Stacking the Shelves (37) + Giveaway!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, sharing the books I've acquired this week! I'm still studying for my GRE, which means I haven't read any news books recently, but that doesn't mean that I haven't received any *wink wink*.

Here are the books I got for review:

(Thanks to the bro for modelling the books)

Superpowerless by Chris Priestley
Show Stopper by Hayley Barker
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (ARC)

I also got an eGalley:

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

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Thank you so much to Sahsa at Pansing and Cassie at Disney Publishing Worldwide!

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Eid Mubarak!
As it's Eid today, how about a giveaway?

Enter to win...

Any one of the books below 
Any book under $20 (USD) from the Book Depository that is either by a Muslim author or features a Muslim protagonist. 

(covers link to Goodreads)

There are definitely quite a lot of books I'm missing out on, so definitely share more recommendations in the comments! I sadly haven't read many YA (or MG) books featuring Muslim main characters or books written by Muslim authors, but I'm hoping that will change soon, because representation is important you guys! #WeNeedDiverseBooks

  • You must be 13+ to enter this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to you (not sure? check here).
  • If you are in the US, depending on price, I might opt to send you the book through Amazon instead.
  • The covers above will be most likely the version that you will receive. I reserve the right to choose the cover based on price (sorry!).
  • If you choose to go for the second option (choice of book), then I'll have to check whether it is written by a Muslim author/features a Muslim protagonist.
  • This giveaway will run from June 25th until Sunday July 9th, 11:59 pm EST.
  • One entry per person–no cheating! Cheaters will be disqualified.
  • I am not responsible for any lost or damaged packages.
  • I will not retain or give out any of the information you enter. Your address will not be shared with anyone if you win.
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below (and may the odds be ever in your favour!).

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

The Haves. The Have-Nots.

Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

Okay. I wanted to like this book. I really did. I mean, I enjoyed The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (read my review). And I love–and I truly mean love–psychological thrillers. I live for the stuff. The genre keeps me on edge and gets the brain working, people. And this one was set up so perfectly too! Two perspectives, two girls from different economic backgrounds who've both got secrets, one guy thrown into the mix...what could possibly go wrong? Answer: quite a bit, unfortunately. A lot of it was good, but there was just some things that didn't do it for me. 

Okay, let me tackle this piece by piece. First of all, our two main characters Kate and Olivia. I loved the fact that both of them were different, as I previously mentioned, because we have one character who moves around from school to school on scholarships, has to room in Chinatown, and has no money, and another character who is super rich and has everything she wants. And then of course–the secrets. 

Olivia Sumner and I shared only one class, AP English, but that's all it takes.
Watch me now.
Pay close attention.
Survival of the fittest, baby.
–p. 4, ARC*
*text is subject to change

I liked the reveals. Kate's was slightly more obvious, but Olivia's took me by surprise. Books with two perspectives in this genre tend to work out well when it comes to reveals, and thankfully it did. And I'm not forgetting Mark's character–the slow build up was done pretty well. I definitely did not see a lot of it coming, and the last third of the book had a pretty dramatic shift in tone.

Butttttt....oh, the but. There was a lot about this one I sadly did not enjoy, which, again, is a shame because Toten's writing is amazing and I loved her other book. The two characters were really unlikeable. Actually, all of the characters sucked. Except for maybe Anka and Olivia's dad. And (of course) Bruce. This is probably what made reading this not such an enjoyable experience. There was also the romance, and while I liked that it took place in the background of whatever was going on, I seriously didn't get it. Like, how it started, what actually happens–it was sort of just thrown in without any serious consideration or development.

And then...there's the end.

It fell flat for me. I was expecting this huge twist to happen, but nope, it seemed rather anticlimactic. The events leading up to the very end were kind of so-so, in the sense that there was quite a bit that happened and some of it was kind of thriller-y, but eh. I was hoping better, especially with a promise that things sort of flip at the end. So yeah, I was just left confused at the end and unsatisfied.

Suspenseful and promising, Beware That Girl–despite an excellent set-up–tragically didn't live up to my expectations. I would give it a try though, because it really is a Gossip Girl-esque thriller. While this one wasn't for me, I will absolutely be reading more of Teresa Toten's books in the future, because she is a wonderful writer, and I'm looking forward to what she comes up with next!

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Julia at Penguin Random House for a sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 187

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases that I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
Witch Town by Cory Putman Oakes

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.

July 18, 2017 ● Goodreads

I haven't read a book about witches in FOREVER, so I think it's about time that I got back into that. Beautiful cover (love the typography!), and the synopsis is short and sweet, which definitely brings the suspense. Can't wait to find out more about this one!

What are you waiting on?

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Dumplin', Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

I don't know if it's just a recent thing but there are now tons of books featuring "fat" girls and I. AM. LOVING. IT. Way to go for body positivity! Coming from someone who has always had to deal with body issues, Dumplin', and other books that focus on the same topics, are steps in the right direction. Anyhoo–this was my second experience with Julie Murphy. I enjoyed her debut Side Effects May Vary (read my review), but I enjoyed this one a lot more. I mean, by the end, I was tempted to go join a pageant or something (obviously I didn't...but I felt like I could, which is equally as important!).

I enjoyed our protagonist's confidence and will-power throughout the book, but sometimes I found Will pretty irritating. I mean, she shames other larger girls, or girls with disabilities. For someone who feels sometimes uncomfortable in their own body, and gets picked on for it, I was expecting a little more compassion. And the romance was just a big noooppee. First of all, it's a love triangle! Definitely incorporated better than several young adult books out there, but still a romance that follows that dreaded shape. I didn't have a problem with either of the guys, but the way Will goes about it just wasn't right. I mean, yes–on one hand, character development! On the other, don't play with people.

Other than my problems with the main character and the romance, the rest of the book was GOLD. I don't know much about Dolly Parton–I don't listen to much country music!–I ended up coming from this book with an appreciation for what she comes to represent for many people. I also enjoyed the drag show and the friendship that grows in this group of misfits. There were a ton of important topics explored in this book, and I'm grateful for it.

Fierce and different, Dumplin' is like none other. Julie Murphy's prose hits the predominant beauty standard hard with a protagonist who isn't afraid to show what she's got. I also can't wait for the film, because the actress cast as Willowdean looks PERFECT and exactly how I imagined her. We need more books like this one!

If you like this, try...