Fast YA reads

Whether you’re in a reading slump, don’t feel like dedicating yourself to a thick book, or just wanting to catch up with your reading goal – here are some books that might help. Everyone reads at their own pace, but you’ll consume these books (all around 300 pages) fast!



AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS
– Margaret Rogerson


Rogerson brings you on a fascinating journey with this fast and mesmerising YA fantasy, pulling you into a world that feels familiar from the first couple of pages. We follow Isobel, a master of her Craft, painting portraits of her most esteemed clients, the Fair Folk. These fae can’t cook, write or do the simplest of hobbies. As such, they exchange enchantments for paintings or books. When our heroine takes on a royal patron, her life changes as she is – quite literally – whisked away on an adventure. This was a (quasi-) lovers-enemies-to-lovers, with cute moments, magical woods and swords guaranteed to make your heart swell.


The Hazel Wood
– Melissa Albert

If you’re a fan of fairy tales – with a twist – then this book is for you. A clever tale of secrets hidden in plain sights, bad luck and the consequences of magic. As we follow Alice on her quest of getting her mother back after she got kidnapped, despite the one note she was left: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
The Hazel Wood is the estate Alice’s grandmother lives in, the classic author loved by many. Though Alice and her mother have spent their lives running away from bad luck as well as her grandmother’s fans, Alice’s only chance of getting her mum back is to team up with a fan.


Saints and Misfits
– S.K. Ali

The muslim YA contemporary we’ve all been waiting for. Ali paints the daily struggles of a 15 y/o muslim girl as she navigates life’s joys and sorrows. We’re introduced to Janna, her family, friends and foes in such a beautiful way that sticks with you. The protagonist is someone you grow to love as the book goes on, you see the choices Janna makes change as her outlook on life gains bearings.

*** This book also tackles important issues such as islamophobia, sexual assault and death.

Saints and Misfits is also getting a sequel –> Misfits in Love!


Tweet Cute
– Emma Lord

Lord’s debut rom-com is tooth-rotting cuteness and snarky tweets! From popular culture references to mouth-watering food, this rom-com will not disappoint. Pepper and Jack are opposites; she’s the swim teams captain and an overachiever, and he’s the class clown. Pepper secretly runs the twitter account of her family’s burger franchise and gets stuck in a catty tweet war with the local deli’s account run by Jack. Their little war is loved by twitter and soon enough people start shipping them together. Can they endure the tension that results from their personal blows (tweets)?


What did you think? Do you have any other books you think are fast YA reads ? Please let me know your thoughts

These Violent Delights

Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights takes place in 1926 gang-driven Shanghai, amidst all the chaos and hierarchy, a new monster is encompassed into the story. This YA reimagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet gives us the familiar love tale with a twist.

“And he mourned for her. He didn’t wish to, but he did—he ached with the knowledge that the softness of their youth was gone forever, that the Juliette he remembered was long dead. He ached even more to think that though he was the one who had dealt the killing blow,” 
― Chloe Gong, These Violent Delights

If you’re reading this blog, it means you have access to internet. If so, you’ve seen a mention or two of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, one of the most anticipated releases of 2020. It’s been quite a year, and an enemies-to-lovers retelling of a tale everyone is familiar with is just what I needed to get me through. These Violent Delights follows Juliette Cai, the heiress of one of two powerful rival gangs in 1926 Shanghai, the Scarlet Gang. After spending the last four years in America, Juliette is eager to prove to everyone that she is not the same 14 year old lovestruck teenager, but a rose equipped with many thorns. Her other half is none other than heir to the White Flowers, Roma Montagov who is also stuck proving his ruthlessness. The book follows through the turmoils of being successors to the rival gangs of Shanghai, as well as the mysterious illness that plaques the city.

REVIEW:
WRITING: ☆☆☆☆☆
CHARACTERISATION: ☆☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆

The character’s were so very interesting in this book, and I found myself so invested in Juliette’s cause. She has been written so well and I especially loved the yearning/I want to kill Roma thoughts that go through her head. She is just the badass girl who straps as many weapons to herself as she can (including garrotte wire as a //necklace//) while still rocking heels and a shimmery dress. In my mind, she is always wearing a deep red lipstick, dangly earrings (loved by a certain someone) and her hair in little curls.

