Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Blog Tour: I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi - Review

I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

Publishing Date: October 22, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 432
Young Adult Sci-Fi

The Premise of the Book: "Seven days. Seven days. The Earth might end in seven days. When news stations start reporting that Earth has been contacted by a planet named Alma, the world
is abuzz with rumors that the alien entity is giving mankind only few days to live before they hit the kill switch on civilization.
For high school truant Jesse Hewitt, though, nothing has ever felt permanent. Not the guys he hooks up with. Not the jobs his underpaid mom works so hard to hold down. Life has dealt him one bad blow after another — so what does it matter if it all ends now? Cate Collins, on the other hand, is desperate to use this time to find the father she’s never met, the man she grew up hearing wild stories about, most of which she didn’t believe. And then there’s Adeem Khan. While coding and computer programming have always come easily to him, forgiveness doesn’t. He can’t seem to forgive his sister for leaving, even though it’s his last chance. With only seven days to face their truths and right their wrongs, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem’s paths collide even as their worlds are pulled apart" (HarperCollins).

My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise of this book a while back, I was intrigued because I mean, if a higher power, or aliens deemed that humans were treating the planet badly and that they would come and wipe out humanity, I wouldn't say "you're wrong" - I can definitely see it, and this book right off the bat reminds us that maybe how we treat the earth is not so particularly great. The story follows 3 main characters and how they all deal with the news that the world is ending soon. You are first introduced to Jesse who hasn't really known some permanence, and it's always been easiest for him to just not get close to someone, and the book began with him having to come to terms with another hook up ending. He attempts to stay strong, but it's clear that it does hurt him. Financially, Jesse and his mother are struggling, so when news comes of the world ending, he simply says that they are too broke to worry about it anyways. On the other hand, we have Cate, who is struggling with her mom who is a schizophrenic. With the impending news of the world ending, she decides to venture out and look for her father. And lastly, we have Adeem, who is great at computer science and programming, and despite the anger he feels towards his sister, he decides to go look for her. I will say the representation in this book was handled really well (there's a lot here in terms of race, sexuality, class, mental health, etc), and I genuinely was pleased that they were all able to cross paths in some way. I will say, out of all the characters, I definitely cared most about Jesse and I kept reading quickly to get to his chapters. He's a character that I just really empathized with, especially his relationship with his mom. Overall, I enjoyed Rishi's writing. I liked that despite the impending fate our characters faced, there was some lightheartedness thrown in the mix, and of course, a sort of hopefulness, that it could work out in the end, but even if it didn't, we'd all be ok anyways. If I could accurately comp this, it definitely had some Scythe vibes with the aliens being a sort of higher power, and the some aspects that tug at your heart strings were reminiscent of Adam Silvera's books. I look forward to seeing what Rishi tackles next in her writing!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

About the Author
Farah Naz Rishi is a Pakistani-American Muslim writer and voice actor, but in another life, she’s worked stints as a lawyer, a video game journalist, and an editorial assistant. She received her B.A. in English from Bryn Mawr College, her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School, and her love of weaving stories from the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s probably hanging out with video game characters. You can find her at home in Philadelphia, or on Twitter at @far_ah_way.

Disclaimer: An advanced e-reader's copy of the book was provided by Glasstown Entertainment for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Friday, 11 October 2019

Blog Tour: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo - Review

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Publishing Date: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 480
New Adult / Adult Fantasy / Supernatural / Occult Fiction

The Premise from the Publisher: "Galaxy "Alex" Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale''s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she''s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world''s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What''s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale''s secret societies. Their eight windowless "tombs" are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street''s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living" (Flatiron).

*Warning: there are instances of rape, sexual assault, abuse, self-harm, suicide, murder, violence, and drug related content.* 

My overall thoughts and review: I'm not as familiar with her writing as a fan would be (I've only read one book by her and it was the Wonder Woman book), and honestly, after I read this, I wonder if perhaps this book wasn't simply for me. This book has made all the splash in the book community because it is Bardugo's departure from YA, and this book lives in New Adult / Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi. It was described as really dark, but as more reviews came out for it, more alluded to various trigger warnings of dark content. Basically, whatever you can think of that might be a trigger, is probably in this book. Still, that did not deter me since I was insanely curious. More on that later.

The story follows Galaxy/Alex, who gets a sort of "second chance" at life after something traumatic happens to her, and she's sent to Yale University (yes, THE Yale) as a student. While she had to drop out of highschool, this new role for her at Yale includes her pretending to be a freshman student, but by 'night' she is to follow up on any illicit activities that may happen at the university with some secret societies. You are thrown right into it in the beginning of the book when she has to witness a prognostication. You see her balance this student life and also get entangled with Bonesmen, ghosts, and more. It felt like the first 100 pages was a bit slow, even though I understand that it was needed to lay the foundation of the text. I really liked Darlington from the moment we got his chapter with his POV. You get to hear about him from Alex's perspective, but I just knew he was my kind of character. It definitely ramps up after that as we start to learn more and more about this world, and also what really happened with Alex prior to these Yale adventures.

I mentioned above the warnings/triggers associated with the text. While Bardugo's writing is truly captivating and she actually makes the reader feel like they are right there while all of this is unraveling, I had to put the book down a few times and just walk away. I knew it was dark, but it was easy to just say it was dark, rather than experience those particular scenes on the page. I do think being in the right headspace is needed for a book like this, and knowing that yes, you can go into it knowing that it's "dark" but be prepared for a lot more. I believe there will be more in this series to come, so that's exciting because it does end in a way that doesn't feel satisfying. I am more intrigued now to pick up Bardugo's other books, especially Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. I really love her writing and how she's able to build the eerie atmosphere. While I really loved getting to know the characters, and learning more about this world, for me as a reader today, I found this to be too dark for me, hence my rating. I think fans of Bardugo will enjoy seeing the writer demonstrate her flexibility and brevity, and just seeing this new side to her writing. If you feel you can handle the dark content, then I do think this would be the perfect time of year to read this with the month of Halloween.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Review: Park Avenue Player by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

 A Standalone Contemporary Romance
New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland