Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

25183221Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is about a young teenager, Aristotle a.k.a Ari and no one in his family talks about his brother so sometimes he has difficulty in understanding strict rules of the universe. Dante, on the other side of the mountain, has a strange perception about the world. When they both meet with each other, they don’t have anything in common; however, as the time went by, they started to share a special bond. Through their special bond, they discover many beautiful things on a way and that brings them another challenge what they want to achieve in their lives.

Ari is such a wonderful and relatable character to read about. He struggles to understand certain things, which are completely nonsensical to him and so he looks at the situation in a negative way. In contrast, Dante is a complete opposite of Ari as his way of thinking is philosophical that is the highlight of his chapters, which shows that he deeply understands the world as well as himself. Even though they are poles apart, they still bring out the best in each other. Because of Dante, we were able to discover Ari’s spunky and studious side. Therefore, I love their journey and especially it is amazing to see Dante to talk in so much depth, which gets thought provoking from time to time. Another awe-inspiring aspect is dynamics of family relationships. Benjamin presents us plausible performance of families as they look very realistic. The relationship between Ari and his mother seem very real, their arguments and their settlement. Most of all, Benjamin’s idea of writing in short paragraphs is fascinating, which really shows that a teenager is narrating this story.

Overall, this book is captivating so I enjoyed it thoroughly because I laughed and cried at the same time so it was really good reading experience learning about their cultures. Also, It was enchanting to see them becoming mature, and going through all kinds of experiences. Other than their beautiful friendship, I admired both of these families, their relationship to their kids, and their interaction with each other. We would really like you to pick this book up; it would not disappoint you. And we assure you it not is not sciency at all. Happy Reading! 😊

Winger by Andrew Smith

11861815Winger follows a story of fourteen year old boy, Ryan Dean West is a fourteen year old boy living at a boarding school specifically for rich kids. He faces challenge when he gets paired with the biggest bully on the rugby team. Not to mention that he also has a huge crush on his best friend, Annie, who thinks him of a little boy. However, Ryan’s sense of humour, strange friends, and habit of doodling helps him escape his problems of dorm. As Ryan began to enjoy this adventure, something really bad happens which affects Ryan badly and so like a good protagonist he has to figure out the solution.

The overall experience of reading this book made me realize that how much fun could boys actually have when they have to share a room. Although Ryan Dean West’s life is a painful journey, I envy his life at the same time.

Ryan was a well rounded character and makes sure to keep us entertained through his doodling and pictures. It was very thoughtful of him to share that what he was feeling at the moment, which made it even more relatable. In the beginning, Ryan is not comfortable sharing his space with the other boys, but as the story progresses he begins to discover his strengths and most of all he starts to figure out his problems, which is itself a big change. Andrew offers many sweet moments between Ryan and Annie and even the boys themselves, which is just beautiful to see them growing on each other. Not only Ryan has ups and downs, but every other character present in this book faces some kind of problem. Of course, the only details were visible to me is through Ryan’s narrative, which was not bothering me surprisingly. Ryan narrates his story in such a convincing manner that one may join his journey.

Not only Ryan’s story is good, but Andrew even provides awesome characters such as Chas, Joey, Annie and the others. Chas is not who he seems to be. His appearance may be deceptive, but he seems like a nice guy. Another character who really caught my attention is Joey. Even though Joey is a secondary character, I thought that his presence is equally important in the book. Joey acts like a big brother/advice-giving figure to Ryan, who does not mind taking his advice either. Despite the fact that this whole book is shown through the perspective of a teenage boy, Andrew is able to paint an image of a female character really well. Annie’s characterization is beautifully crafted which enhanced the reading experience even more.

Winger not only unfolds the story of a teenage boy, but it offers so much more. Andrew through his beautiful narrative, understanding characters and lighthearted comedy highlights the themes of friendship, survival and independency.

5/5 — Uswa

Confess

22609310Auburn Reed has already planned her life. She is organized; her goals are sorted and she knows what exactly she is doing. With so much planning, she is definite that nothing can go wrong. As soon as she enters an art studio in search of a job, she finds herself attracted towards Owen Gentry. However, both of these characters keep their secrets to themselves. In order to stay close to each other and maintain a relationship, Owen just has to confess.