Roma Montagov is not your average MC. He might be the heir to a big gang, however we discover how his father is really a good for nothing man, who values others over his son following the event 4 years ago. I got such soft vibes from this man, but don’t get me wrong he is still as lethal as Juliette. I absolutely adored the banter and quite clear tension between him and Juliette.

Was it loyalty that created power? Or was loyalty only a symptom, offered when the circumstances were favorable and taken away when the tides turned? 

From These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.

The side characters in this story were also quite interesting, in particular Roma’s cousin; Benedikt Montagov and friend Marshal Seo. Benedikit is the blond brooding character described to have two brains and two hearts; always feeling too much and thinking twice as fast. This might be me reading too much into the characters, but I found hints at him having obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Benedikt is often found head bent and Korean coming out of his mouth in response to Marshal Seo. Marshal is written to be such a witty character, and I believe there is something going on with both him and Benedikt, however that is to be explored in the sequel! Dark haired and described as a raging two-ton explosive, he alongside Benedikt are the two White Flowers publicly showing allegiance to Roma. Kathleen Lai is Juliette’s cousin, and I absolutely loved every scene she was in, and can’t wait to see more about her story, as its obvious there is something there.

Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. These Violent Delights is available for purchase from Hachette’s website.

A Universe of Sufficient Size

Miriam Sved’s A Universe of Sufficient Size is a captivating story touching on family, friendship and sacrifice.

This book was quite entrancing, slowly pulling me into pages. I will be honest, at the first half of the book I found myself wanting to dive into the 1938 chapters, keeping my eye out for any more glimpses of the story there. However, this book really took me on a lovely ride that slowly made sense as I kept on reading. 

I am a scientist that tries to avoid any mentions of maths, but I still found myself clutching the book, fingers hovering over the pages to try to bring to life the words in my head. The intricate details mentioned, and the fact that maths brings these people together in the described intimate way fills me with so much joy. The friendship here was one of my favourite bits of the story, I wanted to be lost in the corners of the love they had for each other. 

It is the upper limit problem – the great open conjecture about whether a sufficiently large set will guarantee structure;

A Universe of Sufficient Size; page 289

I generally have a black and white view of endings. I either like them, or hate them. However here, I am perplexed. I felt that the ride Sved takes her readers through the alternating timelines really sets the ending wonderfully. Not being too revealing while also not making it expected. 

I quite liked the relationship Illy has with her children and how it is explored throughout the story. Not expected, and felt quite raw to me. 

taken from my instagram @scientifcstars

There were some aspects of this book that made me uncomfortable, however overall the experience of reading this story is something I don’t think I’ll forget. 

If you are after a story that will rattle you, and make you so immersed then I would definitely recommend you read A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved.

Special thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a review copy.

We Hunt the Flame – Review


Pure of heart. Dark of intent.

There are not enough words in the English language – screw it, any language for the matter – that can describe how much joy reading this book has brought me. Albeit I have taken my time with reading it, my copy sitting on my desk for a couple of months; just watching me, waiting for me to pick it up and just devour it. I am glad I waited after my exams have finished to start this book, to dedicate all of my focus to it. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, with so many of my mutuals on both instagram and twitter waxing poetics about WHTF.. boy was I wrong. Arabic names, places, food and general words are sprinkled so delicately into this wonder of a book, making the story even more dear to my heart. There is a glossary and pronunciation guide to accompany the book that can be found here!

Review

WRITING: ☆☆☆☆☆
CHARACTERISATION: ☆☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆

Be as victorious as the name I have given you, and bring the desert to its knees.

The world that Faizal so gloriously paints is so dear to my heart and I honestly loved every moment of reading. I loved that I related to so many words and food ; I grew up with my culture not very represented in western media and finding this gem of a book proudly displaying all of its aspects in a tale makes my heart want to burst. Heres to more books so unapologetically Arab!

