Made in Manhattan | A Review

Hiya! I hope your day is going great. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review. So here are my thoughts on Made in Manhattan by Lauren Layne. Enjoy!

(Synopsis from GoodReads)

Violet Townsend has always been a people pleaser. Raised in the privileged world of Upper East Side Manhattan, she always says the right things, wears the right clothes, and never rocks the boat. Violet would do anything for the people closest to her, especially her beloved grandmother. So when she asks Violet to teach the newly-discovered grandson of her friend how to fit in with New York City’s elite, Violet immediately agrees. Her goal? To get Cain Stone ready to take his place as heir to his family company…but to say he’s not exactly an eager student is an understatement. Born and raised in rural Louisiana and now making his own way in New Orleans, Cain Stone is only playing along for the paycheck at the end. He has no use for the grandmother he didn’t know existed and no patience for the uppity Violet’s attempts to turn him into a suit-wearing, museum-attending gentleman.

But somewhere amidst antagonistic dinner parties and tortured tux fittings, Cain and Violet come to a begrudging understanding—and the uptight Violet realizes she’s not the only one doing the teaching. As she and Cain begin to find mutual respect for one another (and maybe even something more), Violet learns that blindly following society’s rules doesn’t lead to happiness…and that sometimes the best things in life come from the most unexpected places.

Made in Manhattan is the perfect read for die-hard city girls, and I loved every bit of it!

Now, I’m not going to lie. When I first picked up this book, I thought it’d be boring. Luckily, I was very surprised!

The main character Violet was kind and likable. Violet’s growth throughout the book was very refreshing to see! I loved how it was evident that she was learning from her mistakes, and recognizing things she needed to work on. One underlying message I loved is that it goes to show that developing as a person is possible without changing your physical appearance. The other main character Cain was interesting too. At first, I didn’t love his cold demeanour. But as the story progressed, my assumptions were quickly proven wrong. He was such an understanding person towards the end. It was definitely great to see his personality develop as well. Violet’s friends and family were also such great supporting characters!

Unfortunately, I didn’t always love the dialogue. Sometimes, Violet tried too hard to come up with a comeback or insult. It came off as cringy most times. Other interactions were genuinely funny though, which helped to balance out the cringe I felt. 

On a great note, the writing really hooked me! It was elegant yet hilarious. Made in Manhattan is also very fast-paced, which I adored. Because of its pace, I finished the book in 24 hours! The author also provided awesome insight into New York and Manhattan. It really added to the city-vibe of the story.

I really enjoyed this fun and swoon-worthy read! It’s the perfect book to read when you just want to relax and not think too much. Overall, I highly recommend Made in Manhattan!

Age Rating: 16 and up

Trigger Warnings: Death of parents (off-page)

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

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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Spring TBR 2022!

Hey everyone! Long time no see. I hope your doing well! Today I’ll be talking about all the books I want to read during spring. I tried to pick out both winter and summer-themed books to match the ever-changing weather. With that said, onto the TBR!

(PS: Click on the covers of the books to add them to Goodreads.)

1. Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

Did I obtain a copy of this book in the winter?…yes. Did I forget to read it during the winter?…also yes.

2. Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

If you’ve read my Most Anticipated Releases of 2022, then you’d know I’m very excited for this book. I also have an ARC of this one, and cannot wait to read it! (Thank you Simon and Schuster!)

3. The Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

This book has been on my TBR for so long, and the synopsis sounds amazing too!

4. All the Right Reasons by Bethany Mangle

The cover is so cute, I hope to read it soon!

5. If You Change Your Mind by Robby Webber

Summer is only a couple months away! So why not crank out the summer-themed books now?

6. So This is Everafter by F.T. Lukens

F.T. Lukens is one of my favorite authors, hence why I’m so excited to read their new release!

7. By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

I have an eARC of this and love the premise. I mean, who doesn’t love a Beauty and the Beast retelling?

8. You and Me and the End of the World by Brianna Bourne

I’ve never read a book like this before, so I can’t wait to try it out!

9. The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

I haven’t read many mysteries lately, so I definitely want to read this one before summer.

10. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

I’ve been reading TikTok books lately, and so far they haven’t disappointed. Fourth time’s a charm?

And that’s the list! I’ll be back with a summer TBR in June. Also, if you’d like to buddy read any of these, do let me know! Buddy reads are always fun.

What are you planning to read this season? Let me know in the comments! Have a fabulous day!

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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

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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My Most Anticipated Releases of 2022!

Hi everyone! Here are my most anticipated releases of 2022! There are so many new releases I’m excited for, so it was difficult to narrow the list down to just twenty. Anyways, let’s get into it!

(PS: Click on the book covers for the Goodreads links.)

1. Golden Girls by Reem Faruqi

Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi

If there’s any indication as to how I look like in real life, it’s the girl on the cover; Aafiyah! Well, at least they look like me as a kid. 😆

Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022

2. Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

I’ve actually been in Scrabble competitions before, and adore the game. So when I found out there’d be a Scrabble mystery with a Muslim MC coming out this year, I was extremely excited!

Publication Date: April 19th, 2022

3. Salaam, with Love by Sara Sharaf Beg

I’ve been in a big book hangover since SK Ali’s Love From A to Z. It was just too good! So I’m hoping this’ll be as amazing too.

Publication Date: January 4th, 2022

4. Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas

I’ve been anticipating Squire for over a year now, so I can’t wait for it’s release! It’s also a graphic novel, which makes me even more excited!

Publication Date: March 8th, 2022

5. So This Is Ever After by F. T. Lukens

After loving the author’s book In Deeper Waters, I was incredibly happy to know that F.T. Lukens would be releasing a new book. The cover is giving me major Merlin vibes, and I’m loving it! I also interviewed the author, you can find that post here!

Publication Date: March 29th, 2022

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6. Beauty and the Besharam by Lillie Vale

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I’m beyond excited for this YA retelling of it! Not to mention that it also had desi representation too!

Publication Date: May 10th, 2022

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7. Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl by Joya Goffney

Last year I read Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by the author, and I can’t wait for this one as well. Also, isn’t Joya Goffney the queen of book titles?

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022

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8. You, Me, and Our Heartstrings by Melissa See

This book has disabled representation, which is something don’t see very often in YA novels. I know I say this with every book on this list, but I am so excited for this!!

Publication Date: May 31st, 2022

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9. As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh

This seems like such a heartbreaking book. I just know I’m going to love it!

Publication Date: September 2022

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10. Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee

I mean, who doesn’t love books about books?

Publication Date: July 26th, 2022

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11. Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey

Ahhh this looks amazing! We love seeing powerful women!!

Publication Date: June 14th, 2022

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12. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

This sounds so heartwrenching. Akwaeke Emezi is such a unique writer, I can’t wait to read this one!

Publication Date: May 24th, 2022

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13. Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu

This cover is everything to me! I’m always a sucker for a good contemporary, and this seems right up my alley.

Publication Date: July 12th, 2022

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14. One for All by Lillie Lainoff

The Three Musketeers was my favorite story as a child, so I cannot wait to read this one! Also, just look at that stunning cover!

Publication Date: March 8th, 2022

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15. Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson

Last year, I read Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson, and I still think it today. It was such an amazing book, so naturally I’m interested in this one too!

Publication Date: March 29th, 2022

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16. Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood

I adore books set in winter, and this one seems perfectly winter-y~.

Publication Date: July 5th, 2022

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17. The Girl in White by Lindsay Currie

I’ve read two books by Lindsay Currie now, so of course I have to read this one too! I adore their writing style, it’s so amazingly eerie.

Publication Date: September 2022

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18. An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan

 

Retellings are my thing! So I can’t wait for this Romeo and Juliet retelling! Also, I’ve been wanting to get into different types of mythologies. So when I found out this book was inspired by Chinese Mythology, I was so excited!

Publication Date: April 12th, 2022

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19. Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions by Navdeep Singh Dhillon

Any book with Sunny in the title catches my attention instantly. 😆 I mean, my nickname is Sunny — it’s also part of my blog name. Jokes aside, I’ve been warning to read more books with desi representation, and this one seems really fun!

