March Wrap-Up

Hello beautiful people of the internet! Today I bring you my March wrap-up! Before we get into it, I just want to say that I’m so sorry for not posting as often this month. March was such a hectic month for me. Nevertheless I will still be active and try to interact with all of you as much as possible!

Novels I Read (In order)

(eARC) Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was such a good book! I received an ARC via Netgalley, and it was the perfect quick and emotional middle grade read. I highly recommend it! Review to come!

(eARC) In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the first high fantasy book I’ve read! I received an ARC via Netgalley, turnthepagetours and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishings. This was such an epic and cute story! Book tour stop to come!

He Must Like You by Danielle Younge-Ullman: I’m halfway through this one, and am really liking it so far! Despite being fiction, it’s quite educational!

Graphic Novels and Manga read

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a mellow graphic novel about toxic relationships and discovering oneself. It was hard to get into at first, but I found myself really enjoying it towards the end. The artwork is also something I’ve never seen before, and is absolutely stunning!

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Moriarty the Patriot Volume 1 by Ryōsuke Takeuchi, Hikaru Myoshi, with ideas from Arthur Conan Doyle: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) This was such a great first volume! It was captivating, eccentric and incredibly fast paced. I highly recommend this series to any Sherlock Holmes fans or any British drama lovers.

Blue Flag Volume 3 by Kaito: This volume was as heart-wrenching and stunning as always. Can’t wait to read the next one!

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Shortcake Cake Volume 2 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐ (2 out of 5 stars) I feel like everything escalated way to quickly, which I’m not necessarily upset about. However, all of a sudden 2-3 boys just started calling Ten (the main character) “mine,” as if she was some kind of property they owned. That part of the book made me feel uncomfortable, because no one owns someone, and I honestly think that was inappropriate. Nevertheless, I hope to continue the series. Maybe it’ll get better!

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My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) My Last Summer with Cass was a heart wrenching story on how when life changes, so can relationships. It’s a lovely coming of age that beautifully depicts life’s ups and downs. You can read my author interview and blog tour stop for the book here!

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(eARC) Pixels of You by Anath Hirsh, Yuko Ota, and J.R. Doyle: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was a futuristic sweet enemies-to-lovers graphic novel. It was definitely unique, and I’m sure people who like steampunk will find this novel enjoyable. Thank you Netgalley and ABRAMS Kids for a copy of this book!

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Total Number Of Books Read: 13

Total Number Of Posts Published: 5

Average Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 out of 5 stars

First, let’s recap! Last month, I said I would finish my eARC TBR, and I did! I also posted 2 bookstagram photos this month as well!

Some of my goals for April include…

  • Read three new novels
  • Post the tags I was tagged in by other (amazing) bloggers

And that’s a wrap! Before I sign off for today, I just wanted to announce that I have a book blogger related project in the works! It won’t be released anytime soon, but I just wanted to throw it out there. 😆 You can read last month’s wrap-up here. Also, if you could be so kind to fill in this form that would be great! Have a fabulous day everyone!

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Book Tour: My Last Summer With Cass// Author Interview With Mark Crilley & Top 5 Reasons to Read This Book!

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting a blog tour stop for the lovely graphic novel My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s newest graphic novel.

Book Info

Title: My Last Summer With Cass by Mark Crilley

Genre: Young Adult Graphic Novel

Publishing Date: March 16, 2021

Synopsis

This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art—-from the author of Mastering Manga. Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.

When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her—she even eats chicken feet! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.

But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art?

Find out more about My Last Summer With Cass with these links!

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Book Depository//Indigo//IndieBound//

Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!

Top 5 Reasons to Read My Last Summer with Cass

1. The Friendship

Anyone who has been through a friendship breakup or has had conflict with their close friends will deeply relate to what Megan and Cass go through. The kind of bond the two share is so incredibly precious yet so hard to come by. The novel displays their relationship in such a heart-wrenching way, and I am totally here for it.

