The Song of Achilles | A Review

Hey everyone, today I’ll be reviewing The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. If you’ve been on booktok lately, you’d know that this book has been trending for quite a while. But did it live up to the hype? Read on to find out!

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

I really adored the original premise! I’m very new to greek mythology, so I was intrigued to see how the book would play out. At first, the story was much too confusing. There were a lot of greek mythology terms used that I simply didn’t understand. Yes, I could have looked at the glossary. But in all honestly, I didn’t notice it until after I finished the book – which is entirely a fault on my part. However, I just wish the world was built in a way that readers could go into the book with no prior knowledge of Greek mythology. 

Alright, so let’s talk about the characters. When reading the title, I assumed The Song of Achilles would be about, well, Achilles. However, it was told through Patrolclus’ point of view. Luckily, I loved that! Patroclus is such a likable character. He’s empathetic and goes through a lot of growth throughout the story. He also had such an intuitive nature. He was kind and determined in such a powerful yet quiet way. Unfortunately though, I was not fond of Achilles. He was selfish. Achilles did anything he could to protect his honour, even if it meant hurting the ones he loved. To me, there is nothing honourable about that. Also, I disliked the way women were portrayed in the book. They were constantly seen as ‘lesser beings’. It made me very uncomfortable, and definitely affected my overall enjoyment of the story. On a better note, I absolutely loved Briseis!! She was such a charming character, and is basically the female version of Patroclus, but much more inquisitive. Moreover, I loved seeing the different relationships Patroclus had with the characters. Achilles and Patroclus had such a unique dynamic, they worked so well together.

“Her safety for my honour. Are you happy with your trade?” “There is no honour in betraying your friends.” ― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

Luckily, I adored the dialogue! It really tugged on my heartstrings. The dialogue carried so much emotion. One thing I loved about the story, was how intense the character interactions were. It could literally just be Patroclus and some random side character – but the way Madeline Miller executes these scenes elevates the book to a whole new level. 

The writing in The Song of Achilles was impeccable! The prose was amazing. Madeline Miller’s writing style is truly captivating and beautiful. However, the pacing was very uneven. Within the span of a couple of pages, many years pass. This affected my overall enjoyment of the story, because it left no time for me to wonder what would happen next. Something minor that also annoyed me a teensy bit, was how often the words ‘swollen bellies’ were used. I believe it was used as a synonym for pregnant, but it was simply too repetitive. 

“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”
― Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles

Overall, The Song of Achilles was a unique experience. It was out of my comfort zone, so I’m really happy I read it! While I couldn’t overlook some aspects of the story, I definitely recommend this novel to new historical fiction fans. However, if you’re new to greek mythology like me, be sure to read the glossary at the back of the book. I’m sure my reading experience would have been better if I could connect more with the wold building. Also, the ending was also incredibly frustrating. Nevertheless, it sure is an unforgettable story. 🙂

Age Rating: 16 and up

TW: For the full list of trigger warnings, I suggest this site.

Final Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5 stars, or 8.5/10

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Have you read this book? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful day, and thank you for reading!

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Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World | An ARC Review

Hiya! I hope your day is going well. Today I’m going to be reviewing Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Ari and Dante #2). I absolutely adored the first book, however I do have some conflicted feelings about the second installment in the series. And yes, I’m aware this book came out in Septmber. In my head, I had already posted this review. Sorry about that! Without further ado, here is my review!

PS: Thank you Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Ari has spent all of high school burying who he really is, staying silent and invisible. He expected his senior year to be the same. But something in him cracked open when he fell in love with Dante, and he can’t go back. Suddenly he finds himself reaching out to new friends, standing up to bullies of all kinds, and making his voice heard. And, always, there is Dante, dreamy, witty Dante, who can get on Ari’s nerves and fill him with desire all at once. The boys are determined to forge a path for themselves in a world that doesn’t understand them. But when Ari is faced with a shocking loss, he’ll have to fight like never before to create a life that is truthfully, joyfully his own.

This book will fill your heart with joy and warmth, but will also break it into tiny little pieces. 

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is a story about everyday life, the transition from boyhood to adulthood, and of course, discovering the secrets of the universe. While there wasn’t a particular plot, there is an abundance of character development. Moreover, character growth can lead to broken and mended relationships. This novel is a prime example of that.

Let’s talk about the infamous main characters of the book; Aristotle and Dante. Throughout the story, the two go through many changes. (No, not puberty.) They discover what it means to live, grow, and love. In this novel, Ari does all the things he was too scared to do in the previous book. He uses his senior year to reconnect with old friends and family. His journey to rediscovering the world around him is so incredibly beautiful and heart-wrenching. You can definitely see the difference between how he handled situations in the first book, versus in the second one. It’s truly refreshing to see how much he’s changed. Of course, some things will always stick — like Ari’s quiet nature, and his love for running. Furthermore, because of their growth and development, Aristotle and Dante’s relationship begins to shift. Without spoiling too much, many of their falling outs seemed out of place and sudden. It simply didn’t make sense to me. 