Colleen starts off from twisting our hearts, which gave us a negative vibe. The first impression of Auburn did not have a good impact on me, because she is the kind of girl who would just try to please people. Auburn is portrayed as a fragile character who is unable to take stand for herself. Nonetheless, it was impressive that she was going through all the hardships by herself. That was the only thing I found impressive about her, otherwise, there were many things that frustrated me. For instance, that particular scenario between Auburn and Owen convinced me that Auburn would just let go off things so easily. *SPOILER ALERT*Another thing took me by surprise that at such a young age she became a victim of teenage pregnancy *SPOILER ALERT*.

The wow factor of this book was the concept of anonymous confessions. Colleen always aces the section of creativity. This time she has interjected the paintings which gave a realistic feel. I thought that some of the confessions were depressing and sad. Another moment that I really appreciated was that both of these characters share the same middle name which was funny and cute at the same time. Also, Owen’s chapters really stood out for me, and to some degree they were inspiring as well.

Despite having a depressing tone, I really enjoyed Auburn’s and Owen’s relationship. It was great to see how they both were able to find their ways. Along with frustrating characters, creative concepts, and some cute moments, Colleen also touches upon the sensitive issues such as teenage pregnancy, one night stand and etc. If you really wanna cry out loud, then this book will be suitable for you.

Advise: Have this book with a bowl of ice cream because fasten your seat belt, Colleen is taking you on another emotional roller coaster ride. A bowl of ice cream would definitely help you to calm down.

4/5 stars     

Can You Keep a Secret?

can-you-keep-a-secret-sophie-kinsella-book-review-e1397764807140Emma Corrigan spills some of her funny and not so funny secrets on plane to a stranger.  

  • Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.
  • Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.
  • Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

The problem was that she did not just share her secrets with a stranger, she actually shared it with a CEO. Little does she know that she is going to be a part of that same company. Unfortunately, he now knows embarrassing secrets of Emma.

Sophie Kinsella again presents us with a hilarious protagonist, Emma. Emma is a sweet girl with a happy-go-lucky nature. There is a lot going on in her life: there is family drama which Emma is trying to solve, yet she has her own problems going on in her professional life. Emma’s character has a tendency to fall in awkward situations making her the funny protagonist. The way she managed situations was hilarious and I loved the conflicts between the characters, which was light-hearted and not that heavy. I adored Emma’s relationship between her parents and her sister. Kinsella does not make her readers wait to resolve the issues and that is what I like about Kinsella’s books that she knows how to keep her readers happy.

Speaking of romance, even though her romantic ideas resembles rom-com/chick-flicks, it’s always refreshing and one gets never bored of it. Kinsella’s books are not always about changing your life, but her books are supposed to be entertaining and filled with humour. Can you keep a secret? does a great job at being an enjoyable read. This book gives us a quirky main character, a strict boss and a crazy family, so the combination of these three elements makes it suitable for traveling or vacations. It’s a quick read and I guarantee you it will just make your day filled with laughter. (Big compliment: this is the recommendation in itself. I cannot recommend this book more than enough.)    

The final verdict is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kinsella never disappoints me which is why I gave this book 5/5 stars. It was a cute book and I adored every bit if it. So if you are in a reading slump or you’ve just read a high fantasy book, you might wanna check this book out.

Eleanor and Park

71lklmxqgjlEleanor and Park follow the story of a girl named Eleanor, who has huge red hair and unlike other girls she is happy in her tomboy clothes. Park, on the other hand, is an Asian boy who avoids the attention. Eleanor and Park are  assigned seats next to each other. Initially, they don’t like each other very much, but eventually, they found a lot about each other by just sharing seats. They both are into comic books and then they began to swap their music playlists.

