The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton Book Review

Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that’s what their middle school teachers think. To everyone’s surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn’t take long before each begins to wonder whether the competition is a sham. It’s only by secretly joining forces and using their unique talents that the trio is able to uncover the truth behind the Ambrose Deception–a truth that involves a lot more than just a scholarship.

With a narrative style as varied and intriguing as the mystery itself, this adventure involving clever clues, plenty of perks, and abhorrent adults is pure wish fulfillment.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

I think that no matter how old I am I will never grow tired of middle grade stories because they’re so much fun!! It brings me back to a time where I used to devour books like these and would read them over and over again, never getting bored of the fun stories. The Ambrose Deception reminded me so much of The Mysterious Benedict Society which is honestly the coolest middle grade book ever. This book wasn’t quite as fun but it was still pretty great.

I don’t understand adults who think they can review middle grade the same way they review other books. If you’re not the target audience you can’t really say ” this book was too childish”as if it thats a valid criticism. You’re not a child!!!! So of course you’re going to find characters who are 11 or 12 childish. Let children be immature and let them make bad decisions. If you’re going to read middle grade books you have to remember that you’re not the demographic that the author is writing for. Middle grade books are never perfect but that’s because kids don’t expect perfection. They’re not looking for some great literary masterpiece, they just want to be entertained.

For the reasons stated above I’m not going to write a full fledged review because I don’t really feel comfortable reviewing middle grade books as an adult. I’m just going to say that it was such a fun read with lots of great twists and turns. If you’re looking for a good book for a kid between the age of 8 to 12 or you yourself like middle grade then I’d highly recommend The Ambrose Deception. You’re bound to love the characters and the great scavenger hunt like plot.

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Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi Book Review

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:4/5 Stars

When I saw that this book was blurbed by  Adam Silvera I knew that I’d love it. While most of the times, I couldn’t care two shits about what authors have to say about a book when a genius like Silvera blurbs something I know that I’m bound to love the book. And I really did! Adam Silvera’s recommendation does not disappoint.

This book was so much fun to read and was such a wild ride. Sometimes summaries tend to overhype a book but I think that in this case the synopsis accurately reflects just how wild this book is. From the minute I read the first page I was enraptured and that didn’t go away until I finished the book. Arvin Ahmadi is a debut author to look out for and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

I absolutely loved the concept of the book and I especially found the element of crossword puzzles to be such an interesting focus. I love when books have unique plot points and Down and Across has one of the more unique ones I’ve seen in YA contemporary. But other than that all the plot points in this book are so much fun to read and every little side plot was so much fun. Scott, the main character, got into so much trouble and got roped into many shenanigans and it was very enjoyable to read. I loved seeing how these experiences in DC influenced who he was as a person and I really loved his character development.

One small critique that I had was that I found that there was an abuse of convenient coincidences that really seemed implausible. Obviously it needs to work for the story but like some of the events that happened were a little convenient for my taste

This was a great book about perseverance and grit with an amazing set of diverse characters from an Iranian Mc to a gay side character. If you’re looking for an unique and fun book then Down and Across is the book for you,

My Most Anticipated Read of 2018

So six years in grade seven I checked out a book out of the library because it had the word book in the title and being the book nerd that I was, I had to read anything remotely related to reading. Little did I know that this book would quickly become by favorite book of all time, that the author would become my favorite author and that his words would change my life forever. If you haven’t already gathered from the picture or my username that book is “The Book Thief.”

Since then I have read many books that were amazing, that qualified as favorite but I never read a book that surpassed the beauty that is The Book Thief and I don’t think I ever will. Each word in it is chosen masterfully and the characters are amazingly constructed so you feel for each and every one of them even if they are minor characters. Zusak has a way with words and the way he weaves them is truly something special to witness. I urge you to read it if you haven’t already because it is a beauty and an experience that every person on this earth deserves to read.

His other four books, I Am The Messenger And The Underdog Trilogy are just as brilliant and they improve in chronological order though they’re all five stars read. Markus Zusak knows how to tug at your heart strings and reminds you of all the beauty that’s in the world. In case you can’t tell, Markus Zusak is my role model and I admire him so much. If I ever become even a quarter of the person he is, I will consider myself very lucky.

So after six years of patiently waiting for Bridge of Clay’s release date year after year hoping that it’ll happen and being utterly disappointed, it’s finally here! Bridge of Clay is coming out in October AND IM SO EXCITED.

I am a little scared that it won’t live up to my expectations but I know how hard he’s been working on it and i know that he wouldn’t release something that he didn’t believe to be worthy of publishing. I can’t wait to read it and i am sure that it will quickly become a favorite.

Are you excited for Bridge of Clay as I am?

