Review: Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornburgh

Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornburgh

Published by: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: July 11h 2017

Genres: YA Contemporary/LGBTQIA+

Pages: 400

Format: eGalley

   

*Many thanks to HarperCollins, Edelweiss, and Blair Thornburgh for the eGalley copy of Who’s That Girl in exchange for an honest opinion

Junior Nattie McCullough is totally OK with her place in life: Latin whiz. Member of the school’s gay-straight alliance. Joni Mitchell superfan. Seventeen-year-old who has never been kissed. So when last summer’s crush and her former classmate—Young Lungs lead singer Sebastian Delacroix—comes back to town with his new hit single “Natalie,” she can’t bring herself to believe it could possibly be about her…could it?

As Nattie sorts through the evidence (the lyrics, Sebastian’s elusive text messages, and their brief romantic encounter last year), the song’s popularity skyrockets, and everyone starts speculating about “Natalie’s” identity. If that wasn’t mortifying enough, Nattie runs into another problem: her confusing, flirtation-packed feelings for her good friend Zach. With her once-average life upended, Nattie is determined to figure out once and for all if her short-lived past with Sebastian was something love songs are made of—or just a one-hit wonder.

Who’s That Girl in many ways felt like a blast from the past to my High School days. A time when you’re dealing with all sorts of emotions and also self identity not to mention, your first shots to the heart *insert pesky cupid here* When we first meet Nattie, she is OBSESSED with Pixstagram which as you’ve probably guessed is this books version of Instagram HAHA! On this app she keeps up with Sebastian and his band as they grow  their fandom. Sebastian graduated the previous year & they had 1 brief encounter that could be seen as romantic. Well for Nattie that one brief encounter was all she needed to feel a “connection” & when Sebastian’s song “Natalie” hits the air waves, she is convinced. Mostly Nattie feels admired by Sebastian but then she starts feeling self conscious about the lyrics which then leads to her trying to remain anonymous. To distract her from Pixstagram every once in a while are Nattie’s crew of friends who were my personal fave parts of this book. Nattie’s best friend Tess is a lesbian & she’s trying to bring the school together for a dance that would be inclusive of all those who fall in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. We see Nattie & crew come up with ways to raise funds for this dance & deal with opposition. Now, there is sort of a love triangle if you’re counting Sebastian as a thing…I sure didn’t haha!

Our main protagonist Nattie wasn’t my favorite in this book & that’s only because her stream of conciousness was a bit difficult to follow. At times she does come off as annoying because her actions contradict what she’s saying she doesn’t want to happen. Specifically that she doesn’t want anyone to know she’s the infamous Natalie but continues to pursue Sebastian in public venues. The book however has some amazing secondary characters that I LOVED!…

*The Parentals- AKA the funniest parents I’ve come across in a very long time! & REAL! when we meet mom & dad they are getting on each others nerves over backyard projects that will make the neighbors raise a brow. I loved reading their dialogue & shaking my head at how authentic they come off. Their relationship with Nattie, specifically dad with Nattie made me heart smile more than once. If you’ve been around my blog a bit, you know I have a soft spot for father/daughter relationships 😉

Tess- AKA the BFF and leader of the OWPALGBTQIA (you’ll have to read the book to get what this acronym stands for hehe) is legit ride or die for Nattie. Always there for Nattie, she will literally drop everything when she gets that Jamba alert. Tess is a lesbian who hasn’t come out to her parents yet & hopes to do so by hosting her high schools 1st all inclusive dance. Loved seeing this friendship play out through ups & downs.

The Crew (with some honorable mentions)- As a whole, I loved this group of friends! they were fun and truly caed about one another. They knew each others likes/dislikes down to who has an allergy to what. In other words, they were TIGHT!

Although the characters were not all individually fleshed out, we still spend enough time with them to get to know their personalities. They each have nicknames they refer to each other by which I found very 80’s like (Loved it!). My faves were Zach the Anarchist & Tall Zach, besides having the same first name they don’t have very much in common but they’re great friends. Tall Zach is gay, liked by many in the school, and just a sweet caring guy. Zach the Anarchist is sarcastic & loves to bake, he has no hairs on his tongue winning extra brownie points in my book.