Publication Date: February 8th, 2022

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20. The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid by Nita Prose

Mysteries and thrillers are one of my favorite genres, and The Maid just looks so intriguing. I also adore this cover! It’s so simplistic yet eye-catching.

Publication Date: January 4th, 2022

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Alrighty folks, those are my most anticipated releases of the year! If you want to buddy read any of these, do let me know! Buddy reads are always so fun.

What are your most anticipated reads of 2022? Let me know in the comments! Have a fabulous day!

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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

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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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When You Get the Chance | An ARC Review

Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord. Enjoy!

PS: Thank you Netgalley and St Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book.

(Synopsis from GoodReads)

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.

There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along? 

From the musical theatre references to an authentic look at New York, this is THE book for musical theatre fans!

When You Get the Chance is joyful, fun, and very hilarious. While I didn’t understand many of the theatre references made, I did enjoy the main plot! The book follows a teen named Millie, as she travels across New York to search for her long-lost mother. At times, it was difficult to keep track of all the potential moms she was meeting. However, I quickly found myself itching to see who would end up being her mother.

The characters in When You Get the Chance were a delight! Millie is such a bold person, but in the best way possible. In many books, bold characters are usually rude. This wasn’t the case here though. Millie is kind and eccentric, I adored her! Her family and friends were also very off-beat, and I loved that!

Furthermore, the banter between Millie and her ‘enemy’ Oliver was really funny! They got under each other’s skin without flat-out insulting one another. This made for some very interesting dialogue. 😆

Much like the dialogue, the writing was hilarious! There weren’t many pop culture references. However, the writing contained a lot of Gen-Z slang and quotes. Thankfully, it wasn’t cringy and was done very well!

Overall, I enjoyed When You Get the Chance. While I found the plot to be slightly overwhelming, I’m sure that theatre fans would love this one!

Age Rating: 14 and up

Trigger Warnings: Parental Abandonment

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

⭐⭐⭐

Have you read any of Emma Lord’s novels? Have a great day!

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Book Tour: You Truly Assumed // Author Interview and a book-inspired mood board!

Hiya! Today I’ll be interviewing the lovely Laila Sabreen, who’s the author of You Truly Assumed. Enjoy!

PS: An ARC of the book was provided to me by Qamar Blog Tours and Inkyard Press as part of a promotional tour.

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen

Book Info

Book Title: You Truly Assumed 

Author: Laila Sabreen

Genre: Young Adult Fiction 

Publication Date: February 8th, 2022

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Cover illustration: Alex Cabal https://www.instagram.com/acaballz/

Cover design: Gigi Lau https://www.instagram.com/lau.gigi.lau/?hl=en

Synopsis

Dear White People meets Love, Hate, and Other Filters in this powerful, thought-provoking own-voices debut novel about three Black Muslim girls who create a space where they can shatter assumptions and share truths the country doesn’t see.

In this compelling and thought-provoking debut novel, after a terrorist attack rocks the country and anti-Islamic sentiment stirs, three Black Muslim girls create a space where they can shatter assumptions and share truths.

Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog’s popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they’ve worked for…or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

//Goodreads//Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Bookshop.org//

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Now onto the interview!

1. Hi there Laila! I’m so happy to have you with us here today! Before we begin, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Laila: Hi Saniya, thank you so much for having me! Three random facts about myself is that my favorite animals are ducklings, I enjoy watching reality tv to relax, and lastly, I actually used to also be a book blogger back when I was in high school!

Saniya: That’s so amazing, I think it’s awesome you were also a book blogger!

2. You Truly Assumed is like no other story I’ve ever read. It’s so heart-wrenching and very powerful. What inspired you to write such a thought-provoking story?

Laila: I was inspired to write You Truly Assumed based on everything that was going on around me at the time. When I started writing the book, that was around the time where the Muslim Ban was in the news and people were talking about anti-Muslim hate because of how it was being used politically. I was also processing the results of the 2016 election and how that impacted me as a young Black Muslim woman. The blogging aspect of the story was inspired by the last fun fact that I shared above! I enjoyed creating content, so I brought that past interest to You Truly Assumed as well!

