Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
published on March 24th 2015 by Nancy Paulsen Books
young adult | contemporary | romance
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This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?
Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.
Five Reasons Why You Must Read Written in the Stars
1.) This book has a cast of authentic characters. Take our main character for example. Naila wants to be strong, but sometimes she doesn’t really have a choice, especially where her parents are concerned. A lot of us are this way in real life, yeah?
2.) The romance in this book is absolutely amazing. Holy mother of feels, you guys! The romance was just so heartwarming and so fierce–I was rooting from Naila and Saif from the beginning to the end.
3.) You will learn a lot about other cultures in this book. Arranged marriages, living arrangements, terms of endearment… I didn’t know anything about the Pakistani way of living before reading this book. I’d like to say I’m a bit more knowledgeable now.
4.) You will learn so many important life lessons. Like: a) hearts take fucking long to heal, b) parent’s don’t always know whats best, and c) you have to fight for the things you love.
5.) This book will give you all the feels, and then some. You’re going to laugh, swoon, cry, rage, explode, and then cry some more. Trust me on this one.
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Scarlet, book #2
published on February 11th 2014 by Walker Childrens
young adult | historical | fantasy | romance
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Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
Just like in Scarlet, A.C. Gaughen once again brings forth a novel with an epic heroine, a lovable hero and an action-packed storyline!
Scarlet is just such a brilliant character with her kick-ass fighting skills, and her extreme love and loyalty for her friends. She’s one of those people who puts others before herself, and I respect her a lot for that.
We also have an amazing plot with believable antagonists and fleshed-out secondary characters. You’ll grow attached to every single one of them. There’s also a swoony romantic love interest–bonus points!
Despite all those, I found myself having trouble connecting to Scarlet this time around. It’s definitely not the old school writing (which I adore), but I can’t really pinpoint the exact reason for not loving this book.
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
published on May 5th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
young adult | fantasy | retellings | romance
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When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
*I received a digital review copy for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
I need to have a shirt made, with ROSAMUND HODGE IS FUCKING BRILLIANT printed on it. Crimson Bound has one of the most unique imaginative worlds I’ve ever come across. It’s dark, it’s vicious, and it’s so me. It’s going to be so you, too, I swear.
Other than the world-building, I would also give two thumbs up for Rosamund’s elegant writing. And it’s not the boring kind of elegant, either–it’s the mesmerizing kind that’ll just suck you into the story.
Rachelle was such a different heroine from what I’m used to. There were times when she wallowed up in self-pity, and there were times when she came out strong and fierce. I liked that she wasn’t just a one-dimensional character and had a lot more to her than you’d think at first.
The romance was fine and took a backseat in this one. I was hoping for a little more development
and a lot less love-triangle, but I wasn’t bothered too much by this aspect because the story’s main focus was on the action and adventure, which I adored.
I would definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a dark, mysterious, and unique retelling.
Have you read any of these? Do you want to read them?
Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.