Who’s That Girl is heavy in dialogue & I struggled a bit with Nattie’s inner monologue for the first half which is why I rated it a 3.5 stars. I guess I was way more invested in the crew & her parents that Nattie fell to the background. This is weird of me to say since she is who the story revolves around but not the most interesting in my opinion. This was however an absolute fun read with one of a kind friendships I could relate to which raised my appreciation. I have a thing for groups of friends that possibly dates back to The Breakfast Club & Nattie’s friends felt like coming back home ❤ ❤ ❤

Readers, I’m looking for more books that feature groups of friends you just can’t get enough of! please leave me some good recommendations & if you’ve read Who’s That Girl, who was your fave character?

WWW Wednesday 7/19/2017

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

*Covers—>GR Link*

I’m kind of cheating here since I meant to start this today but wasn’t feeling too well & decided to leave it for tomorrow. Well I did take a peak at the first page & knew if I flipped to the next page that I’d be saying goodbye to my beauty sleep lol. The map alone had me giggling because it’s set in NYC (my home city) & some of the places have been changed. J.P. Morgan Chase in the book is “J.P. Morgan Mansion” & there’s a “Schwab Mansion” that has me raising a brow haha! I had no idea this book is 500+ pages long until I checked in with my spreadsheet & that led to some re-arranging on what I’ll be reading for the rest of the month. I have a really good feeling about this book & i’m feeling a bit excited to read on my commute to work tomorrow. By the time this goes live, I should have already started this book 😉


I finished reading Who’s That Girl by Blaire Thornburgh this morning & will
have a review up by this Friday. I definitely feel this one ended much stronger than it’s Ok beginning. I’m still undecided on a rating but it’s looking like a 3.5-3.75 if I’m being honest. I really wanted to LOVE this book but for a book that is dialogue heavy, the first half struggled a bit. The characters however are perhaps the strongest part of this book & I have a few stand-out favorites. I’d recommend Who’s That Girl to anyone looking for more books based on friendship. Although there is somewhat of a romance in this book, the friendships play center stage & I appreciated that so much.


I also recently finished reading Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica, a Mystery/Suspense novel that made a fan out of me. I also wrote a review that you can check out here. This book had me up at all hours and very concerned for the characters. I spent a good portion of my morning looking into all of her books & trying to pick my next read. open to suggestions down in the comments <3’s

 


Once I’ve read The Last Magician, I will be diving right into The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. This book gives me dark, mysterious, and atmospheric vibes. I LOVE stories that take place in towns that have a story to tell. Sterling is probably not a town I’d like to live in but I wouldn’t mind being sucked in for a few days to unravel some secrets 😉

 


What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!


Review: Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Published by: Harlequin/Park Row Books

Date of Publication: June 27th 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Pages: 331

Format: eGalley

Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly

*HUGE thanks to Harlequin/Park Row Books, Netgalley, and Mary Kubica for the eGalley copy of Every Last Lie in exchange for an honest opinion

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL, Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow’s pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche. 

“The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us.” 

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

WoW! ok! here goes my attempt to write words that will do this book justice…I’ll start off by saying that this is my 1st book by Kubica & that I am now going to need all the monies just so that I can read all her other books smh haha! No but seriously, I have heard plenty about this author on all of the well known platforms & knew that I’d be reading her books at some point. Every Last Lie just so happened to pique my interest because it features a young mom as the protagonist as well as her deceased husband through alternating POV’s. As a young mom myself I thought hmmm…a relatable new character possibly? well sort of, in the sense that this can actually happen & unfortunately has to many others. I don’t know about you but I try to live an honest life & part of the reason for that is, I don’t want anyone to be hurt by anything left unsaid when my day comes. This book had me hooked from start to finish at all hours of the day & night. My heart went out to Clara who just lost her husband and is left with her 4 year old daughter & an infant son. She’s still in the post delivery months trying to adjust to her new life as mommy of 2. This is a time of exhaustion for Clara who is learning her new baby, his wants and needs and also adjusting to her post baby body. The last thing she could’ve fathomed was losing her husband in a tragic car accident.