In addition, the side characters were a delight. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World has by far the most well-crafted side characters I’ve ever seen in literature. They are incredibly unique, and even go through development themselves. I also love that the side characters don’t interfere much with Aristotle and Dante. They each go through their own personal journeys, which I found to be quite endearing.

The dialogue in Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is absolutely remarkable. Almost every sentence in the book is quotable. However, some lines in the beginning of the story were a bit too cheesy for my liking. Nevertheless, the author gives us readers a huge stack of writing to ponder on.

Furthermore, the writing was done incredibly well. In comparison to Aristotle and Dante (#1)  the writing felt more mature, which definitely added to Ari’s development throughout the story. It’s also quite engaging, which I absolutely loved considering the length of the novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book! It’s snarky, emotional, and was an unpredictable finale to the series. While I disliked the ending, I still recommend Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World to all Benjamin Alire Sáenz fans!

Age Rating: 15 and up

TW: OCD, Depression, Anxietysome us of alcohol

Final Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars, or 9/10

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Have you read this duology? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful day, and thank you for reading!

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Vicious | A Review

Hiya!! I hope your day is going amazing. Today I’ll be reviewing Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, so I really want to read more books like it. If you have any similar recommendations, send them my way. Anyways, enjoy!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is synopsis.png

(Synopsis from GoodReads)

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Based on the synopsis, I wasn’t sure what I’d be in for. Luckily, I really enjoyed my time with Vicious! As the story progressed, I found myself constantly wanting to read on. The premise is just that unique. 

The main characters however, were a whole other story. While I was fascinated by Eli and Victor, they weren’t particularly likeable. They were extremely self-centered and did more harm than good. But then again, I don’t know if Eli and Victor were even meant to be likeable from the start. They’re both morally grey characters. This may sound bizarre, but Eli and Victor heavily resemble anime antagonists. I’ve never been able to make this comparison in other books, so it was quite intriguing. Furthermore, there was no character development at all. This led them to feel dull and unlikeable. 

“You don’t understand,” gasped Eli. “No one understands.”

“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”

V.E. Schwab, Vicious

In addition, the side characters were also very unique. Both Eli and Victor had allies who were related. Tween Sydney worked alongside Victor, while Sydney’s older sister Serena worked with Eli. I found this to be quite an interesting subplot as the two sisters were unofficial rivals throughout the story.

Moreover, the dialogue was done really well. It was gritty and full of wit. Which dare I say, is an awesome combination.

“The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.”
― V. E. Schwab, Vicious

The writing style was very distinctive. V.E. Schwab writes with such eccentricity and elegance, allowing their books to always be must-reads. Vicious is written in third person, but it feels like you’re reading a first-person novel. You can definitely feel the emotions the characters are experiencing as you read. Unfortunately though, I disliked the ending. Without giving away too much, it was very anti-climatic. 

Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading Vicious. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and was incredibly gripping. If you love morally grey characters, urban fantasy, or superheroes, then I highly recommend this one!

Age Rating: 15 and up

Trigger Warnings: Violence

Overall Rating: 8/10 or 4 out of 5 stars

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Have you read any of V.E. Schwab’s novels? Have a great day!

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Love Is a Revolution | A Review

Hiya!! I’m back with another review. I actually assumed I posted this one, but I guess I forgot to. Nevertheless I am here with a review of the lovely novel; Love Is a Revolution by Rennee Watson! This was actually a buddy read with the (awesome) April @ Booked Till Midnight . Alrighty, let’s get into it!

Love Is a Revolution : Watson, Renée: Amazon.ca: Books

(Synopsis from GoodReads)

When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery. In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.

Love Is a Revolution is a timeless coming of age that you won’t want to miss this year!

The initial premise of the book immediately intrigued me as stories regarding self-love aren’t very common in fiction. Unfortunately though, the message of loving oneself was too obvious for me. I usually like to look for a deeper meaning, but in this case, I was already presented with the message. 

“I can’t stand when people don’t follow through. Make a plan, stick to it. Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
― Renée Watson, Love Is a Revolution

In addition, the characters weren’t very likable. While I can appreciate the different relationship dynamics the main character Nala has with others, she wasn’t a very kind person. She’s closeminded, and constantly lies to her crush in order to impress him. However, she never truly accepts that what she did was wrong. Furthermore, there was a lot of girl-on-girl hate, which I am not fond of. On a better note, I adored Tye, Nala’s crush. He was extremely likable and added a real spark to the book. 

Luckily, I adored the dialogue in Love Is A Revolution. It was the right amount sparky and heartfelt. 

