Book Review: “Spin The Dawn” By Elizabeth Lim

I read this book with my small book club of friends and I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was getting myself into other than the fact that this is a Mulan retelling. I am not a huge Mulan fan but this was a pretty cute take on that story.

“You’re used to being underestimated, so you want to prove yourself. Don’t let that be your crutch. Accept help when you need it.”

Elizabeth Lim, Spin the Dawn

About The Book

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers

Published Date: July 9th, 2019

Page Count: 392

Main Genres: Fantasy, YA, Romance

GoodReads Rating: 4.00

“I knew then that we were like two pieces of cloth, sewn together for life. Our stitches couldn’t be undone. I wouldn’t let them.”

Elizabeth Lim, Spin the Dawn

Synopsis

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Synopsis From GoodReads

“I’d battled ghosts and touched the stars. I’d climbed a mountain to the moon and conquered the fury of the sun.”

Elizabeth Lim, Spin the Dawn

Rating

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review

I was a little worried to read this book because I am not a big fan of Mulan. However, I really loved the twist to this story. Her being a tailer was a fun story line that was pretty easy to follow along with.

I thought the characters were all very well written and well rounded. You have characters you loved and hated which made you really want Maia to be victorious.

The Romance aspect in this book was probably my favorite part. I think both Maia and Edan are made for each other and I hope things work out for them in the next book.

I rated this book a 3.5 because part two in this book felt really slow to me and made it really hard for me to want to pick the book up and finish it. While most of the romance was in part two and most of the character development, it was just really slow. I am glad I finished the book and the ending made me really want to pick up the next one to see how the story continues but I am not sure I will be doing that anytime soon.

“Seize the wind,” I whispered. “Don’t become the kite that never flies.”

Elizabeth Lim, Spin the Dawn

QOTD: What is your favorite retelling?

Book Review: “Hotel Magnifique” By Emily J. Taylor

I saw this books cover and I was mesmerized. I had no clue what this book was about when I picked it up other than a magical hotel. There is no need to know anything more about the book other than that, you will be hooked within the first few chapters!


About The Book

Author: Emily J. Taylor

Publisher: Razorbill

Published Date: April 25, 2022

Page Count: 391 Pages

Main Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

GoodReads Rating: 3.82

“But in Aligney I could breathe with every corner of my lungs.”

Emily J. Taylor, Hotel Magnifique

Synopsis

Jani is a 17 year old girl who has been taking care of her 13 year old sister for several years since their mother passed. She promised her sister Zosa that she would one day save up enough money to move them back to their hometown but the only reasonable way to make enough money for this is by getting a job with the Hotel Magnifique. A hotel where magic is practiced safely and travels from place to place every Midnight and you never know where it will be next.

When the Hotel appears in an alleyway near their home Jani and Zosa get in line to interview for a position. When Zosa is the only sister to get a job, Jani refuses to let her leave without her so she does everything she can to convince a worker to let her have a maids job. With both sisters now working for the magical hotel nothing can stand in their way for a better future. Well maybe one thing…. I suggest reading your contracts thoroughly before signing, you never know what rights you might be signing away.


Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review

Like I said above, this book hooked me with just a few chapters. The magic system is fairly simple to grasp onto and is really interesting to learn about the more the book goes on. I really loved how everyone who had any kind of magic ability had their own item that helped them control their magic, it added a fun element to each individual character.

The chapters in this book were all fairly short which made this a really quick read and kept me hooked. After a chapter was done I wanted to just keep reading to find out what happened next!

One thing that I would like to bring up is that this book was fairly predictable but I personally didn’t feel like that took away from my overall enjoyment. I might have guessed one or two big things that happened but they were such interesting twists that I didn’t mind too much.

I would love a second book to this because the ending I felt left us with a great story line to continue on. Plus I loved the characters and would like to know what happens next for them all!


QOTD: What is a magical book that I need to read?

“May your artéfact guide you toward your soul’s desire.”

Emily J. Taylor, Hotel Magnifique

Book Review: “Truly Devious” By Maureen Johnson

This month I started a small Book Club with some of my closest friends on Bookstagram. Our first book was “Truly Devious”. I finished this book in two days! Our book club is supposed to only read one book throughout the course of the whole month but I couldn’t put this book down or slow down my reading at all to make it last the whole month.

“You have to take things as they are, not how you hear they’re supposed to be.”

Direct Quote

About The Book

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published Date: January 16th, 2018

Page Count: 416 pages

Main Genres: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary

Average GoodReads Rating: 4.00

“Where her books were, she was. Get the books right and the rest will follow. Now she could address the rest of the room.”

Direct Quote

Synopsis

Stevie is a teenager obsessed with the Ellingham murders that took place in the 1930’s. She somehow got the chance to attend Ellingham Academy for her Junior year of high school and now she hopes she can crack the unsolved murder case. What she wasn’t expecting was for one of her own classmates to be murdered right under her nose. Will Stevie be able to solve the mysterious murders or will she herself be taken as a victim?

