Book reviews

10 Things I Love About Magnus Chase And The Hammer Of Thor

The second installment in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan was even better than the first one. I came up with ten reasons as to why this book and series is a must read for all young adults out there.

It addresses sexuality

When a gender fluid character was introduced in the novel I absolutely loved it. This is the first YA novel I’ve read which openly discusses gender fluidity and the stereotypes associated with that. What is even more incredible is that Magnus, our protagonist, is attracted to this said person which goes to show that you can love whoever you want to love.

It addresses religion

This was also one of the first novels which openly discusses Islam and its practices. The novel just helps to open people’s minds and I think that that is important in today’s society.

It’s adventurous

Moving on from the heavy topics. The novel is FUN. You get to visit all these different worlds and the characters always get themselves into these weird scenarios which have such creative solutions.

It has diversity

This novel and I believe all of Rick Riordan’s novels introduce the reader to such a large group of diverse people. We have social outcasts, smart people, homeless people, criminals, fashionistas, you name it.

It addressees homelessness

At the begin of the series Magnus is a homeless guy which means that for the rest of the series we hear a lot about Magnus’ experience being homeless and what it feels like. Given that Rick Riordan has a younger dynamic to cater to, I believe it’s important children are bought up learning about the topic of homelessness.

It’s educational

Not only are the readers learning all these life lessons. We also get to learn sign language because one of the characters is deaf and of course we learn about Norse Mythology

It’s emotional

Not going to elaborate on this one because feels

It’s funny

As with all of Rick Riordan’s novels, this one is peppered with dad humour and funky jokes that make it quite entertaining

It’s captivating

I found it very hard to pull myself away from reading and doing something else because every chapter had me turning the pages.

It ends on a cliff hanger

As usual. But this is an exciting cliff hanger because Magnus is about to meet one of my favourite characters in the next installment!

Book reviews

Am I Normal Yet? | Life Lessons About Mental Illness

Title: Am I Normal Yet?

Author: Holly Bourne

Series: The Normal Series #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis:23592235

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

 

GUYS I POSSIBLY JUST FINISHED THE BEST BOOK! If you know me, you know I’m quite a critical person and it’s not that easy to get me so excited about a book. But YOU MUST read this book. Here’s why:

Our protagonist Evie has one of the most distinct and honest voices the likes of which I’ve only read in John Green books. From the get go you’re inside Evie’s head and even after finishing the book I have moments when I can imagine what Evie would make of the situation I’m in. The author does a brilliant job of portraying the world through the perspective of someone who has OCD.

Which brings me to the ever-important theme of mental illness explored in the novel. Unlike other novels I’ve read where mental illness is sugar coated or represented through fifty million metaphors this book just says it like it is. It’s realistic, it acknowledges that mental illness is a REAL problem with REAL drawbacks.

I also like how the novel makes a point that mental illness has now become somewhat mainstream and people believe it’s okay to throw around words like OCD or bipolar without realizing that it is an actual illness that people actually suffer.

This book wins at diversity

Aside from mental illness we also see the exploration of feminism. The topic is represented in a humorous and quirky way which makes it much more interesting and I can now safely say I have learnt SO MUCH about women’s rights and mental illness in regards to women and oh the importance of cheesy snacks while discussing the said issues of course.

Now don’t get the impression that Evie hogs the whole novel because we also see cyber-bullying, drugs and other forms of mental illness, basically all issues that would concern teenagers of the modern world. A majority of the reason I enjoyed the novel so much was because how relatable it was.

If genuine characters, diversity and cheesy snacks sounds like your cup of tea then I highly recommend you to pick up this book.

Rating

5

I wouldn’t have known the existence of this novel if it weren’t for my Aussie Secret Santa @soundless_rune_le_bookdragon so thank you so much!

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Book reviews

Sound Reasoning As To Why YOU Need To Read Soundless

Hail the queen of puns. I know, I’m so funny (not). But I promise in this post to provide reasons that will hopefully incline you to read Richelle Mead’s brand new release and no it doesn’t involve vampires (unfortunately)

Only about 250 pages long Soundless is reminiscent of exotic tales I recall reading in my childhood. It’s simplistic which captures the essence and values of the people n the book I guess. One downside to being short is of course there wasn’t as much elaboration as I’m used to and I honestly thought this would be a series. But if you’re up for a quick and refreshing read Soundless is it.

Of course every YA novel is incomplete without love. Similarly Soundless had a cliche childhood romance type of situation but I believe as there wasn’t any space to build on a relationship, for convenience purposes Fei and Lei Wei were already in love with each other long before the novel began. Which I’m not complaining about as it was consistent with the traditional and cultural vibe the novel was giving.

I have a grudging respect for Fei because of how much she loves and protects her sister. Yeah it was a little frustrating but Fei’s bravery derives from her need to protect her sister and that is admirable.

The book has realistic struggles whether they be physical, mental or political. Richelle Mead does a good job of exploring the physical and mental struggles which makes the book realistic. However, the political conflict between Fei’s town and the Kingdom is resolved in haste through sudden introduction of these mythical creatures.