This book is told in an alternating point of views which was intriguing, as we get to know both of them on a personal level. Eleanor was beautifully characterized. She struggles so much in the book and her character development is in-depth which made her so relatable. Not only it connected me personally but I felt an emotional connection with Eleanor because at times it made me concerned about her situations. Rowel introduces us to bigger conflicts that take place in Eleanor’s life. What I liked about Eleanor was that she was an honest character and she managed every situation honestly. It was good to get an insight of her character. While Park is just a teenager who is all into music and comic books. When they meet in the high-school bus they don’t like each other, but both of them are obliged to sit together. Sparks didn’t fly at first but gradually became friends which turned their friendship into something else. Even though they both are facing problems in their life, but when they are together their problems disappear. Together they learn and explore about themselves and about each other. Together they create magic. This was definitely a character driven story.

Everything was perfect: characters, plot, setting, conflict but the ending was kind of dissatisfying. Most of the YA contemporaries that I’ve read concludes with a happy vibe, but It wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to know that why Eleanor did that? It isn’t a cliffhanger or a complaint but I am just hoping to get a novella or maybe a short story from Eleanor’s perspective or maybe a sequel. Rowell completely grasped me into this book. This book totally took by surprise. If anyone who is thinking to step in this genre can begin with this book. People who are YA contemporary lovers will definitely enjoy this, so it’s highly recommended. ♥️

5/5 stars

 

      

 

Summer Reads!

Summer is nearly over, and some of us still haven’t done quite what we hoped we would. Unfortunately, sometimes the summer of your dreams is unattainable… but you can still experience incredible summer adventures through the following books! With playlists, crazy summer to-do lists, time travel and foreign cities, this reading list will help you experience summer from the comfort of your own home. So grab some lemonade, put on some music, and start reading!

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Emily and Sloane couldn’t be more different. Eccentric, enigmatic and social Sloane knows how to make sure the two have fun despite Emily’s shy and introverted personality. Then Sloane suddenly disappears, leaving a crazy list of things for Emily to do during the summer, from kissing a stranger to apple picking at night. With Sloane gone, Emily begins to to discover herself and learn to live outside Sloane’s shadow. This book is also filled with playlists that the main characters listen to while running, which along with showcasing their personalities, are lovely to listen to while reading about Emily’s summer.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

A chance email about a pet pig brings together a typical small town girl and a movie star in this cliched romance. The novel itself is very light hearted; the characters are easily likeable and the relationship is cute and fluffy. The author incorporates some emails between the two at the beginning of each chapter, adding a quirky twist. A great light and fluffy read to pass the time.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

After her father passes away, Amy’s mother decides to move across the country, leaving Amy to take the car from California to Connecticut. Somehow, the drive becomes a giant road trip full of detours with Roger, whom Amy hasn’t seen in years. The book is full of sketches, playlists, and ticket stubs, making for a scrapbook feel. Nothing screams summer like an epic road trip!

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

This story follows Allyson Healey as she struggles to find herself while trying to please those around her. On the last day of her post-graduation European tour, she agrees to spend a day in Paris with Wilhem, an actor she just meets. The book describes travelling beautifully, making you want to leave everything and catch a plane to someplace far away. Overall, a good read for someone looking for contemporary, realistic fiction or an emotional romance, who doesn’t mind a bit of a slow read.

The Square Root Of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

When Grottie starts losing time, she’s pushed back and forth between the past and present. She’s forced to relive her past tragic summer, where her grandfather died, her best friend moved away, and she got her heart broken. The author weaves physics and math into a contemporary novel, making for an interesting approach to time travel from a reader’s perspective. On top of time travel, the novel deals with loss, friendship, family and heartbreak. The Square Root of Summer is the best of both worlds for someone who enjoys sci-fi and contemporary romance alike.

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I was really looking forward to reading this book because the copy I was reading, the European version, was beautiful. I guess I shouldn’t have judged the book by it’s cover, because the front is basically the start and end of everything good about it. Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration. A Discovery Of Witches takes place in modern day London, with Diana Bishop, a witch who has denounced and suppressed all magical aspects of herself. Instead she is a renowned scholar, but one day she stumbles upon an ancient manuscript. Little does she know that the manuscript contains secrets to the magical world, and soon the witches, vampires, and demons who want these secrets come into the picture.

The story had interesting concepts and nicely written descriptions, but was hard to get into. The first half of the book was slow and tedious, but eventually got better. An intriguing aspect of the story was how it used scientific evidence to back up the magic that existed in the world. I would have loved to read more about the scientific aspect throughout the book, rather than only in clumps once or twice.

