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review 2018-08-13 01:15
A Million Junes
A Million Junes - Emily Henry

The O'Donnells and the Angerts have hated each other for generations. June O'Donnell was ready to keep that hatred going and avoid the Angerts, but that plan got wrecked when she literally ran into Saul Angert who had just returned to town. The two were drawn to one another despite June's best efforts to not be attracted to an Angert, and their time together caused June to begin to question everything she knew about their families' pasts. With a curse hanging over their heads, the two must work together to learn the truth before the curse strikes their families again.

 

I fell in love with June shortly into the book. She's very sarcastic and had me cracking up with her banter with her best friend, Hannah, and Saul. Hannah and Saul also had great lines and won me over quickly. The three of them were fun to follow and watch interact with one another. I loved June and Hannah's friendship. The two of them were very different from one another, but were so close and constantly caring and worrying about each other. June kept Hannah in the loop on the supernatural shenanigans that were happening to her. They felt like best friends.

 

And June and Saul hit it off right away with the banter too. June felt like she had to hate him because he was an Angert, but she couldn't help but be charmed by him from their very first meeting, so she covered her confused feelings with sarcasm and teasing which Saul was more than capable of matching. They were pretty adorable.

 

The supernatural elements started off low-key. June was revealed to be able to see a couple ghosts that haunt her lands right from the start with one of those ghosts being a sign of danger to come. A conversation between June and Saul revealed a few more magical elements of the O'Donnell's land like coywolves that take shoes, but don't touch the chickens. But after Saul and June meet, June got her first vision of the past when she returned home. The visions played out sporadically across the story, slowly revealing the mystery of what started the feud between the two families generations ago, but also forcing Saul and June to face the losses they've had in their lives.

 

More than anything, this was a story about grief and learning to move on from it. The use of a family feud spanning generations really helped to demonstrate how holding onto pain just continued the cycle for the families again and again. This theme really came through with the reveal of what started the feud and what was behind the curse of the families.

 

With compelling characters and plenty of humor, A Million Junes managed to charm me immediately. It wasn't all laughs since both June and Saul were coming to terms with loss in their family and the event of started the family feud was not a happy once, but the book balanced the pain and humor well so that the grief was never overwhelming. It was a beautiful read.

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review 2018-08-12 01:31
Monday's Not Coming
Monday's Not Coming - Tiffany D. Jackson

Claudia's best friend, Monday, is missing, but she can't get anyone to believe her. Monday's mother claims Monday is with her father, while Monday's sister says she's with her aunt. Monday hasn't shown up to school, but the school hasn't checked on her. And Claudia's parents don't want her worrying about it. Claudia knows something is wrong. But how can she get anyone else to believe her?

 

This book was frustrating to read at times simply because there were so many adults turning a blind eye to an obvious problem. Seeing Claudia try again and again to ask for help only to find none got painful. Especially since the book told you from the start how long it will take for Monday to be found, so you knew all of Claudia's early attempts were doomed to fail because it's too soon.

 

The biggest issue I had with the book was the timeline. The book had several different timelines that it jumped between. The timelines included the expected Before and After, but what made it confusing were the One Year Before the Before and Two Years Before the Before timelines. It was hard to keep them all straight early on. It all eventually made sense, but that didn't make easy before that point and that confusion detracted from the story.

 

What did shine through in the book were the emotions Claudia felt over Monday's disappearance. Claudia's pain was apparent throughout the entire novel, and the timelines set before Monday's disappearance established their relationship well. Monday meant a lot to Claudia and her disappearance caused big changes in Claudia's life beyond just not having her best friend that Claudia simultaneously was dealing with as she also tried to find her friend. Basically Claudia was a mess during the book for a number of reasons and that came across very well.

 

Monday's Not Coming was well-written and packed an emotional punch, but the structure with the multiple timelines took some of that punch away by adding confusion to a narrative that didn't benefit from it. Despite that, it was an overall enjoyable, although painful, read.

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review 2018-06-28 12:51
Listen to Your Heart
Listen to Your Heart - Kasie West

When Kate signed up for the school's podcasting class, she didn't expect to be picked as one of the cohosts of the show. Nor did she expect to recognize one of the callers as Diego, the crush of her best friend, who called in to ask for some advice on his crush. And she really didn't expect to begin to develop feelings herself for Diego as she tried to help him and her best friend, Alana, get together.

 

Before I get into what I liked about this book, and I did like things, I just have to say that I hated Kate's podcasting class and teacher. At the beginning, Kate told her fellow cohost, Victoria, that she hated the name Kat, but was fine with Kate (her full name is Kathryn). Victoria preceded to call her Kat on the podcast, which Kate repeatedly corrected. Victoria ignored this. The editing team then removed every instance of Kate correcting her name so that it seemed like she was fine with being called Kat. The teacher heard the podcast and reviewed the edits and said nothing about any of this and started calling her Kat too. When Kate was complaining about how much she hated the name Kat and didn't like the fact that everyone was ignoring her about it, the group she was talking to about it, which included her best friend and her cousin all said she should just go with it because it was a cool name for her podcasting persona. I just was mad at everyone at this point. If someone says not to call them something because they don't like it, then don't call them that. Call them the name they ask. Don't be a jerk.