What Love Simon Means To Me

So I was lucky enough to see an early screening of Love, Simon about a month ago and I love it so godamn much ahhh. I wrote a spoiler free review here but the post I’m going to be writing today is a little more personal and is a little discussion post about how much Love, Simon means to me

I’ve been seeing a lot of people say that Love, Simon is not what gay teens need. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about how it’s unrealistic for a gay teen to have such a positive coming out experience, that they’re sick of watching movies about white privileged teens who have no problems in their life. And like yeah I get that some of these complaints are valid, I’m not saying that they’re not but Love, Simon is so important. I think it’s so important to show that even someone who is privileged, who is white, who has loving parents can struggle with coming out. I think it’s important for gay teens to see the cliche unrealistic reality that straight people get in Hollywood. No it’s not completely perfect (it kind of is tho) but it’s an amazing first stepping stone and I can’t wait to see what comes after Love, Simon.

“Okay yeah Hannah that’s cool but why does it mean so much to you?”

Because I’m gay. To be more specific, bi.

So yeah I’m bi but I’m not out to anyone and it’s not because I’m ashamed or scared of what people will say, it’s just because it’s not a part that I find really relevant to people getting to know me. Like yeah I like girls and guys and other genders but like I’m not going to tell everyone that I start to get to know that I love asparagus so why the fuck is who I am romantically attracted to any different ? And like yeah if I ever do fall in love with a girl and like starting dating her then of course I’ll tell the ppl around me but until then it’s not something that I’m going to make a big deal out of. If someone were ever to ask me outright I would tell them but again I don’t think it’s something that I’m ever going to tell anyone unsolicited. I am not at a point in my life where romance is an aspect of my life so my romantic orientation really isn’t that big of a deal.

So while Love, Simon doesn’t portray my experience as a queer teen, the emotions and feelings that Simon goes through are so relatable and he raises such a good point at one point in the movie. Why do only gay people have to come out? Why the fuck is straight the default. It should not be straight until proven otherwise, people should stop assuming other people’s fucking sexualities. It’s so frustrating and it just hurts so much. I showed one of my friends the trailer of Love,Simon because I was really excited for it and I wanted to share the love but he was kind of a huge asshole about it and was like “Why are you so excited for this movie? You’re not even gay.” Number one that’s fucking stupid, you don’t need to be gay to love the beauty that is Love,Simon. And number 2 how about you don’t assume my sexuality. This is a person that I kind of lowkey hate and makes me feel like shit so I’m not going to come out to him?? But jut because I haven’t told someone that I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m not? If I don’t say I’m straight then don’t fucking assume I am. Straight needs to stop being the default and I really hope that Love, Simon changes people’s mindset on what is the default. It hurts so much to have people assume your sexuality.

Obviously this movie doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to mlm but like still when the pickings are slim even the slightest representation that reminds you of your experience is important. I can’t believe that there’s a major motion picture that has a happy gay love story. Everyone deserves a great love story. And while I am extremely proud of who I am, I sometimes forget that. This movie is so important and I really hope that I get to see a movie with a character closer to my identity one day. I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive that though and may just die from happiness.

Have you seen Love, Simon yet? If not, are you going to?

Love and Other Trainwrecks By Leah Konen Book Review

A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love…and the course of their lives forever?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

When I read the synopsis of this book I was praying for a YA Planes, Trains and Automobiles because that is low-key one of the funniest movies ever and I am so glad that my prayers were answered. Difficulties getting from point A to point B is always so amusing and there’s bound to be great shenanigans that occur, add romance into the mix and you’re bound to have a wild ride.This book was like the beautiful lovechild of Planes Trains and Automobiles and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and it was amazing.

One thing that I think was done extremely well was the development of the romance. This is a book that is set over a 24-Hour period and the characters go from merely being in the same train compartment to falling in love. Very few authors could pull it off but Leah Kohen did an amazing job at not only making us care about the character’s but making us care about the character’s as a couple.

I really loved seeing  the main character’s, Ammy ,relationship with both her mother and father. Ammy’s going to her father’s wedding and her mother is really angry that Ammy’s is abandoning her on the day of her ex-husband’s wedding and kind of expects Ammy to be by her side. Ammy has a really complex and difficult relationship with her parent’s and seeing them go through the divorce is one of the main reasons why she doesn’t really believe in love so it was really interesting to see her mindset change throughout the novel

While contemporaries don’t need twists to be great, there is a plot point that’s revealed towards the end of the book which is guaranteed to blow your mind. It really added an interesting layer to the conflict and was really well done.

