Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mainstream-mini Review: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel By Sara Farizan

Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel
By Sara Farizan
October 2014 Algonquin Books For Young Readers

High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

My Review

*Copy provided by the publisher (Algonquin Young Readers) in exchange for an honest review* 
Last year I snagged Sara Farizan’s debut novel, If You Could Be Mine at BEA. It was literally number one on my list and I read it on the plane ride home. LOVED it and it still has a special place on my book shelf. Needless to say I was so giddy when I saw she had a new book coming out. In my opinion, Sara writes the types of books that the YA genre is sincerely lacking. Told with such a strong voice and full of inspiration, I just know that her stories will touch many. 

Like her first book, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel stars a young Iranian girl who is battling with her identity and finding where she fits in. Although, this story’s subject matter is not as intense as her other book, it still delivers the same amount of emotion. Leila is from a traditional Iranian family, living in America and attending a private high school called Armstead Academy. Leila already feels like an outsider because of her cultural differences. But she is also hiding a secret; she likes girls. She’s afraid of what the kids at school would think if they knew, but mostly she is afraid of her parent’s reaction. Being gay is not typically accepted in Iran. In fact, many are punished for it. Then Armstead gets a new student. Saskia is gorgeous and confident and Leila is instantly attracted to her. But this girl might just be bad news. Thankfully, Leila has some true friends she can lean on, and her happily ever after might not be too far away. 

I loved this book. It’s a fast yet powerful read. It teaches you to be true to yourself. You do not have to be a fan of LGTB fiction to read this book. I feel like a lot of people assume that if you are straight, books like this are not meant for you. That is not true. You can get into this story and take something away from it no matter what your sexual orientation is. I HIGHLY recommend reading Sara Farizan’s books!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Indie Review: The Miranda Contract By Ben Langdon

The Miranda Contract By Ben Langdon
Published April 1, 2014  (Kalamity Press)

Supervillain. Pop Star.
Sometimes the life we're given isn't the life we'd choose for ourselves.
For the past five years, Dan Galkin has been lying to everyone about just how ordinary he is. But Dan's the grandson of The Mad Russian: one of the world's most powerful, and insane, supervillains. And Dan has powers too. He's a living battery, able to absorb and discharge electricity with his mind. Normally he keeps his powers hidden, but when the old man returns with an offer to make his grandson heir apparent, any chance at an ordinary life is blown apart.
Miranda Brody thought she wanted to be a pop star, but now she's got the international profile and the entourage, she doesn't recognize the Miranda she has become. After getting caught up in the cross-fire between Dan and his grandfather, Miranda realizes there's more to life than being famous. Staying alive, for example, becomes a high priority. And not falling in love with the pizza boy comes a close second. Labeled by society, trapped by expectation. Dan and Miranda might actually be able to change everything. As long as they don't kill each other first.

My Review

*A copy was provided by the author (Ben Langdon-Kalamity Press) in exchange for an honest review* 

I honestly can’t remember the last time I picked up a superhero book—unless you count graphic novels. But I watch a lot of “superhero” TV and movies and can’t quite seem to get enough. So, when Ben queried me to read his debut full-length novel, I was really excited. And let me just say, The Miranda Contract does not disappoint. This book reads just like a really good season of Smallville. Great cast of characters, a formidable villain and just enough of a love interest to keep things interesting. 

Our MC, Dan, is the grandson of the top dog of supervillains, The Mad Russian. When he was younger, Dan was one of his grandfather’s pawns. Now he keeps his powers hidden the best he can, and hopes The Mad Russian doesn't resurface. All at once his life is tossed about: his grandfather is back and wants him as his protégé. To top it off his life collides with that of famous pop star Miranda Brody, when he is forced to join her security detail. Together they make quite the pair, and embark on a mission to end The Mad Russian’s reign of terror for good. The Miranda contract is quality story telling. All the pieces fit perfectly in Langdon’s well-crafted world of superheroes and supervillains. The action keeps the story rolling, and readers will get sucked in from chapter one. This is the first book in The Small Gods series and I can’t wait to read the rest! Perfect for fans of science fiction, but with the ability to appeal to just about anyone, I am definitely recommending this one!