 

And the podcasting teacher just did not impress in general. Anytime a student made any kind of request, the teacher would force the student to do the exact opposite of whatever they had asked because the teacher knew what the student truly wanted. At the beginning, Kate was told she was one of the hosts of the podcasts. When Kate said she didn't want to be a host, the teacher laughed at her and asked if she really thought she wouldn't have to speak in podcasting class. Considering only 2 students have to speak out of the entire class, that actually wasn't a ridiculous thought. When Kate still asked to not do it, the teacher told her she obviously took the class for a reason. (Sidenote: the real reason Kate took the class was just to be in a class with her best friend. You don't know your students better than they know themselves, teacher.) Kate then told her she wanted to learn the behind-the-scenes stuff for making a podcast, which she won't get hands-on experience for if she's forced to be the host the entire semester. Literally every other job gets to cycle through and practice everything else except the host. Instead of listening to her, the teacher kept her as a host. Your student is telling you she joined the class to learn all the technical aspects of creating a podcast, and you force them to take the one job that prevents them from getting hands-on experience for any of the parts they just told you they wanted to learn about. You are a terrible teacher.
Based on what we see of her, I can just imagine she'd be a nightmare to deal with if you're a student who needed a medical accommodation.

 

But there were things I liked in this book. The romance was pretty cute. I wish there had been more interactions between Kate and Diego. They had a fun and flirty dynamic together. It was easy to see why the two of them started liking one another. They were funny and had some nice banter. And it was pretty cute that Diego kept calling in to Kate's podcast to ask for advice, first on family, and then on his crush.

 

Also great was Kate and Alana's friendship. The two of them were very different personality-wise, but got along wonderfully anyways. Even when they had issues that would have caused major friendship blow-ups in other books, the two of them worked things out without huge fights. Not even the issue of them both liking the same guy was enough to threaten their friendship. They just talked things out. I loved them.

 

Overall, Listen to Your Heart was a cute romance. I could have done without everyone pointedly calling the main character the wrong name and nothing coming of that, as well as not having the teacher who refuses to listen to her students because she knows them better than they know themselves. But the romance was really cute and the main character had a great best friend.

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review 2018-06-28 03:43
My So-Called Bollywood Life
My So-Called Bollywood Life - Nisha Sharma

It was predicted that Winnie would meet her soulmate before her 18th birthday. Her boyfriend, Raj, met every part of the prediction. Or rather, ex-boyfriend after he hooked up with someone else while they were on a break over the summer. Now Winnie is focused on putting the film festival together, which she has to do with Raj. And she's starting to develop feelings for another guy, Dev. So things are getting a little more complicated for Winnie than she was expecting.

 

At its best, My So-Called Bollywood Life is a charming story. Winnie's love for movies, particularly Bollywood movies, really shines through, and I enjoyed whenever she got to talk about them. She also had blog posts in between chapters where she did short Bollywood movie reviews, which were fun. Also great were her interactions with her family and the calls to the pandit. I loved her family and their interactions. They all clearly loved each other, even when they weren't always in agreement on what the right thing was.

 

The other characters didn't impress as much though. Winnie's best friend, while fun, felt rather flat since they almost always talked about Winnie's love life. And another girl existed solely to be the mean girl. I kept waiting for her to get some depth, but instead she kept getting progressively worse to the point where she committed a crime to frame someone. I don't like mean girls who have no depth and just exist to be mean to the main character to cause conflict for the story. Plus, the book had other minor snide remarks toward other girls peppered throughout including referring to one girl as a Barbie just because of how she was dressed. I'm never a fan of girl hate.

 

There was also one scene early on in the start of Winnie's relationship with Dev that just made me a bit leery. She ran into Raj who grabbed her arm to talk to her. Dev came out of nowhere and had his arm to Raj's throat telling him to get off her. Winnie had to get him to back off. He didn't do anything like that again, but I just get leery when guys jump so quickly to violence in a situation. Winnie immediately called him out for this though and told him that she did not need him to do this, which he seemed to listen to.

 

It might look like I disliked more about the book than I liked, but I really did enjoy the book overall. It was a fun read with a charming main character whose enthusiasm for Bollywood really shone through.

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review 2018-05-02 02:50
DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 6
DC Comics: Bombshells Vol. 6 - Marguerite Bennett

The Bombshells series draws to a conclusion with a final battle against Hugo Strange and Killer Frost, as well as the mastermind behind the villains the Bombshells have faced. Supergirl and Raven both must face their pasts if they want to win.

 

This final volume was a nice ending to the series, but not an entirely satisfying one. Quite a few main characters were missing entirely from this volume, including Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Mera. Luckily, there is a sequel series to continue their stories. I'm not surprised that the book couldn't fit in every character since this series has a huge cast. But it did continue the stories of the ones who made it in the book very nicely.

 

The book started with more of Batgirl and the Suicide Squad as they staged a rescue. They were only in the book for an issue, but their group dynamic was fun and I'd love to see more of them.

 

Supergirl got a big reveal in her former home planet and her parentage that she had to quickly come to terms with and face in this volume as her birth mother's identity is revealed. She also got some nice bonding with her clone siblings, Power Girl and Superman, and Lois Lane (hopefully her future love interest).

 

Raven also had to face her past when she met her father again. And her new-found family with Zatanna and Constantine continued to be adorable.

 

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy also continued to be cute, even if Harley had some very bad jokes that Ivy had to endure.

 

From start to finish, the Bombshells series proved to be a fun ride with the ladies of the DC universe taking center stage. It took the simple concept of what the world would be like if the female superheroes came first and ran with it, re-imagining their dynamics in a World War II setting. And so many queer characters. I don't think there was a single issue that didn't feature a queer character, with most featuring multiple.

 

I'm so glad there's a sequel to this because I loved every moment of this series and there's so many more stories that can be told with all the characters. And hopefully more DC heroines will join the series.

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