It’s so easy to judge Clara as we read along and count the times she leaves her babies in the car with the windows down while she tries to get information on Nick’s death. The thing is, she’s doing the best she can & with that comes trying to console her 4 year old daughter who was in the car & miraculously walked away unharmed. Clara’s little girl is having recurring night terrors that wake her up running to the nearest safest hiding place. She’s running from “the bad man” but won’t say more than that which leaves Clara with so many questions & no answers. We see her try to put bits and pieces together on Nick’s state of affairs before his death and with that you see her make many assumptions. This is Clara trying to get some sort of closure on losing her husband & I felt every bit of desperation she was feeling.

Through alternating POV’s we get Nicks narrative before his tragic passing & I neither loved or hated him if I’m being honest. Nick is a man trying his hardest to provide for his wife & kids as a dentist with his own private practice. In a field that is extremely competitive, his office wasn’t doing well at all and this led to him making some very bad decisions. Decisions that he kept away from his wife who he loved & wasn’t trying to stress out with financial worries. He adored his beautiful wife & the comfortable life they lived and so instead chose to find other means of making money. We follow Nick from one bad decision to the next all the while knowing that it doesn’t end well.

The way Kubica chose to write Every last Lie was very effective in giving the reader a sense of desperation felt by both Nick and Clara. Nick had one foot in bankruptcy & the other in denial. Clara was coming off the hinges trying to piece together Nicks troubles. I kept rooting for Clara to get some closure & start living her new life but that wasn’t going to happen until she could separate fact from fiction. We see her turn over every rock looking for answers to questions about their financial ruin & their own marriage. I sat up reading & hoping that at the very least, Nick really loved his wife. Such a rollercoaster of a emotions during my time with this book but all I can say is, please READ this book! haha! If you’re someone who loves a good mystery/suspense novel on the beach, this is for you! If you’re getting your Fall TBR ready & filling it up with mystery/suspense, this is for you! I’m hooked *adds Kubica to auto-buy list*

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Lovely Bookworms! who has already read Every Last Lie? Thoughts? & for the Kubica fans, pretty please leave below your fave Kubica book 🙂


#ARCSTRAVAGANZA: Wild Beauty

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by Krysti at YA and Wine and Sarah at The Clever Reader to give book bloggers/bookstagrammers a chance to show off those ARCs/eARCs/Galleys! Comment on their weekly posts with a link to your own #ARCstravaganza blog post, or post a pic on Instagram using the #ARCstravaganza hashtag, and you will be entered to win an ARC copy of an upcoming YA novel! One winner will be chosen at random each month!

After reading & loving When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore late last year, I knew I’d be reading everything by this author. Fortunately, the wait wasn’t too long & this beautiful books started making its rounds. I am already super curious about the Nomeolvides women, the name “Nomeolvides” is made up of three Spanish words which translate into “Don’t forget me” All of McLemore’s books have the Magical Realism touch and this one is no different. Looking forward to diving right into the beautiful, magical, and lush writing McLemore is known for 🙂


Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

For more Bookish photos, follow LairOfBooks on Bookstagram 

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Published by: Feiwell & Friends

Date of Publication: October 3rd 2017

Genres: YA Fantasy/Magical Realism/LGBTQIA+

Pages: 320

 

Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.


Follow Lair Of Books on…

Instagram: @LairOfBooks

Twitter: @LairOfBooks

Goodreads: LairOfBooks

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently at the 50% mark in Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica and It’s either a case of me being a terrible detective OR Kubica is just that DAMN GOOD! I haven’t read any of her other books but have already added a few to my TBR. I think what also has me hooked in this mystery/suspense is that the protagonist is a young mom who I find very relatable. I won’t lie though (see what I did there, eh? lol) the husband in this book has me raising an eyebrow at my own LOL! I’m hoping to finish this one by tomorrow, I really need to know what really happened on the night Nick went to get Chinese food & I’ll leave it at that 😉

I recently read, reviewed, and LOVED The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee *all the hearts* & I genuinely miss these characters & how much fun it was to follow their adventures. This was hands down a 5 star read & was so happy to hear one of my fave characters (Felicity) in TGGTVAV is getting her own spin-off companion titled The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy slated for 2018 *excited* TGGTVAV is THE book to read this summer if you’re looking for diverse characters (POC & LGBTQIA+), Feminism in YA Historical/Fantasy, and non-stop laughs 😉