3. Congratulations on your debut novel! You Truly Assumed is amazing! I can’t wait for other people to read it. If I may ask, what advice would you have given yourself when you first started writing?

Laila: Thank you so much! In terms of advice, one thing that I wish I would’ve told myself when I first started writing is that the first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be written. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and so I would often start stories and then lose interest when I realized I wasn’t able to get it down the way I envisioned it. But I’ve learned that getting it that way comes with through revising, and that the first draft is really just telling the story to myself.

4. The cover of You Truly Assumed is stunning! What was the cover design process like?

Laila: I absolutely love the cover of You Truly Assumed as well! The cover design process was super collaborative. I shared character inspiration to give an idea of how I envisioned the characters, and I also shared two cover artists whose style I really liked with my publishing team. One of those cover artists was available and interested in the project, which was so great! From there, I saw different cover sketches and was able to pick the one that I felt represented You Truly Assumed more. The hardest decision was deciding which color to go with for the cover, but I absolutely love the warm coral color in the background.

Saniya: I love the coral color too! It’s so beautiful.

5. Lastly, what do you hope readers will take away from your novel?

Laila: One message that I hope that readers will take away from YOU TRULY ASSUMED is that there’s no one way to make change! For example, with the blog, Sabriya writes the content, Zakat provides the illustrations and graphics, and Farah does a lot of the behind-the-scenes work with
coding and web design. Each character is making change, but they’re doing so in a way that’s unique to them and that they’re passionate about. So, I hope readers take away the message that they too can make change in a way that’s true to who they are!

Saniya: I love this message so much!

My You Truly Assumed Mood board!

Disclaimer: The pictures in the mood board are not mine.

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About the Author

Laila Sabreen is a writer of young adult contemporary. Raised in the Washington, DC area, she currently attends Emory University and majors in English and Sociology. Her love of writing began as a love of reading when she fell in love with the Angelina Ballerina series. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working on essays, creating playlists that are way too long, and watching This Is Us.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Twitter//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post! I hope you decide to check out You Truly Assumed. It’s an amazing book, and is so inspiring. Have a fabulous day!

January Wrap-Up!

Hi all! It’s been such a long time since I’ve done a wrap up. I hope to continue them though, because I love reading them on other blogs. This month, I read 8 novels — which is great considering I was in a big reading slump in late 2021. Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Novels I Read

(ARC) The Girl Who Ruined Christmas by Cindy Callaghan: (3.75 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was surprisingly good! It was funny and odd in the best ways possible. Review to come!

The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was really sweet. I’ll definitely be checking out more books by the author now.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: (4.25 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ I have so many mixed feelings on this book. I loved it, but also disliked it at times. Review to come!

The Double Life of Danny Day by Mike Thayer: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐The narrator of the audiobook really brought the characters to life! I highly recommend listening to it. Review to come!

(ARC) When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ I’m sorry to say that this book was a bit disappointing. You win some you lose some I guess. Review to come!

Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This book was so magical! Review to come.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐I was itching to read a thriller, and this was the perfect read for me! It had a sweet message, but was still very scary. I hope to continue the rest of the series as well. Review to come!

Partly Cloudy by Tanita S. Davis: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐ Unfortunately, I didn’t love this one as much as I had hoped. I think my expectations were too high. The cover is stunning though. Review to come!

Graphic Novels and Manga read

Children of the Whales Volume 5 by Abi Umeda: (4 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐The illustrations are beautifully done. It’s such an interesting series as well.

Shortcake Cake Volume 10 by Suu Morishita: (3.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The plot was a bit too confusing in this volume. It’s still a fun series though!

The Promised Neverland Volume 20 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu: (4.5 out of 5 stars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was the last volume in the series! I loved the earlier volumes, but didn’t particularly like the ending of the story.

This was a picture I did for the Game On book tour TBRandBeyond Tours hosted!

Total Number Of Books Read: 11

Total Number Of Posts Published: 5

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

Some of my goals for February include…

  • Finish two Netgalley ARCs
  • Read 5 novels
  • Drink lots of water

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my January in books, I’d love to know about yours too! Have a lovely day!