This is a Pinterest board I made for We Hunt The Flame.

this is a very short review because I adore this book very much and do not want to overthink it / enjoy it less by breaking it down.. maybe some time in the future (AKA before We Free The Stars (THE SEQUEL TO THIS GLORIOUS BOOK!) comes out) I will do a reread and write more about each character. Just know I love the Zumra with my whole heart.


All American Muslim Girl

WRITING: ☆☆☆☆☆
CHARACTERISATION: ☆☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆

If I could compile a list of books for my younger self to read, this book would be at the top of the list. I read through this one so fast, barely wanted to put it down. The writing, the characters.. I simply love every single thing about All American Muslim Girl.

All American Muslim Girl by: Nadine Jolie Courtney

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published on: 12/11/19
Pages: 256
Format: Netgalley


Synopsis

” Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?

ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place. “


I designed this as this is my favourite quote!


Review

Courtney writes a beautiful story that mixes heritage in with growing up in a western society. The pressures, the expectations, the yearning – all of it! I kept tearing up on my commutes to placement reading this, I was completely unable to control my tears. It is so lovely to see a muslim character, a young muslim girl, be free to explore her faith, her relationships so freely. The atmosphere that this book cacophonies you in; like I am back at home with all my family, eating and drinking and laughing and just enjoying each other. I rarely get to read a book with a mood that feels like two warm, loving arms wrapped around me.

The topics in this book, I feel were very well handled. Allie’s journey of exploration throughout this whole story was such an integral part that really solidified it for me. It was very interesting watching her grow into her faith, especially from the perspective of someone who has always known what Islam was and has had many questions answered. We take so many things for granted – but for those who didn’t grow up with faith as a centre of their lives, it is very much an expedition. A pilgrimage of discoveries.

Sometimes, I don’t feel Muslim enough.

The characters in the book were delicate, finishing touches to Allie’s artwork of faith exploration. From her mum; who was always very supportive and allowed her to make her own choices.Allie’s dad was very interesting as a character; someone who experienced Islam from a young age but did not want to suffocate his child by entering their lives around religion; instead he focused on raising Allie on the science hypothesis. Allie’s grandma was a sweet influence on her, with her focusing on learning Arabic to communicate with her properly. I loved this effort from Allie, because of her efforts she was able to really connect with her whole family better.

Dua, Shamsah, Samira, Fatima, Leila were probably my favourite part of this story. The friendship that these girls have and how they have added Allie to their group makes my heart want to burst 💖 I love the issues the group tackled, their trust in each other, their laughter and their cries. So wholesome.

That’s the thing about love. It’s not certain. It requires a leap. It means stepping into the unknown and surrendering to something bigger than yourself, against all obstacles.

The love aspect of this book was quite sweet, however I don’t really have much to say about it. I did feel it was an integral part to Allie’s story, especially with how supportive Well’s is throughout her journey of exploring her faith. I am very happy that the relationship was portrayed in a very “normal” manner; just like any other teen love story would be. (minus the Halal rules, of course)


Ex astris, sara


Where to find the author

Where to find the book


Stops of this blog tour:

November 12th:

Star Is All Booked Up

The Tsundoku Chronicles

November 13th: 

Em’s Bookish Musings

November 14th:

Words about Words

November 15th:

ScientificStars

The Tsundoku Chronicles

November 16th:

Moonlight Rendezvous

November 17th:

Em’s Bookish Musings

Nargis Kalani

November 18th:

A Belle In A Bookshop

November 19th:

Fafa’s Book Corner

Star is All Booked Up

We Died In Water

By Meg Flores // Pub date Oct 1 2019.

I RECEIVED AN ARC FOR THIS BOOK.

WRITING: ☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆

This is all it takes to disbelieve a thing – a glimpse. A soft undoing.

We Died In Water is a bewitching poetical memoir that forces the reader to fully grasp the journey enclosed – both the heartache and learning that comes about from a relationship.

Though I have no experience in heartbreak, in leaving or being left, I did find myself engrossed in how Flores manages to almost make her troubles seem artistic. She mixes paragraphs that drag you like sand meshing into the ocean ,  and a sentence or two crashing into you like waves. I found myself rereading pages, and pausing at some to just think about the hurt and continuity that both mother and daughter went through.