I recently read The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana & will have a review up this Friday 😉 I love Indian folklore and so it came as no surprise that I’d be very interested in this book. Although the first half had me feeling like it was following the same formula other books have…a Princess is married off to a tyranical maniac to keep the peace between two houses?…yes but, it actually ended up surprising me. Fate as implied by the title plays a big role & I enjoyed the way it was woven into the story. More to come on Friday…


Last time I featured my next two reads however, this time around I’ll be posting only one since I can’t seem to settle on a July “TBR” of sorts. I def think it’s the weather and the fact that I am busy with my little family, less reading & more mood reads lol. Originally I had planned on reading The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy however, the mood is calling for something much lighter cuz life has been hectic lately & so I’m going with my eGalley of Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornburgh. This book features a Latinx main protagonist in what may or may not be a love triangle. Now, typically I stay away from love triangles but guess what? I haven’t read very many from a Latinx perspective…Labyrinth Lost is the only title that comes to mind & so I shall. Also, I WAS Junior back in H.S. & so this read screams RELATABLE to me which is rare in YA & therefore a nice change of pace. This YA Contemporary seems to be full of diversity & I am ALL on board for that. Fingers crossed that I’ll love Junior Nattie McCullough 🙂

 

Edelweiss Synopsis (GR Synopsis wasn’t all that great) 

With the compulsive readability of Audrey, Wait! and Boy Meets Boy, Who’s That Girl by debut author Blair Thornburgh delivers laugh-out-loud awkward romantic encounters, a supportive LGBTQ organization, and too many cheesy lyrics to count.

Junior Nattie McCullough has always been that under-the-radar straight girl who hangs out in the cafeteria with her gay-straight alliance friends. She’s never been the girl that gets the guy, let alone the girl that gets a hit song named after her. But when last summer’s crush, smoking-hot musician Sebastian Delacroix, returns home to play a local show, that’s just what she gets. He and his band, the Young Lungs, have written a chart-topping single—“Natalie”—which instantly makes Nattie second guess everything she thought about their awkward non-kiss at that June pool party. That it was horrific. That it meant nothing. That Sebastian never gave her another thought.

Things get even more confusing when Nattie starts to develop feelings for her good friend Zach. With the song getting major airplay and her once-normal life starting to resemble the cover of a gossip magazine, Nattie is determined to figure out once and for all if her brief moment with Sebastian was the stuff love songs are made of—or just a one-hit wonder.

What are you wonderful bookworms currently reading? planning to read next? any good ones? & if you’re reading any of the ones I mentioned, let me know down in the comments what your 1st impressions were <3’s!

Waiting On Wednesday

Devils & Thieves (Devils & Thieves #1) by Jennifer Rush

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Pages: 336 pages

*click on cover for Goodreads

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at @Breaking The Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 thrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycle gangs from Jennifer Rush, author of the Altered saga–perfect for fans of Beautiful Creatures.

Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “kindled,” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn’t help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.

When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumor begins spreading that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.

No idea how Devils & Thieves managed to slip from under my radar but it did & so now I sit and wait til release day lol. A motorcycle crew that just so happen to wield magic? YES PLEASE! Set in a quiet New York town? aka my home city? YES PLEASE! threat of forbidden magic aka black magic? MHMMM, I’LL TAKE THAT! a main protagonist with untapped/unknown magic of her own? MY KRYPTONITE! As a big fan of the AMC tv series Sons of Anarchy, this book is practically shouting for me to read it & I shall heed the call 😉

Honestly, they had me atthrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycle gangs”  I’m hoping to love this 1st installment because I’ve been missing Sons of Anarchy something bad & the thought of those guys having magic at their disposal is a scary yet humorous thought. I’d welcome this new series (if I enjoy the 1st book) to fill the void SOA left in my little ❤ 😉

Any readers out there who have read Jennifer’s Altered series? I’m curious about her writing style & very excited to read Devils & Thieves *insert excited emoji*

Mini Review: Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw

Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw

Publisher: Book Smugglers Publishing

Publication Date: May 26th, 2017

Genre: Paranormal/Rom-Com

Format: Novella/eGalley

Rating: ★★★★1/2 (4.5 Stars)

