Review: Blended

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Title: Blended
Author: Sharon M. Draper
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Eleven-year-old Isabella’s parents are divorced, so she has to switch lives every week: One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.

Because of this, Isabella has always felt pulled between two worlds. And now that her parents are divorced, it seems their fights are even worse, and they’re always about HER. Isabella feels even more stuck in the middle, split and divided between them than ever. And she’s is beginning to realize that being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. Her dad is black, her mom is white, and strangers are always commenting: “You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?” She knows what they’re really saying: “You don’t look like your parents.” “You’re different.” “What race are you really?” And when her parents, who both get engaged at the same time, get in their biggest fight ever, Isabella doesn’t just feel divided, she feels ripped in two. What does it mean to be half white or half black? To belong to half mom and half dad? And if you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?

It seems like nothing can bring Isabella’s family together again—until the worst happens. Isabella and Darren are stopped by the police. A cell phone is mistaken for a gun. And shots are fired.

Review:

This is a great contemporary, middle grade story.

Isabella feels conflicted because of all of the blending in her life. She is mixed race. She has to split her time between her divorced parents too. She often feels like she’s being torn between her parents in their arguments, but it isn’t her fault.

Isabella could escape from the difficult aspects of her life through playing the piano. It is so important to have a positive outlet and hobby. She could become her own person through her music.

There was a very upsetting scene at the end of the book which involved racial profiling. It was devastating to read about. However, this is something that happens often in our society, with unarmed people of colour being profiled just because of the colour of their skin. It was difficult to read, but it reflected an unfortunate part of real life.

This is a powerful story that I highly recommend.

What to read next:

  • Little Sister is Not My Name (Sassy #1) by Sharon M. Draper

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  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone

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Have you read Blended? What did you think of it?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – October 31

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Watching You by Lisa Jewell.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Secrets and Sequences (Secret Coders #3)

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Title: Secrets and Sequences (Secret Coders #3)
Author: Gene Luen Yang, Mike Holmes
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Stately Academy is no ordinary school: it was once home to an elite institute where teachers, students, and robots worked together to unravel the mysteries of coding. Hopper, Eni, and Josh won’t rest until they’ve learned the whole story, but they aren’t the only ones interested in the school’s past. Principal Dean is hot on their trail, demanding that the coders turn over their most powerful robot. Dean may be a creep, but he’s nothing compared to the guy who’s really in charge: a green-skinned coding genius named Professor One-Zero.

Review:

This series is great for kids. It teaches how to do simple coding, which I know a lot of kids are interested in these days. Since they like using technology, it’s great to teach them how to create it.

The plot of this story was very good too. The story is developing more with each book. This story included an evil villain who they had to stop from destroying their town. However, while the bad guy was trapping him in his dungeon, he stopped to teach them some more coding tricks. I know villains in stories often stop to explain things while they should be running away, but I’ve never seen one stop to teach kids, so that was very weird.

One thing that would greatly improve this series is if there was some kind of refresher at the beginning of the story which summarized the previous books. There was a gap between the time I read them, so it would have been nice if there was a page or two to remind me of what happened before. This would be helpful for kids who take the books out of the library and can’t flip through the previous book before moving on.

However, this is a great series for kids!

Here are my reviews for the other books in the series: Secret Coders, Paths and Portals

What to read next:

  • Robots and Repeats by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes

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  • Tournament Trouble (Cross Ups #1) by Sylv Chiang

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Have you read Secrets and Sequences? What did you think of it?

Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is Halloween, so I made a list of the best Halloween reads. Here’s my list:

1. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

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2. The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

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3. The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

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4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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5. It Begins (The Unseen #1) by Richie Tankersley Cusick 

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6. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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7. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack

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8. The Shining by Stephen King

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9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

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10. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

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(All photos taken from Goodreads)

Review: This Mortal Coil

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Title: This Mortal Coil
Author: Emily Suvada
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Library
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

Review:

This book is amazing! I had heard that it was good, but I wasn’t prepared for how thrilling the story would be.

It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people have electronic panels in their arm that can enhance their bodies. There are apps that can give you better sight or hearing, or even change the taste of the food you eat.

It didn’t take long for me to become familiar with this world, because there are very few characters at the beginning. Cat lives by herself and only has a couple of friends who live nearby. This made it much easier to figure out what the world was like, with the special panels built into people and the virus that threatened to kill everyone.

There were so many twists in the story. I never would have guessed the ending in a million years! I was reading it before bed and I couldn’t find a good spot to stop reading, so I ended up reading very late.

I loved this book so much! I can’t wait to read the sequel that comes out tomorrow!

What to read next:

  • This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada

  • Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast

  • Have you read This Mortal Coil? What did you think of it?
  • It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – October 29

    This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

    What I just finished:

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    This weekend I finished This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada.

    What I’m currently reading:

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    I’m currently reading Blended by Sharon M. Draper.

    What I’m reading next:

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    Next I will be reading The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

    What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

    Jill’s Weekly Wrap-Up – October 28

    Here’s my weekly wrap up!

    Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

    I did 7 weekly blogging memes:

    How was your week? What did you guys read?