While I really did like this book there was an interaction at the beginning of the story that really rubbed me the wrong way and prevented me from loving it as much as I would have liked to have. The male love interest, Noah, is reading a book and Ammy asks him what he’s reading and he tells her that he’s reading Mockingjay, the last book in The Hunger Games trilogy. She then proceeds to bash the book and it kind of becomes a running thing throughout the entire book which I hated so much. The Hunger Games was my introduction to Young Adult literature and I felt that it was very unnecessary especially when a lot of the people reading this book will have probably read and enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy. There’s really no reason to add that and it just felt very odd for a YA contemporary to have a character like that.

 

 

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga Book Review

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review of the book

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I absolutely love books like these: contemporaries that you can just fly right through and leave feeling 10X happier than when you started. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of YA contemporaries and can easily see my 60-year-old self rereading the books that never failed to put a smile on my face.

I don’t know about you but I live for books where the MC learns that they’re the child of some famous or influential person. It’s so interesting to see the aftermath of such realization because it’s one thing to have an absentee parent come into your life but it’s  a whole other thing when that parent is hella famous.  So when I read the synopsis of  Here We Are Now and saw that the protagonist, Taliah, has a father who is a famous musician I knew that this book would be awesome. I really liked seeing Taliah dealing with her father showing up on her doorstep and the subsequent events that occur.  I do kind of find that the moment from him arriving on her doorstep to  her leaving with him to visit his dying father is a tad bit quick and I would’ve appreciated just a little bit more apprehension. I am glad tha she brought along her best friend with her though because going with some stranger is never a smart move even if he is a celebrity.

I also really liked how we alternated between Taliah confronting  her father about abandoning her while getting to know her father’s family and then her mother’s and father’s history. I loved learning about Taliah’s  Mother’s experience as a Muslim immigrant and seeing her love story with Taliah’s father blossom. Honestly their story was so enrapturing and I was always looking forward to the flashbacks and I would totally be down for reading an entire book dedicated to them because they’re both really interesting and developed characters.

As I said before, I really appreciate the complex relationships that this book sets up between different characters such as the relationships between  Taliah and her father, Taliah and her mother, Taliah and her best friend, and Taliah’s father and his father. Stories like these always provide the perfect backdrop for some really nuanced discussions and Warga did a really great job with crafting really complex and diverse characters. That being said my one qualm about one of the relationships is the one between Taliah’s and a friend of her father’s family, Toby. A YA contemporary is never truly complete without a love interest so Toby serves that purpose. While I love romantic subplots for the most part this one felt a little unnecessary and I would’ve prefered it if they had just remained friends, They did have pretty good chemistry for an insta-love type story but it’s too short of a time period for me to genuinely care about their romance. Not every contemporary needs a romance. That being said, this book was pretty short so if there was like 100 or more pages, and the romance would’ve been developed a little bit more I would have liked it a lot more.

 

Top Ten Favorite T.V Shows

So about a year and a half ago I did a blog post with this exact same title but looking at it, I’ve realized my taste in t.v shows has kind of changed, and I’ve grown out of shows I used to love and have found amazing shows to take their place.

1. Brooklyn Nine Nine

Brooklyn Nine Nine is one of those shows that never fails to make laugh and is consistently funny and literally all of the jokes are constructed perfectly and hilarious. That’s so rare in a sitcom and literally everything about the show is perfect. The characters are all amazing and despite the fact that it’s a sitcom, it never shied away from serious topics. Also the diversity is on point and it’s one of the most unproblematic shows out there. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend that you do: it won’t let you down.

2.Doctor Who

I recently started rewatching the series and though I usually skip over eleven when I do so, I’ve decided to give him a second chance and I’m glad I did because I actually don’t hate him as much as I thought I did. But of course, ten will always be my number one. Doctor who is an amazingly unique show that never fails to amaze me. The plot is so fascinating but the characters are just as great. With so many sci-fi stories, one always seems to be sacrificed for the other but Doctor Who manages to have both a intriguing plot and complex and developed characters.

3. Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls is one of those shows that I think I might grow out of eventually but nonetheless it has a very special place in my heart. It’s such a funny and heartwarming show and though there are definitely some parts that piss me off, there’s something so timeless about the story. Stars Hollow is a magical town and the people in it are just as amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of Lolerai’s quick wit and I know that if I ever chose to rewatch it, I’ll fall in love with it all the over again.

4.The Good Place

THIS SHOW IS AMAZING OH MY GOD. It’s hilarious, unique and all the characters are relatable af. There’s not a single character that I hate because they’re all amazing and beautiful and though they’re flawed, they learn and it’s great. I seriously need it to come back and I can’t believe I have to wait until September. I don’t know if I’ll able to survive until then. I feel like this show is really representative of my soul and I just need a million seasons because I will never be tired of Team Coakroach.