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Blog Tour: Game On // Author Interview with Laura Silverman!

Hiya everyone! Today I’ll be hosting a blog tour stop for Game On by Laura Silverman, as well as a collection of other (lovely) authors. I hope you enjoy!

Game On by Laura Silverman

Book Info

Title: Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between Edited by Laura Silverman

Genre: Young Adult Anthology

Publication Date: January 18th, 2022

Synopsis

A charming and inclusive YA anthology all about games–from athletic sports to board games to virtual reality–from editor Laura Silverman and an all-star cast of contributors.

From the slightly fantastical to the utterly real, light and sweet romance to tales tinged with horror and thrills, Game On is an anthology that spans genre and style. But beneath each story is a loving ode to competition and games perfect for anyone who has ever played a sport or a board game, picked up a video game controller, or rolled a twenty-sided die.

A manhunt game is interrupted by a town disappearing beneath the players’ eyes. A puzzle-filled scavenger hunt emboldens one college freshman to be brave with the boy she’s crushing on. A series of summer nights full of card games leads a boy to fall for a boy who he knows is taken. And a spin the bottle game could end a life-long friendship.

Fifteen stories, and fifteen unforgettable experiences that may inspire readers to start up that Settlers of Catan game again.

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

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

Now onto the interview!

1. Hi there! I’m so excited to have you with us Laura! Before we begin, do you mind sharing some random facts about yourself?

Laura: Thanks so much for having me! Let’s see…random
facts…I started my own Etsy shop a few months ago. I design candles, notebooks, and other cute gifts for writers! I also started playing chess during the pandemic and got pretty decent at it. And if I could afford it, I would eat sushi every day of my life.

Saniya: I think it’s so cool you have an Etsy Shop! Chess is one of my favourite board games, so it’s awesome to know that you took it up recently.

2. Your upcoming 2022 release is an incredible young adult anthology. What is your favourite part about creating short story collections? 

Laura: My favorite part is working with so many amazing authors! It’s seriously been such a gift to collaborate with these brilliant writers. They are all so kind and creative, and I know readers will love these stories as much as I do!

3. Game On includes a variety of sports. As a child, was there ever a sports player who inspired you? If so, who?

Laura: *averts eyes with camera* I can’t say I had a sports idol as a child.
I did love watching the Olympics and even got to attend the Atlanta Olympics when I say six. But that’s what I love about this anthology! There’s a type of game in here for everyone – from sports to board games to videos games and puzzles, there are competitions for everyone to get excited about!

Saniya: That’s what I love about Game On! There’s something for everyone.

4. Lastly, what is your favourite board game and why?

Laura: I love so many! Like I mentioned, I really got into chess this past year. I also loved playing a fairly new game called Wingspan. But my absolute favorite still has to be Settlers of Catan. I used to play it every week in
graduate school with fellow anthology contributors Kika Hatzopoulou, Amanda Joy, and Anna Meriano! It was really special working on this anthology with them since we bonded over both writing and games. Quick pitches for their stories – Kika wrote a really fun Mafia story where our MC is unsure whether or not she’s on a first date with the girl she likes, Amanda wrote an incredible love/hate story about teammates on a cheer squad, and Anna wrote a delightful romcomedy of errors about muggle quidditch and crushing on your roommate!

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About the Author

Laura Silverman is an author and freelance editor and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. Her books include Girl Out of Water, You Asked for Perfect, It’s a Whole Spiel, Recommended for You, Up All Night, and the upcoming Game On. Girl Out of Water was a Junior Library Guild Selection, and You Asked for Perfect was named to best teen fiction lists by YALSA, Chicago Public Library, and the Georgia Center for the Book. You can contact Laura on Twitter @LJSilverman1 or through her website LauraSilvermanWrites.com.

//Website//Instagram//Goodreads//Twitter//

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop post! I hope you decide to check out Game On. It’s an amazing book, and there’s truly a story for everyone. Have a fabulous day!

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!

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(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

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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