April/May Wrap Up – I can’t believe it!

aka I never thought this day would come again.

 


 

April

 

Monstress Vol. 1 – 3.5 stars

 

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Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers. Collects MONSTRESS #1-6.

 

At first I questioned why so many people recommended this one to me, it felt all over the place. Then, the action started, and little by little we got to see the rich mythology of the world. And it was worth it.

 

 

 

Truth: Part 1 (#4 Small Town Series) – 4 stars

 

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My thoughts on this one, and the series thus far, is here. I won’t put the synopsis and risk spoiling the series, but I will say that this one was my favortie of the lot.

 

 

 

May

 

Wicked River – 3.5 stars

 

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Poor decision after poor decision and even worse communication. I had really high hopes for this one, but it missed the mark. Not by too much though. Check my review: here!

 

 

 

 

Leah on the Offbeat – 5 stars

 

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Just like I knew it would be! This one really resonates with me on a level that no other book has before. It left me feeling seen. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority on this one…but  I’d still recommend it any day.

 

 

 

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper – 3 stars

 

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I’m not sure this one was for me. The mystery was mediocre at best, but the writing style saved it and the ending was fine. It’s left me unsure about going on to book two. Have you read it? Is it worth it?

 

 

 

Harry Potter #1 and #2 – 5 stars

 

Is this any question? I needed to reenter a world that has always been there for me, because it’s been a stressful month. Dobby is still my favorite, Lockhart is still an unfortunate idiot and Snape is just as frustrating as he’s always been.

 

 

 

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku – DNF (1 star)

 

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Narumi and Hirotaka are, by all appearances, a power couple. They’re young, good-looking professionals. But they have secrets from everyone but each other: They’re serious geeks! Narumi is a fujoshi, and Hirotaka’s a hardcore gamer. Their sweet, awkward love story started life as a webcomic before becoming a full-blown manga series by popular demand, and is about to become a major anime series!work.

 

Nope.

 

 

Midnight Rising (Midnight Breed #4)

 

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Woof! It’s been a while since I delved in this world and Lara Adrian’s steamy writing style. Rio has always been my broken little favorite and having this book follow his story was just what I’ve always wanted. Plus, learning about his childhood? How can I hug him irl? No summary because *spoilers*.

 


 

I surprised myself this time around! How has your mont of reading been?

 

Dee ^_^

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Monday Reads

aka What I’m reading this week!

 

 


This one shouldn’t be too hard for those of you who are following my Goodreads updates, but, for those of you who only see these posts, this might be welcome information.

 

 

These week on ‘Dee Reads for Food’ we have:

 

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Have you ever played two truths and a lie?

Emma has. Her first summer away from home, she learned how to play the game. And she learned how to lie.

Then three of her new friends went into the woods and never returned . . .

Now, years later, Emma has been asked to go back to the newly re-opened Camp Nightingale. She thinks she’s laying old ghosts to rest but really she’s returning to the scene of a crime.

Because Emma’s innocence might be the biggest lie of all…

I really enjoyed Final Girls, especially Sager’s writing style, so this one was a no brainer. Getting approved for this ARC definitely made my day. Expected date of publication: July 12, 2018.

 

I’m also listening to the audiobook of

 

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I told you, I’m in the mood for rereads.

 


What are you reading this week?

You again? – Books I’d reread any day!

I’ve had a sudden urge to reread books recently and so I thought I’d talk about the books that I’d reread any day, especially since I’m not really big on rereading. It feels too much like English Lit class. But…yet, here I am…so idk.

 


Anything by Becky Albertalli

She leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, and for that, I can definitely keep coming back.

 

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve spoken several times about the love I have for these characters and this world so I won’t go into it again. Just know that I love my SnoBaz with all my heart. Their love is lovely.

 

 

The HP series

This one should be obvious right? Like, anyone who loves Harry Potter can relate. Right????

 

 

Charlotte’s Web

It’s so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Honestly, if an author can master blending both those things in a book, I. Am. Here. For. It.

 

 

 

History is all You Left Me/TBDATE

As much as these books broke me, I adored every moment of it. The hurt was worth it, and I want to be hurt by them again.

 


This post has left me feeling like reading all of these RIGHT NOW! So…maybe…that’s just what I’ll do. (In fact, after I decided to do this post I’ve read HP and the Philosopher’s Stone).

Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

aka I think I’m in love


 

 

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Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Released: April 24, 2018.


 

There shall be no Blue spoilers in this one…

 

 

The characters

 

“I hate when assholes have talent.”

 

(The) Leah Catherine Burke

 

Oh, my heart. I have found myself on the page!!!

 

Leah is a publicly strong individual whose internal demons sometimes gets the better of her, and you know what? That’s okay. That’s perfectly normal, because everyone has their demons, and we all deal with them in different ways. But. BUT. She’s also abrasive when she gets in her head, so you either tolerate her or you don’t, so she doesn’t have many strong friendships. So don’t expect too many epic gossip sessions with her girls, because this very imperfect, relatable character doesn’t do soft and mushy.

 

Leah trying on prom dresses breaks me, leaves me raw because I can relate. I never used to feel good trying on clothes, they need seem to fit me right, so to see her find one that she loves and have her mom shit on it, and for it to cost so much on top of that…God. I quite literally cried reading this scene.

 

How Leah shuts down/downplays what she’s feeling? I. Am. That.

 

 

“I feel knocked down . I feel demoted.

 

Simon and Blue

 

Still the greatest OTP I’ve read about in a while and I want another book of their love. Please, Becky. Please???

Simon and Blue check for Leah in a way that none of her other friends do, and it’s sweet and wonderful to witness. My unproblematic faves need protecting at all costs.

 

 

“I dare you to kiss me.”

Morgan and Anna

Remember those two from T.H.U.G (Chris and Hailey) who represented the two types of white people?  Well, here they are again. However, Morgan realized the error of her ways, unlike Hailey. so good for her, I guess. She’s still trash though because an angry tongue speaks the truth and that truth was racist as all hell.

 

Abby

I’m glad that I got to see this side of her, which we didn’t get in Simon. I didn’t expect it, but I didn’t hate it either. Go on then Abby!

 

The plot

 

‘No one ever warns the baby.’

 

There are things in this book that you just see coming from a mile away and normally I would be annoyed by this but this isn’t a mystery or a thriller or suspense so I didn’t feel robbed of anything. You saw the prom scene, you saw Leah’s reaction to having a crush coming, but you didn’t necessarily see that the crush was reciprocal.

 

Aside from Leah’s internal battle against her feelings, and the usual high school senior angst, there’s nothing else to this book. It’s not calm, but its mundanity was a welcome change. There was no scheming, no bullying, just teens trying to enjoy their last few weeks together.

 

The plot is simple and easy to follow so you don’t need to set aside too much brain power after a taxing day. You can pick it up and have a good chuckle (or cry depending) and escape reality for a little while.

 

My thoughts

 

‘She makes me want to shove my hand into my chest and rip my own heart out.’

 

This isn’t a cute story that leaves you feeling sugar cubes coursing through your veins, no dancing sugar plum fairies. This one hurts just as much as it gives you something to feel good about. Leah’s pain becomes your pain, but her triumphs? Oh, they were much more brilliant after all of her hurt. Seeing her finally happy, with herself and with her love life, was worth the moments of self-loathing and doubt.

 

Yes, the prom was cliched but that was the point. Even Leah points out how cliched it is. But that’s what made it cute, the fact that they went through with it anyway. Let them be kids one last time.

 

I also want to address the complaints about Leah’s character. Honestly, this Leah was more likable, understandable to me than the Simon ‘Leah’. I wasn’t fond of her in Simon. I found her selfish and cold and I couldn’t connect with her. But this Leah? I feel seen with this Leah. I saw this Leah’s pain and claimed her as my own.

 

But you know what else this book showed me? That I am just as much a Simon as I am a Leah. But how can I be so Leah and Simon at the same time?! OMG Becky just sees me. I feel seen.

 

I think it’s worth a try, I really do.

 

 


TL;DR: This one hurts you, but as with all things Albertalli, the sweet moments leave you flying high. Read this if you don’t mind a main character that isn’t all the way likable. Also, read Simon Vs if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

Goodreads: 4.26

BN: 4.7

Amazon: 4.6

My rating: 5 MUST HAVE MORE stars.