“Anything is better than doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Direct Quote

Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Review

I honestly can’t remember why I wanted to start reading this book or where I even heard about this series. What I do know is that I bought the three books in a box set and immediately fell in love with the covers.

This was such a good YA mystery! I haven’t read a lot of YA and I think I am slowly finding my YA grove. I really loved all of the characters, especially Stevie. Stevie reminds me a lot of myself, I too love true crime but I think she is a lot more brave than I am. I thought the friendships made in this book could have been a bit more defined but I think those will grow in the next few books.

I am happy I get to read this with my Book Club and I am so excited to talk to them about this book in more details. I found this book had a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and I think this will make for a really interesting discussion. I will be honest there were parts that frustrated me or even just didn’t fully make sense, but like I said, I think it will all come together in the rest of the series.

“There is something about early mornings that changes your perceptions subtly. The light is new; no one has put on the defences of the day. All is reset and not quite real yet.”

Direct Quote

QOTD: Have you read this series? What were your thoughts? If not what is your favorite YA mystery?

Book Review: “I Kissed Shara Wheeler” By Casey McQuiston

Casey McQuiston is my all time favorite author! They wrote “Red, White and Royal Blue” Which I read pretty early on in my reading journey and probably the first romance read I had ever picked up and immediately I was hooked on their writing! When “One Last Stop” came out last year I knew I had to buy it and of course I fell in love all over again with their writing and their characters. “One Last Stop” Is still one of my all time favorite books to this day. I pre ordered “I Kissed Shara Wheeler” Back in early February and I have been not so patiently waiting to get my hands on my copy! Well I got it on Monday and read the book in about two and a half days! Lets see how this book held up.

“Shame is a way of life here. It’s stocked in the vending machines, stuck like gum under the desks. Spoken in morning devotionals. She knows now that there’s a bit of it in her. It was an easy choice not to go back in the closet when she got here, but if she’d grown up here, she might never have come out at all. She might be a completely different person.”

 Direct quote from the book

About The Book

Author: Case McQuiston

Publisher: ST. Martin’s Press

Published date: May 3rd, 2022

Page Count: 320 pages

Main Genres: Romance, LGBT, Young Adult

GoodReads Rating: 4.24

“While she does like boys, she generally finds the traits of a compelling villain—arrogance, malice, an angsty backstory—tedious in a man. Like, what do hot guys with long dark hair even have to be that upset about? Get a clarifying shampoo and suck it up, Kylo Ren. So your rich parents sent you to magic camp and you didn’t make any friends. Big deal.”

Direct quote from the book

Synopsis

Chloe has one thing on her mind: being Valedictorian. She is so close she could taste it! All that’s standing in her way is her rival Shara Wheeler. Shara is the most popular girl in school, not to mention the principals daughter, but Chloe lives and breathes beating Shara in all that they do. But when Shara kisses Chloe out of the blue and then vanishes, Chloe’s main goal is to find Shara so she can beat her to Valedictorian fair and square.

Chloe quickly realizes that she’s not the only one Shara kissed and ditched. There’s Smith, High school quarterback and Shara’s long term boyfriend. Then there’s Rory, the class bad boy and Shara’s next door neighbor. Together, they must work to solve cryptic clues left in some very creative places in order to find Shara and get some answers.

Along the way, new friendships are made, and old friendships are put to the ultimate test.


Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“She feels like the spine of a book about to crack and spill out all the love story guts.”

Direct quote from the book

Review

Possibility for light spoilers nothing you couldn’t guess by the back of the book though. Read Cautiously.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Hmm What’s with all the Taco Bell?” Well let me tell you, this book is full of a lot of Taco Bell! It only felt right to ask my local Taco Bell for as many sauce packets as I could get and I believe they gave me like 70 packets! I am not someone who eats at Taco Bell and I don’t think that before today I have ever even had one of their tacos but now I can say I have, all because of this book!

Ok, but really, lets get on to the stuff I know you all came here for. The book review!

Like I said at the beginning of this blog post, I have read all of Casey McQuiston’s books at this point and I waited with much anticipation for this one to be released however, this one is my lowest ranked book of theirs. I really loved their writing as usual but for me it really came down to the characters. So the reason this book is getting four stars rather than five is because by page 200 I was still not in love with Chloe and Shara. I was however invested in all the sub characters and their story lines. I could really use a book about Rory and Smith or even Georgia and how their lives are after high school. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I just had a hard time really falling in love with Chloe and Shara both as individuals and them as a couple. I am not really an enemies to lovers trope person so that might be why.

What I really loved was the mystery behind every clue Shara left behind. It was a really fun and unique story line. Also every book Casey McQuiston writes is extremely LGBTQ friendly and this book especially felt like a great book for teens who felt like they were unable to come out in high school now or even 30 years after graduating. This book will be one that touches many people for the rest of their lives.

Even though the main characters weren’t for me, this was still a really cute read that I would highly recommend to everyone!


QOTD: What is your favorite fast food Mexican chain?