You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

Thank you to netgalley and Penguin UK/Michael Joseph for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very odd book. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this and I probably won’t for the very foreseeable future. This books is all written as the written files of a person on trial for murder as he gives his final argument for himself.

I’m not the biggest fan of books told in nuanced language, like if it’s told from a characters dialect or it has a different style of writing to the norm. But I was able to read this despite the MC’s voice being written exactly as it would sound. I think that’s what made the book work though, reading it the way it would’ve been spoken.

It felt like Mahmood did his research, he’s pakistani and the characters in this book are all black, so obviously a different racial background and upbringing. But it did feel like he wrote their stories very well with a good insight into how gang culture for black young people works in London.

There was some moments where there was some really sensitive topics, like rape and murder and drug dealing, so trigger warning for that, and at times I felt like it was dealt with well and other times it felt too casual. And of course that’s because the novel is all told through speech, but it was a little too blasé at times and I wasn’t too keen on that.

It was quite slow, when we got to the midway point where the story started winding up it moved a lot faster but I felt like the MC spent just a bit too long on the back story, and had I been a juror I probably would’ve fallen asleep.

I liked the MC, his attitude to his girlfriend kind of annoyed me. It felt like he thought he owned her at times, not like in an over the top way but there was some elements at times of him being a bit too protective. But he read well and I could feel his need for the jury to really hear his story, even if it meant messing up his life.

I looked up the author and he’s a lawyer so I assume he would know the legal system like the back of his hand but it was like a 10 day final argument which I didn’t even think could happen. It felt a bit unrealistic, like surely the judge would tell him to wrap it up?

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May Wrap Up

So as you read this I’m on a plane to Tokyo to begin my 5 week back pack around East Asian cities with Joanne. I won’t be online very much and it will basically be only scheduled reviews going live from my schedule but I’ll try and be on a couple of times.

We’re going to Tokyo, Seoul, Jeju Island, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Min City, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Phuket and Bangkok.

I had an incredibly slow reading month this month, as ACOWAR took me 2 weeks to finish, which is unheard of from me.

Other than that work has still been very hectic, we’re still short staffed and I still need to sleep forever. Joanne came to visit me on Skye and we did all the tourist spots, which will probably come as a shock to you but I’ve never been to some of the places we went just because I live here I’m not going to go to these places where there are millions of idiots.

I’m still in the process of trying to get a flat for when I start back at uni in August which is so annoying.

This month I read:

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Frostbite by Richelle Mead
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea De Salle
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

This month I reviewed:

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephenie Perkins
George by Alex Gino
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Romantics by Leah Konen
The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This month I bought:

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Flame in the Mist by Renee Adieh (Fairyloot)
City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault
Strong Signal by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Fit by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I’ve had Adam Silvera on my TBR for a while now and just never got around to reading anything. But then I saw History in the airport on my way to Italy so I just though I would get it, especially since the only other physical book I took with me was SOC. Like all of my reviews, but specifically the ones which have sensitive topics, if I say something wrong or offensive let me know please.

Griffin’s first love has died in a tragic accident and Griffin has to navigate the world without Theo in it suddenly. On top of that Theo’s new boyfriend is constantly trying to make friends with Griffin when all he wants to do is hate him, since he was the new boyfriend.

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t read much books involving gay male teens written by gay male writers. For some reason all the kind of popular gay books are written by women, which is another discussion for another day about sexualisation of gay guys. It was refreshing to read something like this, where it was just about these kids trying to live their lives after such a bad experience.

Theo was honestly really annoying. He thought OCD was a “cute quirk” and he moved on immediately to some guy who looked exactly like his ex. And then jerked his new boyfriend about because he still liked said ex, which just made me very uncomfortable.

Something I really liked about this book, well not necessarily liked, was that it had a good representation of grief. How people do silly things when they’re grieving. It showed the different reactions people go through which I thought was done really well, a lot of books just show a person being sad and miss out on the whole slew of emotions that a person will go through. There was a couple of twists because of the grief all the characters go through that really had me quite shocked, and that takes a lot.

 

To add to that it also had good representation of OCD. I don’t know if Silvera has OCD, I don’t know how life, but if he didn’t it still felt real. There was some stereotypes and some lesser known OCD related habits. I could tell that he’d done his research into it.

At the moment I have this book as on my faves shelf on goodreads, but I’m not really sure about it. Like I really loved it but I feel like it wasn’t quite up there with other books I’ve read recently. I don’t know.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

How do you write a review of a book which means so much to you?

This book is all based around a heist made by 6 teenagers in order to get a sum of money beyond their wildest dreams. The problem is, despite these kids being incredibly sneaky the place they need to break into is like Alcatraz and is apparently impossible to break into.

The characters in this book meant so much to me. You have Inej who is POC and believes in her religion without embarrassment. Kaz is like the biggest bad boy around but he has such a troubled past and he continues to be a kingpin of the underworld even though he has no family left and has a limp. Nina is also POC and she takes no shit and is such a boss character and I just felt such a connection to her. There also some same sex flirtation and a bi/pan character. They’re so diverse but I felt like I could connect to all of them even if they had a different background to me. Normally when you have a book with multiple points of view you can find yourself leaning more towards other certain characters chapters and feel like you skip some character’s chapters to get to other but I didn’t have that problem with this. I enjoyed every characters POVs, even the characters I wasn’t as fond of.

At times there was some really smart twists that Bardugo had obviously spent a lot of time planning this book. Though I have to say I felt like I guessed them before they happened but I think that was probably just me, or really good foreshadowing. I watch a lot of TV with plots and twists, and obviously you know if you’ve been following me a while that I like fantasy novels so I feel like I’m actually pretty good at guessing what’s going to happen next, more than the average reader anyway.

This book read like a teenagers Ocean’s Eleven. Everything was so planned, down to even minute details that Kaz felt like Danny Ocean. Confusing even the people who were on his side because he was just always 2 steps ahead of everything else. And because of this I really felt like the pacing was really good.

One random thing I noted to myself when readig was that I absolutely adored the descriptions of Ketterdam. I felt like I could so vividly imagine it, like the leaning buildings and the dirt filled streets. It was like a movie in my mind at times.

I don’t know if I can bring myself to read Crooked Kingdom because I don’t think I’m ready for it. But I’m also dying to read it.

I don’t need to tell you to read this book because I’m sure it’s already on every single one of your TBRs since it’s been one of the most hyped up books in YA in the past couple year’s. But it’s hyped for a reason and I hope if you were umming and ahhing about whether to buy it that my review has swung you.

 

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The New Disney Princess Book Tag

Thank you to Eva for tagging me! It was created by Zuky and Mandy.

THE RULES

  • Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you because that’s always good fun
  • Tag Book Princess Reviews and Zuky with our posts so we can check out the wonderful Princess fun throughout the blog world
  • Play a game of tag at the end!

 

SNOW WHITE

THIS BOOK (LIKE THE MOVIE) STARTED IT All

Favorite Debut Book From an Author 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, is there any other answer for this?

 

CINDERELLA

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

Just Like Cinderella, You Either Didn’t Expect Much Out of This Character in the Beginning But Turned Out to Be a Total Gem 

AURORA

SLEEPING BEAUTY

A Book That Makes You Sleepy or Just Could Not Hold Your Attention
Honestly? A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, I was so excited but it was so damn long it took me 2 weeks to read that damn book.

ARIEL

UNDER THE SEA

A Book With a Water/Ocean Setting
The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember. This book sounds amazing, an f/f norse mythology take on The Little Mermaid I’m desperate to read it.
 

BELLE

BEAUTY AND THE BOOKS

Name a Book With the Best Bookworm/Book Lover
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, the MC is obsessed with Anna Karenina to the point where she made her own web series adaptation of it, of course I had to pick this.
 

Jasmine

The Thief and the Princess

Name Book with an Unlikely Love Story (Either in Terms of Romance or a Book You Didn’t Expect to Love So Much)
Chris and Starr were a couple I really didn’t expect to love in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Of course the focus of this book wasn’t focussed on the romance at all but by the end of the book I really loved these two together.

POCAHONTAS

THE REAL LIFE PRINCESS

Name a Book that is Based on a Real Life Person You Want to Read/Have Read
I really want to read The Devil in the White City about HH Holmes, but I haven’t got around to it yet.

Mulan

The Princess that Saved Her Country

Name the Fiercest Heroine You Know
 Kady in Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, she goes onto a plague infested spaceship to save everyone, that’s pretty fierce.