 

 

 

ARC Review: Wicked River by Jenny Milchman

aka This some white people mess…

 


 

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Six million acres of Adirondack forest separate Natalie and Doug Larson from civilization. For the newlyweds, an isolated, back country honeymoon seems ideal: a chance to start their lives together with an adventure, on their own. But just as Natalie and Doug begin to explore the dark interiors of their own hearts, as well as the depths of their love for each other, it becomes clear that they are not alone in the woods.

Because six million acres makes it easy for the wicked to hide. And even easier for someone to go missing for good.

As they struggle with the worst the wilderness has to offer, a man watches them, wielding the forest like a weapon. And once they are near his domain, he will do everything in his power to make sure they never walk out again.

Published: May 1, 2018.

 

The characters

 

 

Natalie

Oh Natalie…how I wish you weren’t so easily swayed, then none of this would have happened. You would have had a traditional honeymoon, with accessible communication, and warm beds etc. Instead, you get lost in the middle of nowhere with a madman on the loose. It’s your own fault! It was sad to witness how easily she gave in to Doug’s every whim, how much she leaned on him for every aspect of her life, to the point that she no longer even had friends in her corner. And she certainly didn’t question enough.

However, I can say that without this honeymoon from hell she wouldn’t have the very visible character growth throughout. She goes from someone who is unsure of their every decision, to a woman who is firm and independent and sure of herself. It’s a wonderful change.

 

 

 

Doug

Honestly, he is everything that I don’t like in male MCs. He gets his way, or no one wins. His friends are creepy, he’s creepy and he completely overpowers Natalie. Okay, to be fair, it is clear that he really does love her, but yikes, let up a little. I didn’t trust him from the very beginning, but he does make up for it in his defense of Nat.

He’s one of those characters that you have to give a chance before making a judgment.

 

 

 

Mia

This. Little. Girl. She is an eyeroll in human form. Honestly, youth makes you reckless and cocky, but Jesus! Mia is Natalie’s precocious (almost) thirteen-year-old niece; they both dote on each other and so she is the first one to realize that something is amiss with her aunt’s honeymoon trip. Unfortunately, she rubbed me the wrong way throughout the entire story, which made her vital role as a story driver a tad annoying for me. I could, however, appreciate the change in her at the end of the novel.

On the positive side, I can say that her determination to find Nat and Doug was admirable.

 

 

Kurt

There is so much wrong with him as a person. As a character though? Well done Jenny! He is just what you want an antagonist to be: unlikeable with a logic so skewed that you can’t help but wonder how they function on a daily basis. Yet their logic is almost always fully understandable if you put yourself in their shoes. When he goes into his childhood trauma, you can’t help but understand why he is so broken as an adult. I wouldn’t go so far as saying I want to save him or hug him because he took his childhood to an unacceptable extreme, but I understand. 

I could definitely have stood to have more time in his head, as creepy as it was to experience.

 

 

 

The plot

 

From the very beginning, the idea of this story gripped me. The idea of a couple of newlyweds going on an adventure to start their new life together and somehow having to fight for their survival is intriguing to me. I was curious as to how something goes so far left that returning to civilization is a question rather than a certainty.

The plot jumps between three different POVs: Natalie, Mia and Kurt, the most intriguing of which was Kurt’s. However, the three different narrators gave the story a level of uncertainty as, for most of the story, neither of the narrators was experiencing the same things. Mia was our lead investigator back in the real world, Natalie and Doug were preoccupied with surviving while Kurt was…Kurt.

As far as plots and the formula for a good plot goes, this one works. Every time you something major is about to happen you can feel it. The moments when you think things are finally working in our couple’s favor, your hope is dashed, and I LOVED it! All in all, I’m here for it.

That hidden element, the driving force behind choosing the Adirondack as a honeymoon location, caught me off guard. Guaranteed, you will be too because by the time it comes up you’ll be so focused on Nat and Doug’s race for survival. It’s like a little bonus plotline for you.

 

 

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

Kurt is certifiable, and not a ‘haha he’s just a little socially inept’ way (not that mental illness is EVER funny), in a ‘this man has gone too far to see how wrong his actions are’ way, so the way his storyline ends is a little unsatisfying for me. I wanted him to suffer more than he did, live HIS worst nightmare a little bit.