2. The Exploration of Different Art Styles

My Last Summer With Cass features unique characters, with even more unique art styles. One person only uses two different shades of one color! Another creates their art very abstractly. However, my most favorite art pieces are the ones Megan and Cass create together. You can really see their different art styles work together in such an interesting way!

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3. The Setting

The story takes place in the bustling city of New York. In my opinion, the city Cass lives in (New York City), really resonates with her personality. It’s busy and creative, just like Cass. I thoguht the setting was depicted in such an intriguing way, and I really do believe that Mark Crilley draws the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen. Crilley creates scenes that draw you in, and only let you go once you’ve finished the book.

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4. The Captivity

My Last Summer With Cass is a graphic novel that you won’t want to put down. As mentioned early, the way the art is drawn is so incredibly intriguing. It allows the readers to feel as though they are in the story, and to me, that’s incredibly beautiful.

5. The Colors

The author uses colors that I’ve never seen any artist use consistently throughout graphic novels. I liked how their wasn’t much use of black. It was very refreshing to see. To top it all off, purple and blue are used quite a bit, and are used in such different emotional context as well. The colors were used in a way that portrayed every emotion the characters where experiencing in such unique ways!

Here is my bookstagram post for the tour! Simply press the image to view it on my bookstagram account.

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. I just want to say thank you so much for being here with us today! Before we begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Mark Crilley: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where I was fascinated with drawing from my very earliest years. I continued honing my skills throughout elementary school and high school, and when I became an art major at Kalamazoo College in 1984, I had the good fortune to study under the great children’s book writer and illustrator David Small. A few years later, while teaching English in Japan, I challenged myself to create a comic book, one page per week. Upon my return to Michigan, that story– Akiko on the Planet Smoo– was eventually published, and it led to a career in comics that has continued to this day.

Saniya: That’s such a fascinating journey, thank you for sharing!

2. My Last Summer with Cass is a beautiful story. Did any real life occurrences or experiences influence the making of the book?

Mark Crilley: Thank you! Actually, this graphic novel is the most directly autobiographical story I’ve ever done, and there are many parallels between Megan’s life and my own. The character of Cass was inspired by a dear friend of mine who I first met in high school: John Walter. John eventually settled in New York City, where he became an award-winning film editor and director. I visited John in the city several times, and saw that he was moving in much more sophisticated circles than I was, and was investigating far more adventurous types of art, music, and literature than I ever had. John and I never came into conflict with each other, happily! But all of these real-life experiences, and the fact that two good friends could have such dramatically different artistic instincts, became the main source of inspiration for My Last Summer with Cass.

Saniya: That’s so cool!

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3. What was the illustration process like? Was there a certain mood or feel you wanted to portray in the art style?

Mark Crilley: I wanted the artwork to be reminiscent of artist’s sketches rather than polished, slick illustrations. So I resolved not to have any inked lines in the whole book. While I used Photoshop to push the colors in certain directions, almost everything you see in the book is hand-made art, created with pencil, markers, pastels, and white gouache. This hopefully gives the art a more organic look, with a human touch that accentuates the messy imperfections of the two main characters’ lives.

Saniya: I think it looks amazing, and totally gives off such an organic look!

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4. My Last Summer with Cass has an abundance of unique and memorable characters. Which character’s art style resonates the most with your personality?

Mark Crilley: It’s an interesting question, since all of the artist characters in the story are making artwork that was, naturally enough, actually made by me. And while Megan resembles me in terms of her personality, I have presented her as an artist who has not yet discovered her own style. When I was in college, part of me was actually quite attracted to the idea of minimalism. In this sense, the relatively minor character of Taja, who creates all her paintings from just two different shades of the same color, is probably the one whose art would resonate with me most if I saw it in real life.

Saniya: That’s very interesting.

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5. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from this (absolutely stunning) graphic novel?