“You two are family. Family. That alone ought to be enough for you to respect each other. You’re also two women. Black women. The most radical thing you can do is love yourself and each other.”
― Renée Watson, Love Is a Revolution

I was very conflicted when it came to the writing. It was done very nicely. At times it was beautifully poetic! Other times though, it was too simple. This unfortunately made the moral of the story seem blunt and on-the-nose. 

Overall, I enjoyed my time with Love Is A Revolution. While it didn’t exceed my expectations, I can definitely appreciate its message. If you’re looking for a book on self-love, then this is definitely the book for you!

Age Rating: 13 and up

Trigger Warnings: Lying

Overall Rating: 6.5/10 or 3.25 out of 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐

Have you read a book with self-love themes? Have a fabulous day!

Most recent post ➡️ The Holiday Switch | A Review

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The Holiday Switch | A Review

Merry (belated) Christmas to all those who celebrate! I hope your holiday season was filled with joy, and maybe some festive reads too. Speaking of festivity, today I’ll be reviewing The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo. Enjoy!

The Holiday Switch: Marcelo, Tif: 9780593379554: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from GoodReads)

Lila Castro is ready to take on her last winter break of high school. The snow is plentiful, the mood is full of holiday cheer, and she’s earning extra cash working at the cozy local inn. But her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Veracruz, becomes her coworker. When they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they both realize they’ve been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets–and a dash of holiday spirit–bring them closer to love?

The Holiday Switch was the cozy read I was looking for this holiday season. It’s both fun and festive!

The main characters Teddy and Lila are strong characters, but only on their own. Their interactions were cute, but the chemistry just wasn’t there. One thing that made me uncomfy was that Teddy borderline threatened to spill Lila’s secret if she spilled his. Without spoiling too much, the issue wasn’t called out much. This also made me uncomfortable because Lila is in high school, and Teddy is not. Yes, she’s eighteen. However, this doesn’t excuse the fact that she was practically threatened by a college student.  

On a better note, I loved how family was represented in the book. Lila is the oldest sibling, and has a lot of pressure to do well in life. I think many teenagers will relate to her in that sense. Lila also has a book blog, which was so cool because if it wasn’t obvious, I do too! 😆 

“Books are an escape. Books are a reminder that opposites can exist at the same time, both good and bad, positive and negative.”
― Tif Marcelo, The Holiday Switch

In addition, the dialogue didn’t sound like something teens today would say. For example, phrases like ‘har har’ aren’t sayings kids use often. Fortunately, there was some great talk about the importance of representation in the media. I really liked that aspect of the book. 

Moreover, the writing was very clunky. I found myself frequently re-reading sentences. This unfortunately did decrease my enjoyment of the book. Luckily, the story was very cozy. From sledding to drinking hot cocoa, the warm-and-fuzzy vibes in The Holiday Switch were amazing!  


Overall, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped. The Holiday Switch was cozy though, so if that’s your jam then I recommend this book!

Age Rating: 14 and up

Trigger Warnings: Blackmailing

Overall Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 out of 5 stars

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What’s your favourite Christmas-themed book? Have a wonderful day!

Yesterday’s post ➡️ The Best Books I Read in 2021!

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A Song Below Water | A Review

Hiya! Today I will be reviewing the contemporary fantasy YA novel; A Song Below Water By Bethany C Morrow. Enjoy!

A Song Below Water: A Novel: Amazon.ca: Morrow, Bethany C.: Books

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.

Let’s talk about the plot! The original premise sounded so incredibly bone rattling and revolutionary! The execution however, let me down. The whole story was very confusing, and many of the magical creatures weren’t explained beforehand. As someone who doesn’t know much about magical realism and fantasy, I was extremely confused. I also longed for more social commentary. I felt like there was barely any, which is such a shame as it could have made this book 10 times more enjoyable.

Fortunately though, I liked the main characters. Effy and Tavia had the best relationship! It was just the sweetest. I absolutely loved the talk about black hair! I actually learnt quite a bit about black hair through A Song Below Water. Wallace was another great character. He was kind, charismatic, and charming. At times I felt as though Effy was cold towards Wallace for absolutely no reason whatsoever. For example, he’d try to help her, and she’d snap at him. The fluctuation from I-love-Wallace to I-hate-Wallace was a bit off, and didn’t transition smoothly.

“We should all speak like sirens. Use our voices to make a difference, because all of them matter.”

― Bethany C. Morrow, A Song Below Water

Tavia’s parents were dislikeable, and their actions where discriminatory towards sirens. (Tavia is a siren by the way.) Fortunately, I was very intrigued to see the father-daughter dynamic play out, so that was cool! Moreover, the other side characters such as Naema and Priam were flat out mean. I won’t talk much about the actual actions some characters made as I don’t want to give spoilers. However, it seemed that a lot of their actions were done ‘just because,’ and didn’t have any meaning behind doing so.