I also need to mention that this is not a situation that I could ever see myself getting into. EVER! Like, no judgment to people who love camping in the middle of ABSOLUTE nowhere, but that ain’t for me. On top of that, for this to be your honeymoon plan? Nope. Next. Nah. Honeymoons are for enjoying each other, not expending your energy paddling rivers.

The writing was enjoyable enough, with some lines that made me want to make quote prints and hang them all over my room. You could get lost in this world if you wanted to, I think. I just wish there was more of the world to get lost in, and less returning to civilization. Civilization is not what I signed up for, give me more wilderness!

 

 


TL;DR: The idea is intriguing, so if you don’t mind having a particularly obnoxious thirteen-year-old as a story driver, then go right ahead. But, if you’re here for a wilderness survival thriller…be warned, it’s not all you’ll be getting. There’s duplicity, family drama and questionable decision-making throughout.

 

Goodreads: 3.66

BN: 4.5

Amazon: 4.1

My rating: 3.5 doing-too-much stars.

Friday Reads – Let’s do this!

I’m trying this ‘planned reading’ thing again. I don’t think I’ll be able to do a full TBR but I think I could stick to a simple ‘weekend reads’ thing.

 

Here goes nothing.

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I’ve had my eye on this one since it came out, but the hype kept me at arm’s length. Then I saw a Buddy Read set up for this weekend and decided that now was as good a time as any. Hopefully, I’m not left disappointed.

 

and if I make a big enough dent on this one, then I’ll start

 

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

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How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

 

This one I had as an ARC (for an embarrassingly long time) titled ‘The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle’ so I don’t know at what point she got half a life back but, here we are. Lol.

 


What are you planning on reading this weekend? Any words of encouragement to share, because I’m all out…

 

 

Dee ^_^

Books that I read in High School (Required)

You guys are going to think I’m obsessed with her…but I saw this one over on Kristin Kraves (AGAIN). She’s just been very inspiring lately okay?

 


 

I could narrow it down to just 5 books, so instead, I’ll do 5 categories.

Shakespeare

Macbeth

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Macbeth


Macbeth was my first full-fledged introduction to his plays and my classmates and I were LIVING for the drama. Lady Macbeth was brutal but determined, which I could admire, but she and her husband needed to take it down a notch or ten. RELAX!

King Lear

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King Lear

There was certainly a theme with Shakespeare’s plays, and especially the ones that my Literature teachers chose: a touch of madness. I really enjoyed this one, all the backstabbing and family drama. I think I’ll read this one again in the near future.

 

 

 

 

Much Ado About Nothing

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Much Ado About Nothing

Who doesn’t love a scandalous wedding drama? Nobody, that’s who! This one wasn’t my favorite but it was intriguing enough to keep me interested during those evening classes. I would recommend this one only if you have a high tolerance for poorly communicating characters.

 

 

 

 

 

West Indian

Green Days by the River

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Green Days by the River (Caribbean Writers Series)

 

Remember when I said that my Lit teachers lived for the drama? This one was nothing but clutch-your-pearls level drama. But it’s also relatable. Boy moves to a new neighborhood and falls for the girl next door. Except, her daddy isn’t here for it. If you can get your hands on this one, I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

Classics

A Separate Peace

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A Separate Peace

 

This one was not a good experience for me. It was slow, and it wasn’t even a story that interested me in the least. On top of that when I read this one I wasn’t too fond of the teacher and the way she made Lit uninspired. I don’t think it’s a horrible book, but it just wasn’t for me.

 

 


The Pearl

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The Pearl

 

When I read this one on my own I enjoyed it. When I read it in class it was torture. I have never had a book drag on for so bloody long! Good Lord, it was awful and it wasn’t helped by that MAJOR EVENT that happened.

 

 

 

 

Diaspora

Harriet’s Daughter

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Harriet's Daughter


This is a frustrating book to read because here was this little girl, determined to DO something, to honor the struggles of her ancestors, and she was being told that she couldn’t. This was one of the first moments that I truly saw myself in a book, that I fully connected with the main character and their message. Try it, you just might like it.

 

 

 

Drama

Death of a Salesman

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Death of a Salesman

 

Attention must be paid! Willy Loman is such a broken character and I think he birthed a love of broken characters in me. This is where it all began.

 

 

 

 

The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie

This one was interesting and sad. But honestly, I could only feel so sad for them, because they brought it on themselves. If they would just stop for two seconds and stop pushing things would work out. Instead, they used and manipulated and gah.

