish reading March, but I did manage to read Internment which was amazing, and I’m reading Daisy Jones and the Six now, which is alright (disappointed face). Anyways, some really exciting titles coming up this month, check these out!

April 2

Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins: I adored Mitali’s last book You Bring the Distant Near, and this one sounds super interesting! Katina King, the reigning teen jujitsu champion of Northern California, and Robin Thornton, who was adopted from an orphanage in India, meet on a summer service trip to Kolkata to work with survivors of human trafficking. This sounds like nothing else I’ve read in YA yet so I’m looking forward to reading this soon.

April 9

Love and Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford: A family has been haunted by a curse for generations – if one of them falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam, a young and innocent hopeful drag queen, finds himself in trouble when a new guy moves to town. This sounds silly and cute!

In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton: In 1958, Ruth and her family move from NYC to Atlanta after her father dies. Ruth figures out she can ‘either be Jewish or be popular.’ She decides to hide her religion, and soon finds herself hanging out at an all Christian club. But she keeps going to temple secretly. She ends up caught between two love interests, two worlds, and two religions. I’m very curious of this one, and it seems to be getting great reviews!

April 16

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett: I am sooo ready for a new Jenn Bennett. Alex, Approximately was one of the best books I read last year – this author really knows how to write hate-to-love chemistry! Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life. So not only is there going to be some great banter but also mystery! I can’t wait to get to reading this.

Normal People by Sally Rooney: This I’ve read already, and you guys, it’s fantastic. It’s as good as everybody says it is. I haven’t read Conversations with Friends but I’d like to now. Anyways, this follows an on-again-off-again couple from high school through college. Connell and Marianne are very different people. Connell is too concerned about what others think of him, while Marianne is comfortable in her own skin. So much is working against these two but they’re always drawn back to each other. It’s melancholy in the best way. It’s beautifully written. Highly recommended! This will be one of my favourites this year.

April 23

You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno: So far, Katrina’s books have been light with touches of magical realism like The Lost and Found, Everything All At Once and Summer of Salt. They’re sweet. But You Must Not Miss will not be that. It’s billed as for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Carrie, so. Everything changed for Magpie Lewis on the night that her sister Eryn skipped town, leaving her to fend for herself. It was the night of Brandon Phipp’s party. Now Magpie is called a slut wherever she goes, and finds herself alienated besides with a group of exiled misfits. Magpie retreats to her notebook, writing of a place called Near, a perfect place. She writes it so fully that she dreams it into existence, where she can have everything she wants… even revenge. Ohboyohboyohboy I am READY. (I do hope Katrina can continue with her lighter stories in the future, but this is exciting!)

April 30

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan: I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this one so far this year. It sounds adorable! Lou Parker is determined to have the most epic summer, but a few things stand in her way. She’s landed a job at an amusement park dressed as a hot dog. Her crush already has a girlfriend. Her best friend is not into Lou trying to set her up with the perfect girl. And it turns out this could be their last summer at the park, unless they can find a way to stop it from closing. This sounds like the sweetest YA romcom, and I am here for it.

How to be Luminous by Harriet Reuter Hapgood: When seventeen-year-old artist Minnie’s mother disappears, so does her ability to see colour. Minnie and her sisters have already lost their fathers, so they’re left to fend for themselves. Minnie worries about losing everything, even her mind. I’m hoping this is an interesting piece on mental health.

What are you looking forward to reading in April?

Also, get ready, May is going to be EPIC.

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To Read: March 2019

stack of books in an office with stationery and art in the background

The list of books I’m excited for that are coming out this year is incredible. Last year was not like this! There are so many interesting books on their way. Here’s what I’m looking forward to just this month.

Out now

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This fictional story of a band’s mysterious break-up will certainly satisfy fans of Almost Famous and Behind the Music. While I’m past the point in my life of loving stories about musicians (it’s a thing for me, sorry), I absolutely adored The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so I’m willing to give this a shot.

Chicken Girl by Heather Smith: After being mocked online for dressing up as Rosie the Riveter (why??), Poppy decides to change her style to that of a chicken costume and accepts a job of waving a sign outside of a restaurant. She meets six-year-old Miracle, who helps her see past her pain. Heather Smith wrote The Agony of Bun O’Keefe which I still have to read (eep) – it was beloved and has set her up as an author of really interesting characters, so I’m curious of what’s in store for Poppy!

March 12:

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds: When Jack meets Kate at a party, spending all night talking, he knows he’s going to fall hard. But then Kate dies. And this isn’t an ordinary story – Kate’s death ships Jack back in time to their meet cute – and he’s stuck in a loop of trying to save her, but actions are not without consequences. I think this is an interesting take on the typical YA romance, so I’m looking forward to it!

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis: Leave it to Mindy McGinnis to tackle the opioid crisis in her beautifully disturbing brand of YA fiction. A car crash sidelines Mickey before softball season, and she’s desperate to keep her spot as catcher, so she finds herself addicted to painkillers and the benefits to the new life it’s brought her. I loved The Female of the Species so much, and have been looking forward to this one for a while!

If, Then by Kate Hope Day: I’ve actually read this one already – it was so captivating! I liked it a lot and it stuck around in my noggin for a while after reading it, which is a good sign for me. It focuses on four people who all know each other in some way and live near a volcano in Oregon – and they all have weird occurrences of seeing visions of themselves in very different circumstances. Alternate realities! It makes them paranoid and questioning their realities – leading to lots of ‘what ifs.’ The story is intricate, honest, and exciting – you really don’t know how it’s going to end. It is more of a character exploration novel than a sci-fi journey, so keep that in mind.

Meet Me in Outer Space by Melinda Grace: I’ve read this one already as well and had such a good time reading! I was drawn in by learning more about a character in college who has a learning disability and was kept in by the sizzling chemistry she has with her TA. The only thing is I wanted it to be much longer – this was a really quick read and I wanted more from the characters!

March 19:

The Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan: Ever since I read The Witches of New York I’ve been super hungry for another great witch novel. Could this be it? The Witch’s Kind is set in the Pacific Northwest in WW2, starring a young witch and her equally witchy aunt. First they find an abandoned baby with a hint of the kinds of power they have; second is the young witch’s long-lost-husband reappears. *strokes chin* It’s a story of the lengths we go to to protect our loved ones. Exciting!

Internment by Samira Ahmed: I’d say this is one of the most hotly anticipated books of the spring. Set in a horrifying near-future US, a 17-year-old girl named Layla and her parents are forced into an internment camps for Muslim Americans. With the help of friends on the inside, a boyfriend on the outside, and a new alliance, Layla starts a rebellion against the camp. I am excited and kind of terrified for this book, but I feel like it’s going to be a necessary read.

March 26:

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick: Obviously this title and cover are total bait for us book lovers, but I will fall for it every time! This one sounds like a lot of fun. A librarian who prefers books to people finds a mysterious book of fairy tales on her doorstep, with a dedication inside from her dead grandmother and a clue that she might still be alive. Oooh! Now, I’m going to prepare myself that this will be more like The Bookshop of Yesterdays which is more about family secrets than books, but it still sounds real interesting.

That’s it! I’m looking forward to reading these! What are you reading this month? 

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