Zelda McCartney (almost) has it all: a badass superhero name, an awesome vampire roommate, and her dream job at a glossy fashion magazine (plus the clothes to prove it). The only issue in Zelda’s almost-perfect life? The uncontrollable need to transform into a werebear once a month. Just when Zelda thinks things are finally turning around and she lands a hot date with Jake, her high school crush and alpha werewolf of Kensington, life gets complicated. Zelda receives an unusual work assignment from her fashionable boss: play bodyguard for devilishly charming fae nobleman Benedict (incidentally, her boss’s nephew) for two weeks. Will Zelda be able to resist his charms long enough to get together with Jake? And will she want to? Because true love might have been waiting around the corner the whole time in the form of Janine, Zelda’s long-time crush and colleague. What’s a werebear to do?

It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a rom-com, the last one probably being Bridget Jones Diary…yea I know, it’s been a while. I also had a Sophie Kinsella phase in which I binged all of her pastel colored books like a kid in a candy story with no regrets. When I first heard the title Bearly a Lady on Twitter, I was immediately curious and the play on words made me smirk lol. After contacting the author Cassandra Khaw & generously receiving a galley that same night, I was excited to dive right in.

I instantly fell in love with Zelda our female protagonist, plus sized bisexual fashionista Werebear. Zelda transforms into a bear once a month & has been a bit down and out about its effect on her dating life or lack thereof. She’s tried her luck with dating co-workers but that never yielded anything substantial. Her vampire roommate Zora is truly tired of seeing her mope around their London apartment watching Netflix & decides to intervene. We get to follow Zelda as she prepares for a date with another shapeshifter who is Calvin Klein ad material. We also get to see her navigate complicated feelings for a female co-worker who she may or may not still have a crush on.

The body positivity & Bisexual representation in Bearly a Lady left my heart wanting more. Diversity in a paranormal rom-com?!?! YES PLEASE! my only complaint is that it’s a novella & I won’t get to follow Zelda as she slays life. There was talk of a Supernatural government that piqued my interest as well seeing as we are introduced to other species of shape shifters. Devil Wears Prada meets Bridget Jones Diary sprinkled with a bit of para-normalcy to make it more interesting & outrageously funny. Would love to see Zelda get her own series 😉

Do any of you lovely readers have diverse rom-coms to recommend? I’d love some reccs, Bearly a Lady has left a void *sobs*  😉

ARC Review: Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: June 13th, 2017

Genre: YA Contemp/Diverse

Pages: 352 pages

Format: eGalley

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

*Trigger warning: attempted rape

*HUGE thanks to Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, Netgalley & S.K. Ali for the eGalley copy of Saints and Misfits

Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tight knit Muslim community think of her then?

Before I get into my review of this wonderful gemstone of a book, I’d like to include two #Ownvoices reviews I found on Goodreads. Both Leenahreads (Muslim & Arab) & Hadeer (Muslim & Egyptian) give a perspective that is much needed in the community & appreciated by this bookworm. Also, today is the release day for Saints and Misfits & on behalf of LairOfBooks, I’d like to wish S.K. Ali a very happy book birthday!!!

In Saints and Misfits we follow our main protagonist Janna Yusuf who is a Arab Indian-American hijabi teen navigating life within her Muslim community & High School. Janna finds herself having a major crush on Jeremy, a Irish student in her school that is non-Muslim. With these feelings come a slew of questions we get to see Janna find answers to along the way. We are introduced to Janna’s family & friends as well as the community she is very involved with. The daughter of divorced/co-parenting parents, living with her mom & slightly older brother…Janna & her family are already viewed as different within their own community. Having a crush on a non-Muslim boy complicates things for her & to add to her plate, she’s harboring a hurtful secret. Janna doesn’t know whether she will be believed if she speaks up since the secret is about a respected individual in the community. This is a story about self reflection, family, community, identity, friendship, strength, faith & courage to face your fears.