I think the forte of Soundless was the amount of diversity it captured. There was obviously the fact that all the villagers were deaf and sign language was used extensively throughout the novel. I was expecting a sort of muteness, a silence to be captured in the novel that would come from being deaf and I realize that’s a difficult task but hey, one can hope. The novel definitely did make me realize how much we take sound for granted though.

Soundless also explores another culture which YA novels don’t seem to be doing enough of in my opinion. It was a refreshing change to read about a world set in an Asian society rather than the typical Dystopian US.

So were my reasons Sound enough to convince you to grab this book?

Book Info:

Title: Soundless

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: YA Fantasy

Source: Publisher

Goodreads      Buy Now 

Synopsis:For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village. Her people are at the mercy of a mysterious faraway kingdom, which delivers food in return for precious metals mined from the treacherous cliffs surrounding them.
When villagers begin to lose their sight, their rations shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the boy she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
Then Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon . . .
Perfect for readers of THE HUNGER GAMES, this epic fantasy from the international bestselling author of VAMPIRE ACADEMY will have you instantly hooked and on the edge of your seat.

 

Book reviews

Book Review | Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Count: 368 pages

Synopsis 

Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side

Aristotle and Dante was a real eye opener as to what it’s like growing up especially for boys and from a sixteen year old’s perspective (aka me) growing up sucks, which is why I could relate to this book so well.

Plot

The story is very in line with all those coming-of-age classics and it is just beautiful. I think the book did a very good job of establishing the fact that everyone has their own struggles especially teenagers (not biased at all)

I don’t have much to say about the plot except that it was steadily paced and I liked how the book was divided into sections to represent various things (it’ll make sense if you read it

Characters

The characters are the heart and soul of this book. Ari is a very realistic teenager who feels angst and confusing emotions until finally he learns to control and accept these feelings and emotions. However, sometimes it did get difficult to understand Ari’s emotions and why he felt the way he felt about certain people. I think it was just part of this thing called growing up

I like the whole family dynamic of the novel as well. Often in YA the parents tend to just not exist basically but this book did quite the opposite. It was understandable because growing up has a lot to do with becoming independent from your parents and coming to terms with them.

One of the things I loved about this novel was that every character was explored and illustrated well, I mean from Dante’s mom to Ari’s aunt.

Writing

Going into this book I thought there would be alternate POVs between Dante and Ari but nope, it’s all from Ari’s perspective. I would’ve loved to read Dante’s POV but hey you can’t have everything. In many ways, it felt like the author was telling his own story about growing up which just felt so personal and amazing. One complain would be that while following the dialogue it sometimes got difficult to distinguish the voices as in who was saying what.

Rating

4

 

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Book reviews

10 Reasons Why You Should Read Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly RIGHT NOW

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author: Stephanie Oakes

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Count: 400 pages

Source: Harper Collins YA

Release Date: June 22nd 2015

Synopsis: The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.

And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it’s clear Minnow knows something. But she’s not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of; if she is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

goodreads

 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is easily one of my favourite books of the year and here are ten reasons why:

10. It has depth

This book is a psychological thriller and a crime novel but it’s also so much more. It explores blind faith and poses questions such as:

How do we know what we know? Why do we choose to believe in certain things? What extreme measures are people willing to take in order to grasp onto that one bit of sanity?

9

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is unique in the sense that it is very raw. The story is gory and it evokes raw emotions within you which I didn’t know a book was capable of doing. I’ve never read anything like it

8

The story travels between Minnow’s present which is in Juvie and Minnow’s past in the Community with her Cult. The plot was assembled very well. In the beginning I just wanted to read all about her past but later on you realize the writing in the present is also very important  to observe Minnow’s self-development.

7. You’re going to want to read about Minnow Bly

Minnow has one of the most distinct voices in YA fiction. As soon as the story began I was like “woah I can already hear her voice in my head”. HOW IS SOMEONE ABLE TO DO THAT. But seriously I love observant she is and honest too

6. The Feels 

If you’re a fan of YA (you probably are since you’re on the blog and reading this post) then you definitely go for the feels in a book.

Minnow’s character has gone through so much, I mean her father cut her hands off on orders from a strange man! and the author does a really good job of showing that through Minnow’s defiance in the Community, her journey towards redemption and coming to terms with her past. And you’re able to empathise really well with all her emotions.

5

The writing in this book is very straight to the point. I love it because it paints a clear picture of the Community and even Juvie. I also felt like I didn’t have to work very hard to understand what Minnow was feeling

4

I read a post recently on YA Midnight Reads (my favourite book blog) about how The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly came about and you should definitely check it out.

But I am so grateful that the author decided to set this story in the modern world and not in a dystopian future. It just makes the whole idea of religious cults that much more possible to imagine and be freaked out by (we all love that don’t we?)

3. Religion in YA

This is possibly the first time religion has been so exclusively discussed in YA. It adds to the awesome diversity thing we have going and I love the fact that this books voices questions that literally all of us have asked sometime in our lives.

2

I have nothing bad to say about this book. Trust me when I say I am a very picky reader in the sense that I nit-pick the smallest things in a book but I just cannot find anything wrong with The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.

If the above nine reasons weren’t convincing enough then I hope this final tenth reason convinces you to go out of your houses on June 22nd to buy this book

1. BECAUSE IT’S JUST SO GOOD

But seriously guys. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. Get on it.

Rating

5

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