I found Diana’s relationship with Matthew, scientist and vampire, rather troublesome. Firstly, there was no realistic progression in their relationship. Initially Diana disliked Matthew, and her eventual falling in love with him was a cheesy trope that I usually enjoy. Despite this, I disliked how it was written, making Diana fall so hopelessly in love with Matthew without substantial time or development. Furthermore, Matthew had incredibly old fashioned and misogynistic views, and expected Diana to abide them. Diana made it slightly bearable by calling him out on them, but eventually even that changed. Matthew is possessive and irritating, which in the story is seemingly made okay due to his dark predatory nature as a vampire, as well as his old fashioned upbringing. He is also secretive, not only about his past but about certain hindrances that come when loving vampire. I was keen to learn more about Matthew’s dark background, but not much was revealed.

Overall, I had high hopes but was disappointed. Without its initial bore and its emphasis on Diana’s relationship, it could have been a good read, and I feel there was a lot of lost potential. I hope more of the science, a concept I have nearly never seen before combined with magic, is explored further in next installments, but I doubt I will continue the series.

2.5 Stars

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Taking place twenty years after the Selection trilogy, The Heir follows the story of Princess Eadlyn, daughter of King Maxon and Queen America. Previously, in order to find a suitable match for the Prince of the country, a selection would be held, where randomly selected contestants would all try to win the Prince’s heart. However, the selection process was abolished during King Maxon’s rule, and Eadlyn, future queen, has no interest in romance just yet. She has high expectations set out for her, and she has no intent but to meet them. However, trouble in the kingdom ensues and turns out Eadlyn has to have a selection after all.

Firstly, I felt I was missing out on fully experiencing this book since I didn’t remember the previous stories of characters clearly. Many past characters were shown again, or referenced, and had I read the first trilogy more recently, I might have been more excited to be reading this book. I didn’t care enough about it to reread the selection, but I did end up searching things up on the book’s wiki in order to understand it better.

Eadlyn is incredibly annoying and spoiled. I understand that her being spoiled was important in order to make a point in the story, but nonetheless she was also insensitive and oblivious to the point where it was cringeworthy. An example of how she annoyed me (one of many), was how she continuously insulted Kile, another inhabitant of the castle, on his bookishness. Not only did she never have a reason for these insults or her disliking him, but this also pissed me off on another level, being a bookworm myself. Eadlyn also turned a complete 180 in the way she dealt with a character I will not specify, which was annoying since it had no substance whatsoever. It would have been better if she was eased into it, slowly, or at least given a valid reason too. The only good thing I could say about Eadlyn’s personality was how it was different from most protagonists we read about, who are typically insanely kind and “good” as a whole.

The other characters weren’t so bad. I particularly liked Eadlyn’s carefree and lovesick twin brother, Ahren. However, most of the selection participants just didn’t appeal to me. I never found myself rooting for any of them more than others, and the reader barely gets to know them in the first place.  I think the entire selection aspect is written better through the perspective of a participant, like the first trilogy. There are so many participants in this process that it was confusing and hard to keep track of individual characters.

The entire political aspect was, simply put, lame. It seemed Kiera Cass just wanted to write another romance book surrounding the selection. When she clearly couldn’t, after the selection process was supposed to be abolished, she came up with a bad “political” excuse. I would have rather she wrote a pure romance book than one with a weak political subplot.

Overall, this book was missing both interesting characters and a well written plot line. The original selection trilogy, of which I wasn’t a huge fan of to begin with, was much better and I’m not sure if I will continue this series.

2.5/5 Stars

Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras

51GUtebuSnL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgIt’s been a year since Estelle lost her fiance, Wyatt in an accident. She is trying her best to move forward, yet she is still haunted with his memories. When Elle moves in with her brother, Victor, new problems arise since his best friend, Oliver, is also Elle’s ex-lover. Elle and Oliver had a troublesome relationship that was hard on them both.  Elle can’t deny the comfort and attraction Oliver brings along with him, as well as how he is the only guy who’s able to make the ghost of her fiancé disappear for a while. With the high possibility of their history repeating itself, would Estelle give her heart ―the broken pieces that she rebuilt as a kaleidoscope― back to the guy who broke it for the first time?