5.The Get Down

This show never got the love it deserved and I am severely pissed. If this was a show about white people and music during the 70s in New York everyone would be all over it but the minute it’s about Black and Latinx teens everybody stays quiet. THIS SHOW DID NOT DESERVE TO BE CANCELED. This show was beautiful and amazing and had great characters and the plot was so interesting and everyone just slept on it. I will never not be pissed about what happened. This show was amazing and I will forever be bitter that people didn’t show it the love it deserved.

6.This Is Us

When I first started hearing all the hype about this show I didn’t get it at all. To me it seemed like a pretty simple show and I couldn’t understand why everyone was so emotional. But now I get it. This show is a rollercoaster of emotions and every episode is guaranteed to tear at your heartstrings. Though the concept seems simple, it is done masterfully and the way it’s constructed is really cool. The relationship between the characters are so nuanced and complicated and they’re all so wonderful and precious. This is one of those shows that actually deserves the hype it gets, as well as all the awards that this show keeps on winning.

7.One Day at A Time

This show is hilarious and beautiful and touches on so many important issues and there are so many nuanced discussions about depression and racism and coming out and I really hope it gets renewed because if it didn’t I would cry. I relate to Elena on so many levels, and I simultaneously am her and want to date her and she just deserves all the happiness in the world and I just love her so much ahhhhh. The family dynamics in this show is so great and just everything about this show is pure perfection.

8.The Office

I never really thought that I’d actually like this but after watching eight seasons in two weeks I can safely safe that this show is definitely one of my faves. ITS SO FUNNY OH MY GOD. Never has a show made me laugh this hard, all the jokes are on point. The characters are so funny and great and wonderful. Michael Scott is the most amazing boss ever and I love him so much. Also Jim and Pam are the cutest couple ever and definitely one of my favorite OTPS.

9. The 4400

This show is hella underrated and while it’s a tad bit cheesy, it’s so great. The concept is really unique and every single episode is really interesting. Also the characters are super dope and it’s just a really great show. It’s definitely not a perfect show by any means but it’s addictive. I’ve rewatched it like three times and I never get tired of it. I would highly recommend it and I really wish this show got more love because it’s great.

10. Veronica Mars

I fucking love Kristen Bell so much oh my god. She’s so amazing as Veronica Mars and Veronica’s just the most spunky and sarcastic character and she’s so incredibly strong. This show does not mess around and it’s a really great show. I wasn’t that impressed with the movie but I heard that they’re going to be making a mini series which I’m really excited about.

What Are Your Favorite Tv Shows?

Emergency Contact by May H.K Choi Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

In the summary Emergency Contact is described as being perfect for fans of Eleanor& Park and To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before and to be completely honest I don’t really see the resemblance expect for the fact that they have all have an Asian Mc And that they’re all contemporaries but maybe that’s just me… I truly think that this is a book stands on its own and that any comparison would not do it justice. Basically if you’re someone who enjoys contemporaries and cute love stories that I highly recommend that you go out and buy this book when it comes out because it’s so adorable!

I feel like I kind of sometimes forget that not all contemporaries are cute or even good because I’ve had a pretty good streak when it comes to reading great contemporaries but this book reminded me how contemporaries like Emergency Contact are actually quite rare. So few books are able perfectly capture the awkwardness of love without making it super duper cringey. I think it reflects immensely on the writer’s skill when they’re able to develop the chemistry in a realistic manner. ( I love how I say this as I’m in any way knowledgeable about love 😂)

I really thought it was cool how the majority of their relationship developed over their text. I can definitely confirm that it’s a lot easier to talk to people and get to know them without the awkwardness that is real life. I also liked how slow the transition from online communications to in real life communication and I though that Choi handled that really well. I absolutely loved the stuff that they talked about via text and they were just the cutest together and the development from friends to more was great.

All of the characters were sooo great, especially our two protagonist, Sam and Penny. I related to Penny on so many levels, especially because she was a writer and also didn’t have many friends and she really resonated with me. Well I found the thing she was writing about to be a tad bit odd, I really identified with that struggle of trying to figure out where her writing was going. I really liked the relationships that she forged with like obviously Sam but also her roommate and her roommate’s best friend. Her roommate was very different from her and that was a problem at first but it was really sweet how they slowly started to become friends though there was quite a lot of bumps along the way. But what’s a YA contemporary without lots of misunderstandings and cringey confrontations. I also loved how complex Penny’s relationship with her mother was and I could really feel her frustration and exasperation and I thought it was really tactfully handled.

Sam was such a great love interest, oh my god. He was incredibly flawed but despite that he was caring, passionate and I just loved him so much and loved seeing his relationship with Penny develop. He also had a very complicated relationship with his mother and it was so heartbreaking to see him have to deal with that. While he definitely made some poor decisions, he also went through so much shit and I just felt so bad for him. I’m glad he found someone kind like Penny to be there for him.