Ever come across a fictional character who has qualities you yourself wish you possessed? such is the case with my admiration of Janna Yusuf. She is by no means perfect but strong willed and firm in her beliefs. Like any teenager she deals with High School crushes and social pressures both on & offline. Seeing her navigate through certain situations gives you a feeling that you’re reading one confident character. For the most part Janna is confident which was refreshing, I loved seeing her take pride in wearing Hijab. Janna’s sarcasm proved to be one of my fave qualities since witty characters always win me over. Perhaps my most favorite trait of Jannas is her interactions with those around her & how empathetic she is even when she doesn’t want to be lol. I also loved the relationship between Janna and her slightly older brother Muhammad. Throughout the book Janna’s older brother is courting another Muslim girl his age & he has asked Janna to supervise their dates. Janna does so even though she’s not a fan of his romantic interest & in doing so we get to see them spend more time around one another. It was nice seeing Muhammad be so attentive to Janna that he was able to pick up on there being something wrong. His genuine concern for his little sister made me wish he was my big brother *sobs*

Janna also has a non-Muslim bestie  who I’m just going to go ahead and say it….Tats = Ride or Die Bestie for life! Tats is such an amazing friend to Janna & respectful of her beliefs even when social pressure got in the mix. Of course they had moments where Tats didn’t understand fully but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Ultimately Tats respected Janna & had her back, love seeing positive f/f relationships. Lastly, one of my fave characters was Mr. Ram who lived in Janna’s complex and who Janna would take to/from a community center for the elderly. Mr. Ram has a passion for poetry & for encouraging Janna to pursue what makes her happy whether it’s sketching or photography. He imparted so much wisdom to Janna & just loved life so much his good spirits were contagious right through the page. There were many other characters in this book but I fear that going into them all would take away from the fun it was getting to know them. Overall, an amazing cast of characters!

I have so much love for this book I don’t even know where to start honestly! as a diverse blogger, I know the importance of seeing these books on our shelves. Most recently I read a Latinx YA book that left me smiling from ear to ear because I saw myself on the pages. In reading reviews such as the ones I linked in the intro to my review, I get a sense that this will be the case for many Muslim, Hijab, Arab, Indian-American readers. I can honestly say this book gave me so much more than a few hours of enjoyment, the lessons I took away are of much higher value. S.K. Ali organically wove bits & pieces of culture, religion, and faith throughout Saints and Misfits making for a rich reading experience. Our main protagonist is holding onto a hurtful secret & Ali gives us a realistic view of the situation. What it really would be like to expose a religious leader & the ugly truth of it all. A strong message is delivered ,many will stand against you but also, many will stand WITH you. The strong theme of community at the core plays an integral role in Janna’s life & I believe Ali captured that well with Saints and Misfits. I 100% reccomend this book to any & all, I just can’t wait to read more from S.K. Ali! 🙂

Will you be picking up Saints and Misfits today? If you’ve already read & reviewed, please drop a link & I’ll most def swing by your corner of the interwebz 😉

May Wrap-Up & Book Haul

It finally feels like Summer is right around the corner! &&& I’m also late with my May Wrap-Up/ Book Haul but that’s less surprising. I had one goal in mind for the month of May & that was to keep my book buying to the bare minimum because I’d be attending Bookcon the 1st week of June. I succeded & have already given myself some pats on the back for this little accomplishment. I also read a bit more than expected what with all the Bookcon excitement keeping me up at night lol, so that was nice. I also managed to squeeze in 2 movies & celebrated LairOfBooks 1 year Blogoversary!!! *throws confetti* Since we’re already a week into June, I’ll keep it short & sweet 😉

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate ★★★★ (4 Stars)

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich ★★★★ (4 Stars)

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier ★★★★ (4 Stars)

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King ★★★★ (4 Stars)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger ★★★★★ (5 Stars)

 

I had a pretty great reading month in terms of quality & quantity (for me anyways lol). I was over the moon excited to hear my favorite Thriller/Suspense author released a book in May (Lisa Unger, Red Hunter) & when my twin called from the Strand Bookstore saying she picked me up a copy, I did a little dance. I’ve only read her books through Netgalley so this will be my 1st physical copy on my shelves, thanks Twin @ChicNerdReads! It was an amazingly atmospheric read that I had a hard time leaving behind once I had reached the last sentence. My 2nd favorite read of the month is hands down Eliza And Her Monsters which is another I can’t let go of. For everyone who has ever belonged to a fandom or was behind the creation of one, this one is for you! for those of US who seek & find comfort at home reading or watching a fave show because social anxiety is ever present in your life, this one’s for you! there is so much good in this book, I really do believe there’s something for everyone 😉