This story is told from dual POVs. I loved how Elle’s POV in the present and Oliver’s POV in the past, because the story you hear from Elle is very different than that Oliver’s. From Elle, you get the impression that Oliver is a selfish guy who used her like he does with the other women in his life. However, in reality, that isn’t the case. Oliver may have had been a player in the past, but I had no doubt in mind what his feelings were for Elle in the present. This book deals with different types of love. A first love, young, passionate and in this case, forbidden; a comfortable love, a type of love that gives you security and settles you; a love that changes you, that makes you want to change; and a love that puts together the shattered pieces of your life and heart [1]. Through the story we find out how Elle experiences it all. This book is about a second chance romance.

The only issue I had with this book was with the way the conflict was laid out. Much of the book was Elle and Oliver trying to figure out where they stood as a couple. While I didn’t want to put the book down because of their addictive chemistry, the lack of a strong conflict slowed the pace of the book down. The whole book they were hiding their romance from Elle’s brother because they were worried about his reaction, but upon finding out, his reaction didn’t further the plot in any way. It just negated the whole build up to that moment. Despite my issues, I still enjoyed this book. This story is skilfully written, and flows from past to present, capturing the story of two souls who everyone tried to keep apart, but in the end, were always meant to be together. I also liked the way the author wove art into the story. I’m also super interested to see what will go down with Mia and Jensen…

3/5 stars

[1] https://thebibliotheque.wordpress.com/tag/claire-contreras/

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

September is over, and with that, so is our month-long contemporary book theme. We had a lot of fun sharing and reviewing our favourite contemporary books with all of you! Focusing on one genre was nice, but now we’ll be going back to how we normally do reviews! Now that it’s October, don’t forget to check out last year’s post on great Halloween books to get you in the mood. In our latest review, we’ve gone back to fantasy reads with Red Queen…

Mare lives in a world where blood defines rank, status, wealth and power. Red blooded beings, like Mare, live hard lives in the slums, working tough jobs that pay little. In addition, unless they have a job, which are hard enough to obtain on their own, by the age of eighteen, they are drafted to go fight in the war. In contrast, the silver blooded live much easier lives. In addition to their wealth and rank, each silver individual has a power, which could be anything from super strength to the ability to create fire. Mare lives as a thief, stealing enough so her family can survive. Until one day, in a deadly encounter in front of the royal silver family themselves, Mare discovers that she, a mere red, also has powerful, perhaps even dangerous, powers. The royal family will go to great lengths to ensure that the fact that a Red has powers remains secret. Mare’s entire world is turned upside down, and she faces choices that not only affect her, her family and her friends, but the fate of the kingdom itself.

Red Queen was based on a new and interesting concept, and the story never got boring. Although the entire book is shrouded in fantasy, certain aspects were still very realistic. Evil, for example, was logically portrayed. The book and its characters accurately depicted what people can and will do for power. Another very realistic point the book made through how there wasn’t a definite line between good and evil; people tried to do good, they sometimes failed, and they were confused. The power of manipulation was artfully explored in the story and the action scenes were utterly convincing and well written. At one point in the story I actually had to put down the book, and back away while tearing up at the pure evil the book had portrayed. Needless to say, the fact that it was able to twist my emotions as such proves its skillful writing.

The characters are also written in an interesting way. Mare is an engaging and intelligent heroine. She is easy to relate to, sometimes making imperfect choices, all the while trying to please her disappointed parents, yet her strength and determination make her so easy to like. Other characters besides Mare are shrouded under mystery and little by little throughout the book start to make sense. There is always something you don’t know or are missing about someone, which was really intriguing to read.

The last parts of the book were the best parts of the book. The end was fast paced, intense, and exhilarating. This was combined with a plot twist that left you in awe but really brought the book together. I also love the moment you realize the meaning behind the title (although it may have taken me longer than it should have been). I hope in the following book, details of the genes or reasoning behind Mare’s exceptional circumstances are revealed. Overall this book was a wonderful read, and it’s last bits are what pushed my rating from a 4 to a 4.5.

4.5/5 Stars