The dialogue between Effy and Tavia was the best thing ever! I absolutely adored their late night talks! If you’re looking for a story about sisters, do check out A Song Below Water. I also loved how Tavia and Effy used sign language to communicate when Tavia was not able to speak. Sign language is something hard to find in YA novels, let alone fictional novels! As mentioned previously, I was hoping for more talk about the discrimination that sirens, let alone African Americans, face.

“What we need isn’t dissuading, or discouragement, or consoling. We don’t need to be told we’re all helpless. What we need is action.”

― Bethany C. Morrow, A Song Below Water

For the most part, the writing style felt choppy and hard to follow. I did however, like how I was able to distinguish between Effy and Tavia’s point of views. In many books, it’s hard to tell which character’s head the readers are in, but with A Song Below Water, I was able to distinguished perfectly between the two! They each had their own unique way of thinking, and I’m so glad the author delved into that vigorously! The best thing about the book though, was that there was barely any swearing or cursing! Isn’t that amazing? I don’t know about you, but it left me feeling very happy.

I’m sad to say that the overall enjoyment level of A Song Below Water wasn’t very high. I was way too confused to feel completely immersed in the story. It took me over 200 pages to get into the storyline. Fortunately, the plot was whimsical perfection, so that added to the overall enjoyment of the book!

A Song Below Water was an enlightening read that I recommend to whimsical fiction lovers!

Age Rating: 12 and up

TW: Police brutality, forced outing, colorism, racism, talk of murder, bullying, cyber bullying

Final Rating: 6/10 or 3 stars

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Have you read A Song Below Water? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! Have a wonderful day!

(PS: If anyone’s curious, I posted a pic of this novel on my bookstagram)

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How To Request A Review

Want to request a review? Well you have come to the right place! Anyone can request a review. Whether you’re an email follower, an author, or another blogger, it doesn’t matter! If you are unsure of the eligibility of the review request, simply email sunnysidereviewssk@gmail.com. Please read my review policy before requesting a review, thank you!

How to Request a Review; A Step by Step Guide

First and foremost, in order to request a review, you must be following this blog. This is to ensure that you will get notified when I post the review. Secondly, please send me an email with the following information (in order).

  1. Your full name, and the name of the publishing company (if applicable.)
  2. The name of the book you’d like me to review
  3. The author of the book
  4. The book genre
  5. Please indicate that you have read my review policy, and this post.

And that’s it! I will send an email stating that I will either review it, or politely decline the offer. Please note that if I do decline any review requests, do not pursue it any further with me. Thank you for understanding.

In what form do you enjoy reading books in?

Here are my preferred formats in order from most to least favorite.

  1. Physical Copies
  2. Ebooks and PDFs
  3. Audiobooks

I do not read books on Kindle.

My Preferred Genres

I enjoy reading…

  • Young Adult Contemporary (favorite genre)
  • Middle grade novels
  • I love diverse stories and narratives!
  • Manga
  • Graphic novels

I will typically not read any books with no specified age rating.

I will not review…

  • erotica
  • non-fiction
  • horror or thrillers

When Will the Review Be Published?

Please note that all review requests will most likely be up on my blog by the end of December 2022, if requested before then. However, please understand that I am a very busy person and might not meet that date. Upon request, I am willing to post my review on other platforms as well.

I kindly ask that you send all inquiries, proposals, and questions to sunnysidereviewssk@gmail.com Please do not post any questions or requests in the comment section of this post as it might go to spam.

Have a wonderful day, I cannot wait to see the books you request!

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Contact

Hi there! Want to contact me? Well then you came to the right place!

Add me as a friend, or follow me on Goodreads!

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For business inquiries, or if you’d simply like to chat, use this email!

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I am open to any collaborations, sponsorships, partnerships, ARCs, buddy reads, blog tours, giveaway proposals, and projects! If you have something else in mind, feel free to contact me as well! Please note that if I do decline any proposal, please do not pursue it any further with me. Thank you for understanding.

All the best,

Saniya K

Let’s Beat The Backlist My Friends!

It’s officially 2021. Let’s get it right this year!

This year the lovely Austine, and Katie from @https://www.novelknight.com/ are hosting their Beat The Backlist Challenge! And since my TBR is at a raging 100+ books, I decided to participate! Want to participate? Use the link above and it’ll give you all the details. It’s completely free and a great way to get rid of your TBR!

The rules are simple…

  • The book must be published in the previous year or earlier (for the 2021 challenge, anything published in 2020 or earlier counts).
  • You have to start and finish the book in 2021.

If you are participating, let me know, and we can track our progress together! Also, if you have a book in mind, I’m totally open to collaborating for a review or post. Just email me, and I’ll be more than happy to work with you!

That’s all for now! Have a great day or night everyone!

#BeatTheBacklist2021
#BeatTheBacklist
#BTB2021
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