Tiana

The Princess With The Coolest And Most Diverse Crew

Name a diverse book whether it is a diverse set of characters (like Tiana’s group of Naveen, Louis, Ray, and more) or just diverse in general
There are a couple of obvious answers I could go with for this but they’re written by white people and I feel like that goes against what the question is asking really so I’m going to go with Noteworthy by Riley Redgate which I desperately want to read and have heard it’s diverse in race, gender and sexuality.D
 

Rapunzel

Let Your Longggggg Hair Down

Name the Longest Book You’ve Ever Read
Longest singular book is Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

Merida

I Determine My Own Fate

A Book Where There is No Love Story/Interest or Isn’t Needed
See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng, it’s all about being a child and finding out life isn’t how you thought it was.

Anna/Elsa

Frozen Hearts

A Book in a Winter/Cold Setting
Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon is set up a mountain I think that can be classed as a cold setting?
 

Moana

How Far I’ll Go

A Character That Goes on a Journey
I’m going to go with a book I’ve already mentioned and say The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas because Starr goes on a figurative journey when she begins to stand up for her race and determines that she does want to have her voice heard.
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The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

Thank you to netgalley and Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is about someone with mental diversity so if I have made a mistake with wording please let me know, like I ask for all my reviews!

The State of Grace follows Grace, a teen with Asperger’s whose dad is a wildlife photographer as a boy takes a romantic interest in her for the first time ever. But then things start to change at home and her whole world seems to go skewiff.

I haven’t heard much about this book online really which I think is a shame because it’s a nice read. It’s an own voices book so I’m sure it’ll ring true with a lot of people.

This book was a really good read. I would say it was a joy but it wasn’t because I got so annoyed all the time by the mother’s terrible parenting. Grace’s mum was having a midlife crisis of some sorts, and wanted to be a teen again, which is how it read to me and so she took it out on Grace. She should’ve known that her actions would’ve impacted Grace negatively and caused her to have a lot of anxiety. She’s her daughter and has lived with her 15 years after all. But this random woman who knows nothing about her current life appears and she drops everything for her. I just got so angry, but that shows that it was written well and realistically, it caused me to have a strong emotion. But before any of that even happened, Grace’s mum was so casually ableist all the time and I just sat there getting so agitated reading it. She was just such a jerk, but she thought she was so well meaning and Grace just accepted it often.

The pacing of this book was really good, I was addicted to reading it and it went really quickly. I started reading it on my flight to Italy and was reading it constantly in the car to the resort.

My one thing that I wasn’t such a fan of was at times the writing felt a little childish. Obviously this is a young adult book but it did feel like the reader was being spoken down to at times. It wasn’t a big concern and it is a debut novel so it’s not a major issue for me.

If you want a sweet contemporary with some autism rep then I recommend this. I don’t have autism so I can’t speak for how good the rep is of course but I enjoyed the book and I felt like it read well.

 

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The Romantics by Leah Konen

Thank you to netgalley and Amulet Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

In The Romantics we follow Love who has messed up by letting a marriage end in divorce because he thought they would be fine and wouldn’t drift apart. So to try and make things right she wants to help the couple’s son fall in love with the right person.

This book is told from the perspective of Love which I found to be a really interesting premise. Her voice was quite funny and she was her own character that I got to know and love. I liked that even though she is a godly/spiritual entity she had her own wants, wishes and regrets.

All the characters were pretty likeable; Gael was an absolute sweetheart and my heart went out to him so much through all the mess his parents had left. And his parents just didn’t really seem to care about how upset their divorce had left him. His little sister was adorable. The only person I wasn’t a huge fan of was Cara, Gael’s love interest for a lot of the novel, something about her was just off to me, she felt a bit fickle.

This was a really easy book for me to read, the pacing was just right and it read really easily. So if you want a funny YA romance novel that you can read in a short space of time and get quite wrapped up in then I would say that this one is right up your street.

One thing that I have to point out is that there were a lot of current references, which I enjoyed whilst reading as I love stuff like that because it feels more lifelike because I relate in a way, but this could date the book quite a lot. Like whilst I wouldn’t say it’s going to be a YA classic just because it’s not got the hype, but that could hold it back from being read a few years from now because people don’t understand the references, especially teens who constantly have new fads and language.

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