Mark Crilley: Well, wow, first let me thank you for your kind words! You know, the story builds toward a theme of how good friendships can go bad, and how important it is to not give up on them. So surely that’s the main one. But there’s a lot of other messages woven into the story, I think. The value of getting out of your comfort zone and being exposed to new things. The importance of choosing your own path in life, rather than one dictated to you by your parents. The danger of comparing yourself to others, and allowing that to make you feel insecure about yourself. All of this is in there, but hopefully in a quiet way. Really I just wanted to tell a good story, one in which readers would genuinely care about these characters, and want to see how things would work out for them.

Saniya: That’s so intriguing. I for one felt very attached to the girls’ stories, it was incredibly poignant and beautiful.

About The Author

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Facebook//YouTube//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post, I hope you enjoyed! I hope you decide to check out My Last Summer With Cass. Have a fabulous day!

Together, Apart | A Review

Hey everyone! Today I bring you a review of the novel Together, Apart. It’s actually the first time I’ll be reviewing a collection of short stories. Anyways, let’s get right into it!

Together, Apart: Craig, Erin A., Desombre, Auriane, Hahn, Erin, Konigsberg,  Bill, Lippincott, Rachael, Morris, Brittney, Patel, Sajni, Preston,  Natasha, Yen, Jennifer: 9780593375297: Books - Amazon.ca

Erin Craig “delivers” on a story about a new girl in town and the cute pizza delivery boy, Auriane Desombre captures our hearts with teens communicating through window signs, and Bill Konigsberg takes us along on daily walks with every step bringing us closer to love. There’s flirting and romance from Rachael Lippincott, a tale of a determined girl with a mask-making business from Erin Hahn, and a music-inspired love connection from Sajni Patel. Brittney Morris turns enemies to lovers with the help of a balcony herb garden, Jennifer Yen writes an unconventional romance that starts outside a hospital, and Natasha Preston’s teens discover each other–and their love story–in a storybook oak tree.

Romantic, realistic, sweet and uplifting, TOGETHER, APART is a collection of finding love in unexpected places during an unprecedented time . . . each with the one thing we all want: a guaranteed happy ending.

 Love, Delivered by Erin A. Craig

Love, Delivered is a relatable story about what it’s like to move during a pandemic. It was interesting to see what it’s like to spend quarantine alone via the main character’s point of view. That’s something very hard to deal with, especially with the thought of constantly being worried about one’s parents. (The main character’s parents work outside the house.) Overall, it was sweet and enjoyable!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars)

The Socially Distant Dog Walking Brigade by Bill Konigsberg

This was such a warm and fuzzy romance about two teens walking their dogs. It had it’s funny moments, but also it’s serious ones. I really liked how the story touched on mental illness and friendship breakups. It had a nice balance of silly and serious!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars)

One Day by Sajni Patel

I liked how One Day touched on fatigue and boredom, it was very relatable. 😂 However, the main character was so rude and arrogant. She literally threw her shoe at a guy who was playing his guitar because the sound annoyed her, and she threw her favorite shoe too. It just didn’t make sense. The love interest also came off as annoying rather than cheeky.

⭐⭐ (2.25 out of 5 stars)

The Rules of Comedy by Auriane Desombre

This was a fun tiktok-themed love story that was fairly enjoyable. Unfortunately however, I was bored halfway through the story. I did like seeing how the older and younger sister dynamic played out between the main character and their sibling.

⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars)

The New Boy Next Door by Natasha Preston

The New Boy Next Door was unfortunately, not my thing. The original concept of hanging out in a tree was cute. However, the story came off as flat and cringe-y. The main characters were very annoying. The girl was sort of pushy and made way too many Twilight references, and the boy was just rude for no reason whatsoever.