*Click on photo & follow my IG for more Bookish Fun 😉

A Court Of Wings And Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins (BOTM additional book I added)

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (Owlcrate)

Milk And Honey by Rupi Kaur

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember 

The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger (gift from my twin Gretchen @ChicNerdReads)

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (BOTM selection)

Hubby & I started May off with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, we typically take off 1 day from work every month to chill, hit up a movie & bookstore/comic book store…basically nerd out sans the two tiny humans giving us major side eye haha! I want to say that I enjoyed Vol. 2 more than the first but I think that my feelings toward it are the same (3.5 stars). Except I could’ve done without the cheesy dad bit. The soundtrack & Groot continue to be my fave parts of this movie. Trang & Lashaan over at Bookidote have a EPIC review or as they call it on their blog, a “Cinedote” (see here) which pretty much sums up how I feel about this movie. I’d give them a follow if I were you cuz they’re pretty dope 😉

Towards the end of the month, my sister & I went on our sisterly date to watch Snatched cuz Goldie Hawn & Amy Schumer LOl. I love these ladies & the idea of them together on the screen at the same time reallllly gave me the giggles so I had to see what it was all about. OMYGOSH it was so funny! I’m talking bust your stitches funny smh lol, I spent it holding my tummy the entire time. It’s centered around a mother (Goldie) & daughter (amy) getting kidnapped in South America. They end up being more trouble for their captors than it’s worth with escape attempts turning into jaw dropping high jinks. As a fan of Goldie Hawn since childhood, it was great seeing her back on the screen. I recently read & enjoyed Amy’s autobiographical memoir The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo  within the last couple of months & can say I am now a fan, LOVE HER! Def recommend (5 stars) 😉

Hope you all are having a wonderful June so far! How was your May? read/watch anything AMAZING? thank you for reading my late post & I’ll see ya all in the next post <3’s!

 

Friday Reads

Happy Friday Readers!!! I haven’t done one of these in a while but I’m trying to get in the habit of scheduling posts for days or weeks that i’m not feeling my best. Also, I’d like to know what you’re currently reading and enjoying or maybe not enjoying. My weekends usually see me putting my books away to spend time with my 2 tiny humans but I’m also working on ME time when they’re napping. For those that have responsibilities (doesn’t necessarily have to be kids) which is probably most of us, then you know that time is always evading us. I think this week alone has taught me the importance of self-care & stepping away when necessary for mental health. Starting next wknd I’ll be carving out ME time since this weekend is my 1 year Wedding Anniversary & there’s no escaping that LMAO!

Kicking off my Friday with the highly anticipated season 5 return of Orange Is The New Black!!! I’ll admit, last season wasn’t their best but that ending has me clamoring back for more so without shame I will binge the hell out of OITNB tonight into the wee hours of the morning. Sure I’ll pay for it come Saturday morning when the insanely cruel tiny humans sound the alarms at 7am…then again they may just meet me channeling my fave character “Red” in the kitchen 😉

I’m actually back to reading 2 books at a time, I had taken a long break from that but the mood called to me & I answered. So I have 1 audiobook & 1 eGalley that I’m currently working my way through. I’m about 38% into Let’s pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson & once again Jenny has me making awkward gasping sounds in public while I try not to die of laughter. I loved Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (review here) which came after this one but I am SERIOUSLY LOVING Let’s Pretend! but this time I’m savoring it & only listening to it when my anxiety is high or I’m feeling a bit down. It is legit the best medicine for any down day. I find myself enjoying this one more simply because she’s including stories about her dad and husband Victor pre-marriage that have me shaking my head in disbelief. The Taxidermy stories are still awkward but very funny & Jenny is unapologetically Jenny. Hearing how she thinks is kind of liberating, we all have a little quirk in us…she has a ton & I love her for it!

This morning I started Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1) by Sarah Tolcser a YA Fantasy with its own mythos centered around a River God. The main protagonist Caro is strong willed & waiting for the day that the River God calls her name as has been the case for generations in her family. I’m only a chapter in & already hooked wondering where this adventure will take me. After reading & loving Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller earlier in the year, I am looking forward to another waterways adventure &&& PIRATES! I can always go for Pirates 😉

What are you reading/watching this Friday? any plans for the weekend? 🙂