We come apart and turn colorless.

As someone who is very much into poetry, a couple of pages from this work has made itself into my journal. Thank you for pouring your heart into these pages.

If you would like to pick up a copy of We Died In Water, please visit your local book store or if you prefer to get yourself a signed copy, head to Flores’ shop.

credits for my image, made using:

Ipad mockup: Anthony Boyd Graphics

Scene mockup: Junnxy @ CM

Bury The Lede

by Gaby Dunn | Pub Date: 08 Oct 2019

I RECEIVED AN ARC FOR THIS BOOK.

WRITING: ☆☆☆☆☆
CHARACTERISATION: ☆☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆

A dark and captivating rendition of Supergirl ! 

This graphic novel follows the uncertain navigation of Reporter Intern Madison Jackson through her first big murder lead, relationships, feelings and family drama.

I loved the art style and the colours so much! Purple undertones made sure I was at the edge of my seat when reading this one. 

The representation in this graphic novel is actually so subtle and I loved when they chucked in some Spanish in the sentences. 

Overall this was a thrilling read so make sure to grab yourself a copy in Oct!

Aphrodite Made Me Do It

I received an ARC from NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

What do you need?

What are you looking for?

Nothing

Everything

Author: Trista Mateer

Publisher: Central Avenue & Publisher

Publish date: 01/10/2019

Pages: 175

Though I have not read other works by Mateer, this one really blew me away. To be completely honest, the title and the cover is what made me gravitate towards this wonderfully crafted poetry collection.

The illustrations are out of this world. The way Mateer combined artwork and poetry gave me a feel of a very sophisticated mesh.

The poetry that you see on the internet (ie, tumblr!) is very similar to the way this was written, where it has a way of reaching out of its confinement’s of screen and grasping the strings of your heart.

Every single part of this beautifully crafted book gave me goosebumps, but I find myself highlighting a few, and reaching for my poetry notebook. This is where I write any poetry that I read online, in books or anywhere that has touched me in some way. Words are something very dear to me.

There were wars started in my name.

Oh how lovely is that ending of the first poem of Aphrodite Airs Her Grievances. Ares really didn’t stand a chance.

If you love poetry and want something that will make you fall in love with it even more; I highly recommend you pick this up! The art is definitely something you haven’t seen before.

Ex astris, sara

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

I received an ARC for this book.

WRITING: ☆☆☆☆☆
CHARACTERISATION: ☆☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆

Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for providing me with a digital ARC!

This is my first book by Adrienne Young and thought I had mixed feelings about it at the beginning, I am very happy with the ending and the path this book lead to.

About halfway through the book I was convinced this was going to be a simple 3 star but the more I pushed myself to read the more i really started to connect with Tova.


“The truth was everywhere. It was in everything. You only had to open your eyes to see it.”

I really liked that the book was heavy on her characterisation, and how everything always related back to her heritage and past.

— mild spoilers ahead —

The one thing I think I wasn’t entirely comfortable (or perhaps I just didn’t understand) was the constant mentioning of Halvard. It almost seemed that there was infatuation after their limited intereaction but I got over that towards the end.

The romance (expected, I mean this is a YA) was sweet and just the right amount, didn’t feel over saturated and unnecessary.

The Secret History

WRITING: ☆☆☆☆☆
CHARACTERISATION: ☆☆☆☆☆
OVERALL : ☆☆☆☆☆

What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star?

I’ve seen this book worshipped by the “dark academia” fanatics on tumblr.

I definitely have heard of Donna Tartt’s talent of attracting a reader like a magnet, inticing in a very eloquent way. Despite all of this, I wasn’t prepared for the ending of this book.

By far, the best use of a plot twist I have ever read.

I think I didn’t get the sense that I really love these characters, until the end of the book. The way Tartt describes her characters is interesting and something I haven’t come across before. She somehow manages to put them on a pedestal and simultaneously portray them in a bad light.

It was quite a lengthy read, but I found myself taking my time with this book because I wanted to really devour it.

Ex astris, sara