⭐ (1.5 out of 5)

Love With a Side of Fortune by Jennifer Yen

This was a light and fluffy read that left me feeling very hungry. It gave off such dark academia vibes, and I am totally here for it! However, I disliked how there was no real character development nor any relationship development between the main character and their mother. I also felt as though the main character was a bit rude to her mom. Moreover, I liked how the book touched upon having parents that work in healthcare, especially during these times. Overall, if you’re looking for a restaurant themed love story, this is the one for you!

⭐⭐⭐ (3.25 out of 5 stars)

The Green Thumb War by Brittney Morris

I loved this one! The concept of a plant war was absolutely hilarious and totally unique! The execution was pretty good too. I only wish it was a bit funnier, but that’s just my taste. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars)

Stuck with Her by Rachel Lippincott

This was a cute story about what it’s like to live with a loud and messy roommate. I liked how the love interest was 🌟mysterious🌟. Moreover, I felt as though the romance escalated so quickly. One second the main character hates her roommate, then the next second they kiss? It just didn’t make sense. It also felt very repetitive as well. However, I do think people who live in similar circumstances will enjoy this short story more than I did.

⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars)

Masked by Erin Hahn

Masked was a rather imaginative story that I ultimately feel like could have turned into an actual novel. It was fun, light, and exciting. I also thought it was cool that the main character cut fabric out of her prom dress to create masks for people working outside their homes. It was very kind of her.

⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars)

Overall, this was a comforting book containing stories related to COVID-19, and I am totally here for it!

Age Rating: 12 and up

TW: Talk of friendship breakups and mental illness in The Socially Distant Dog Walking Brigade. Talk of deaths relating to COVID-19 in some of the stories.

Final Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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What did you all think of this collections of short stories? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful day!

Author Interview With Aamna Qureshi

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a special one because the lovely Aamna Qureshi is here to answer some of my questions. I am beyond excited to have her here with us today! Before we get into the interview, here is a bit about her upcoming novel; The Lady or the Lion.

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(Synopsis from goodreads)

Crown princess of Marghazar, Durkhanai Miangul will do anything to protect her people and her land. When her grandfather, the Badshah, is blamed for a deadly assault on the summit of neighboring leaders, the tribes call for his head. To assuage cries for war, the Badshah opens Marghazar’s gates to foreigners for the first time in centuries, in a sign of good faith. Enter Ambassador Asfandyar Afridi, a wry foreigner who admits outright that he is a spy. Stubborn, proud, and suspicious of foreigners, Durkhanai does not appreciate that he won’t bow to her every whim and instead talks circles around her.

And yet, she has to make him her ally to expose those truly responsible for the attack as more ambassadors from neighboring tribal districts arrive at court, each one of them with their own agenda and reasons to hide the truth. When a mysterious illness spreads through the village and the imperialists push hard on her borders, Durkhanai must sort through the ever shifting loyalties at court and her growing feelings for Asfandyar. Will she be able to leave the antics of a spoiled princess behind and become what her people need-a queen?

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Aamna! I’m super happy that you’re here with us today. Before we start, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Aamna: Hi! Thanks for having me! A little bit about myself is that I’m twenty-one, I have an intense love for period dramas, I am really close with my family, I constantly miss Pakistan, and I am currently living the dream as an author!

Saniya: That’s wonderful!

2. I cannot wait to read The Lady or the Lion! May I ask, what inspired the making of this novel?

Aamna: I was inspired by the short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” and my love for Pakistan. My main influences were The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkowski and The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh. 

Saniya: Ooo that’s very interesting!

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3. Do you have a specific writing routine? 

Aamna: I try to! When I first get an idea for a story, I usually compile a document of snippets and scenes and quotes that come to me in images and bursts, then I try to turn that into a general outline, then expand that into specific chapters, then finally, I tackle the drafting. It helps me to have a schedule and to set a deadline for myself. I aim to write 2,000 words a day, five days a week when I am on that deadline — but of course, some days are good, some are bad. 

Saniya: That’s such a cool routine!

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4. Is there a character in The Lady or the Lion that you resonate most with?