 

 


What books did you read in high school that have stayed with you?

 

 

Leave Me A Link and I’ll Share Your Page!!

I saw this and thought it was such a lovely idea!

Dream Big, Dream Often

As most of my followers know I am big into helping other bloggers gain more exposure. My goal has been to grow a community of like-minded people and I am part way to my goal.  I am bringing back the open call to leave a link and I’ll share it for you!!

The basic rules are simple: leave me a link to your page.  I’m not sure it gets much simpler.  You can leave as many links as you want and I’ll cycle this post from day-to-day so more people can jump on board.  The link post I’ll create will publish on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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How well does Goodreads know me pt 2

The first time I attempted to do this it went well and I said that I’d do it again for my 5 star shelf. Well…turns out the recommendations weren’t much different. So here I go again with a themed shelf instead: Graphic Novels.

 

 

 

 


Before I begin it’s worth noting that there is one thing all these books have in common: Manga Classics – Emma by Po Tse. The other recommendations (not included in this list) were all based on either A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness or Daniel X: Alien Hunter by James Patterson.

 

 

Bloom’s Discovery (Winx Club) by Iginio Straffi

 

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A group of fairy friends learn to hone their magic while fighting evil and darkness!Reads L to R (Western Style) Meet the Winx Club, a group of beautiful fairies who fight evil using their unique magical powers! As they battle scary monsters and trouble-making witches, the girls become stronger fairies and closer friends. Bloom’s Discovery Before Bloom became part of the Winx Club, she was living a normal teenager’s life. All that changed one day when she discovered that she’s actually a fairy! Now Bloom’s life is anything but ordinary as she uses her magic to fight wicked villains.

Will I read it- Nope. Just…nope.

 

 

Kingdom Hearts II Vol 1 by Shiro Amano

 

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A young boy named Roxas whiles away the last days of his summer vacation with his three best friends in their quiet little home of Twilight Town. But all is not as it should be in this hamlet nestled between night and day. Strange things keep happening around Roxas, which always seem to involve mysterious creatures…and he is plagued by dreams of a boy named Sora, whom he has never met. Bewildered, Roxas searches for answers . . . Will they lead him to Sora, Donald, and Goofy?

Will I read it- I’m confused…am I meant to have read Kingdom Hearts I? Is there a Kingdom Hearts I?

 

 

 

 

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

 

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Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.

Will I read it- Do you see how cute this cover is? Have you read that tooth-aching summary? Of course, I will!

 

 

 

My Little Pony by Alex de Campi

 

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Introducing four tales dedicated to exploring the magic of friendship. First, Applejack and Pinkie Pie enter a baking contest! Then, The Cutie Mark Crusaders team up with Discord, Spike enlists Princess Celestia to help him find a birthday present, and finally, Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor chase down a mysterious ghost.

Will I read it- God, no.

 

 

 

Suki-tte Ii na yo, Volume 1 by Kanae Hazuki

 

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Mei Tachibana has spent her 16 years without making either boyfriend or friends. One day, she injures a popular boy in school, Yamato Kurosawa, because of a misunderstanding but for some reason it seems that he takes a liking to her and one-sidedly claims that they’re friends. Furthermore, he not only protects Mei from a stalker, he does it with a kiss…?!!

Will I read it- yup. Sounds fluffy enough to be a quick read.

 

 

I think it’s safe to say this is more miss than it is hit. Yikes!


Have any of you gone through your  Goodreads recommendations and found some gems? Tell me about it.

 

Mini-review Monday

Today’s theme: Graphic Novels.

 

Monstress Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu

Art Style – The art style perfectly matched the theme. It’s exactly what I would expect of a sci-fi/fantasy artwork, and so it didn’t distract from the story in any way.

Overall: In the beginning, I wasn’t very sure what I was reading. I didn’t look too hard into this one because it’s been recommended to me so many times that I figured I go on blind faith this time around. It grows on you though, I just wish the backstory was clearer from the start. Like, why are the two factions so against each other?

 

It eventually grew on me though, the little snippets of information at a time. So I can definitely see why so many people recommended it to me.

 

Give it a try.

 

My rating: 3.5 stars

 

 

Books are my kryptonite and my salvation.