Mirage, Somaiya Daud

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For a sliver of a moment I wasn’t Maram or Amani. I was a girl in a temple, filled with nothing but want and expectation

Amani is a dreamer. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

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5 / 5

Mirage is a simply beautiful novel. Daud paints a vivid tale of a girl torn from her family to serve her conquering oppressors, but it has so much more than that; Mirage is about hope and resilience, about myth and religion and tradition, about power and duty and sacrifice. Above all else, it is the simple beauty of the writing that elevates this book to one of my favourites of the year.

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Breakthrough, Kris Bryant

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“I was no match for her. I was a city girl through and through”

Kennedy Wells is desperate to get back her dream job writing for Mainstream, Waters Publishing’s celebrity magazine. A born and bred city girl, Kennedy is sent to cover fishing in Alaska, which has her feeling just like a fish out of water. When Brynn Coleman, director of Alaska’s Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary, comes to her rescue time after time, Kennedy can’t help but lower her guard.

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3 / 5

Breakthrough is a classic story: city girl is sent to the “wilds” of Alaska and meets  a rough and tough ranger girl. They fall in love. It’s a sweet and readable story, but the writing is somewhat rough and awkward to read in places.

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They Both Die At the End, Adam Silvera

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stories can make someone immortal as long as someone else is willing to listen”

When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. 

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love.

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4 / 5

My first Adam Silvera book, They Both Die At the End, ripped out my heart and stomped all over it. I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I turned the final page and closed the cover.

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Grace and Fury, Tracy Banghart

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“A yes doesn’t mean the same thing when it’s the only answer you’re allowed”

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister.

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4 / 5

Grace and Fury is everything that I wanted from The Selection and more! It’s a light read, an easy page turner, and the easiest way to describe it is as having the setting of The Selection, a bunch of women are jostling to become the favoured of a prince, with the plot of Red Queen. It’s a fun book with some great quotes and action moments.

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Ascension, Victor Dixen

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What I want is glory and I know that I’m not going to get it here on Earth

Six girls, six boys. Each in the two separate bays of a single spaceship. They have six minutes each week to seduce and to make their choices, under the unblinking eye of the on-board cameras. They are the contenders in the Genesis programme, the world’s craziest speed-dating show ever, aimed at creating the first human colony on Mars.

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3 / 5

The premise of the book? Speed dating. In space. Dang, that’s almost as good as “nuns that are assassins” (Red Sisterfor reference). But there was a depressing lack of gossip and drama and more background space corporation/business conspiracy. Whilst good, Ascension wasn’t quite the light-hearted and overly dramatic book that I was expecting.

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The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2), Katharine McGee

No one goes to a party expecting to die

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. 

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

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3 / 5

The Dazzling Heights manages an impressive cast of different characters with a really complicated web of relationships and it’s very cool and impressive. But it also feels like a rehash of the first book just with a less gasp-worthy ending.

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Sparks Like Ours (Seven Shores #3), Melissa Brayden

For Gia, this was a form of church. She honoured the waves with the respect they deserved

Gia Malone wants one thing and one thing only: to be the best surfer in the world. Her biggest obstacle is the annoyingly perky Elle Britton. Not only is Elle number one in the rankings, she’s also a fan favorite.

Elle Britton is tired. After tournaments, fan meet-ups, and nonstop media requests, all she wants in the world is a little peace and quiet. But with Gia Malone closing in on her ranking, she has to surf her best. 

Read my reviews of the other books in this series: Eyes Like Those (#1), Hearts Like Hers (#2), and Love Like This (#4).

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3 / 5

Definitely my favourite of the series so far! I loved all the surfing action, a sport I know virtually nothing about but that sounds really cool, and I’m a big lover of the enemies-to-lovers trope. Like it’s content, this is definitely an easy beach read.

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A Thousand Perfect Notes, C. G. Drews

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He slams the keys and they howl with Chopin’s chaos instead of his own

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. 

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

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4 / 5

A Thousand Perfect Notes is not the kind of book that I typically pick up – a YA romance with a focus on abuse – mostly because I’m not a romance reader and reading books about abuse is typically quite depressing. And this book was dark, but it also had a good splash of hope.

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Hearts Like Hers (Seven Shores #2), Melissa Brayden

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I wondered if what we had was enough to make you want to stay

Autumn Primm’s Venice Beach coffee shop, The Cat’s Pajamas, is her pride and joy. While she doesn’t mind the long hours, she finds herself staring dreamily out the window, imagining the life she’s yet to lead. 

Kate Carpenter needs to get away. A small-town firefighter, Kate’s been crowned a local hero for reasons she can’t quite get behind. Dreamy Autumn Primm was never supposed to be part of that bargain. What Kate needs is a temporary escape, emphasis on temporary.

Read my reviews of the other books in this series: Eyes Like Those (#1), Sparks Like Ours (#3), and Love Like This (#4).

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3 / 5

The sequel to Eyes Like Those, Hearts Like Hers switches focus to feature Autumn Primm, the owner of the coffee shop The Cat’s Pajamas. Like it’s predecessor, Hearts Like Hers is a sweet and steamy romance, but it was a little too light to be memorable.

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Skylarks, Karen Gregory

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I guess that’s what happens when you don’t say the stuff you really want to; it builds up inside until it comes crashing out whether you like it or not

Joni used to have dreams that she could fly. But these days her feet are firmly on the ground – they have to be when money’s tight and her dad can’t work and the whole family has to pull together to keep afloat.

Then she meets Annabel. Annabel is everything Joni isn’t, and yet there’s a spark between them. Though Joni barely believes it at first, she thinks they might be falling in love. 

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4 / 5

Skylarks is a cute, thoughtful, contemporary f/f YA romance centred around British class struggles. There’s two sides to this book: the enemies-to-lovers romance with the rich girl on one side, and the difficulty of being a poor working-class family on the other. Skylarks is full of emotion and a quick, engaging read.

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