Aamna: The protagonist, Durkhanai. She feels things so intensely, which is definitely something I relate to. 

Saniya: Sounds awesome! I can’t wait to meet all the characters!

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5. The Lady or the Lion is inspired by Pakistan. That’s so cool! On your website, you showcase beautiful pictures of the country. Do you have a favorite memory of your time there?

Aamna: There’s so many! But my favorite memories are ones that encompass absolute peace and contentment: lying on a charpai outside, watching the clouds move; my head by my grandmother’s lap, her fingers stroking my hair; sitting in a room filled with family members, everyone laughing and talking over one another. 

Saniya: That is so beautiful, thank you for sharing.

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6. The cover of the novel is absolutely stunning! What inspired the making of the cover?

Aamna: Thank you! The cover is actually a painting by Asrar Farooqi, and then designed by Maryann Appel at CamCat Books, who did a stunning job. I have been a longtime fan of Farooqi, who is a Pakistani painter, so when it came time to design the cover, I really wanted to commission something by him. I described the setting to Farooqi, and he took over in his style. My publishing team was great with letting me be involved in the whole process, and I am so happy with the way it came out! 

Saniya: It truly is a stunning cover.

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7. Lastly, if I may I ask, can you please describe the storyline of The Lady or the Lion with emojis?

This question was heavily inspired by Ahaana @ Windows To World. They did a blog tour stop and author interview for the novel ‘Hot British Boyfriend.’ Please do check out their post as well right here!

Aamna: 👸🏻👀🤔🥰💗🤒🤬🤭🥺🤪🤤😨🤯😭🦁👩🏻👑💔

Saniya: Ooo mysterious! 😆

About The Author

Aamna Qureshi is a Pakistani, Muslim American who adores words. She grew up in a very loud household, surrounded by English (for school), Urdu (for conversation), and Punjabi (for emotion). Through her writing, she wishes to inspire a love for the beautiful country and rich culture that informed much of her identity. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel to new places where she can explore different cultures or to Pakistan where she can revitalize her roots. She also loves baking complicated desserts, drinking fancy teas and coffees, watching sappy rom-coms, and going for walks about the estate (her backyard). She currently lives in New York. Look for her on IG @aamna_qureshi and Twitter @aamnaqureshi_ and at her website.

Add The Lady or the Lion to goodreads here!

Thank you once again Aamna for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Have a fabulous day everyone!

Five Novels to Celebrate International Women’s Day With!

Hiya! Here are five great novels to celebrate International Women’s Day with. (If you’re wondering, International Women’s Day is on the 8th of March.) Filled with feminism and empowerment, these books are perfect for this lovely day!

(PS; As always, click on the book covers to add the novels to goodreads.)

1. Wench

Wench by Maxine Kaplan is the perfect story for magic lovers! Filled with exciting adventures, this is the feminist fantasy novel you’ve been waiting for!

Wench by Maxine Kaplan

2. Know My Name

Know My Name by Chanel Miller is a memoir of a young woman’s life after getting assaulted. It’s a moving novel that I do recommend you check out.

Know My Name: A Memoir: Miller, Chanel: 9780735223707: Books - Amazon.ca

3. Six Angry Girls

Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner is a book about female empowerment, knitting, and mock trials. How unique is that?

Six Angry Girls

4. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Nam-Joo Cho (translated by Jamie Chang) is a story about the everyday life of a Korean woman. It’s 192 pages, and breaks down the layers of what it means to be a woman in such an interesting way!

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 | Book by Cho Nam-Joo, Jamie Chang | Official  Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster AU

5. The Knockout

The Knockout by Sajni Patel is about a teenage girl named Kareena Thakkar who’s a rising star in Muay Thai. The story follows Kareena as she navigates through life. I think the fact that she’s doing Muay Thai is so cool!

The Knockout by S.A. Patel

That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed, and thank you for reading!

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