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Monday, June 29, 2015

[BLOG TOUR] MICHELLE'S REVIEW: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger

Title: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publishing House: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780385391535


In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn't want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa's family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable - and caged. Kiran's family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kirann thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


In 2054 Koyanagar, Sudasa has five boys competing for her hand in marriage. The new norm brought about by the disparity between the ratio of the sexes in India that aims to champion fairness and equality amongst the classes, never mind the fact that they were trampling on freedom and independence. But as the tests go on, Sudasa and Kiran, one of the boys forced to compete for Sudasa's hand, slowly start seeing the cracks and fissures of the new system, and both teens suddenly find themselves in a battle that's bigger than the both of them.

Because going with what society deems as the wrong choice may be their biggest undoing yet.

As soon as I opened the page and was met with Sudasa's poetry, I must admit that I immediately closed the book. In my opinion, poetry is tricky - you either love it, or you feel indifferent about it, and that night, I was not in the mood for angsty poetry that teenage characters are notorious for. But in the end, my curiosity won out as to how the author could possibly make this work, and so I found myself turning the page.

Until I found myself at the last page and being all, "Woah."

While Sudasa might come off as just another pretty, rich airhead, she is actually subtle in her rebelliousness which makes her all kinds of awesome. She isn't in your face about it because that could spell serious repercussions for her family, but she is very self-aware of herself and the events that are happening, and I liked her immensely. Sudasa is not only at war with what society expects from her, but from what she expects from herself, and that is understandably confusing for anyone.

Kiran, on the other hand, doesn't want to be chosen as some girl's husband. He's not interested in a lifetime of play and pleasure if he won Sudasa's hand. All he wants is to keep a low profile and hopefully find his mother. But when the unfairness of the competition becomes too glaring for him to ignore, Kiran - or #5, as he is called all throughout the process - starts trying to level the playing field by pulling up a few tricks and helping out his competitors.

I loved that these two teenagers were different as night and day, but there was something about these two that just worked. Sudasa finds herself intrigued by Kiran's disinterestedness not because she's vain and thinks that she's a prize or anything, but because she finds it refreshing that he doesn't see her as his golden ticket out of a life of poverty. Kiran, on the other hand, is surprised when he finds that the seemingly vapid girl was apparently not unaffected by the unfairness of the competition as well.

Bodger's 5 to 1 is a clean read in the sense that it is practically faultless in its continuity. I was skeptical as to how poetry and narration could work, but it does, and the execution is unbelievable. 

In the end, Bodger reminds her readers that there are no such things as good choices and bad choices. In the face of despair, the true power lies in making that choice for yourself.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

[Blog Tour + Giveaway] NICOLE'S REVIEW: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J.Maas

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: May 5 2015
Publishing House:  Bloomsbury
ISBN: 1619634449
Source of Copy: Blog Tour


When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin - one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled the world. 

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it...or doom Tamling  and his world - forever.

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


A Court of Thorns and Roses took me by surprise. Truth be had, you guys, I wasn't Maas' biggest fan but thanks to this book I'm now a convert. I cannot wait to get my hands on an actual copy of this seriously rocking book. Seriously. Seriously.

It's winter and Feyre's family is running low on food. Times are hard so she heads deep into the forest to go hunting. She comes upon a wolf and, because she's totally desperate, she shoots it down with her arrows not knowing that the wolf was faerie. Soon this beast-like fae comes knocking on her door demanding restitution and sweeps her away to his castle in the woods. Okay maybe there was more of the threatening and the roaring as there was the sweeping and there wasn't much knocking either. Feyre soon realizes that an ancient evil is enroaching on fae territory and might, if not stopped, creep into human lands soon.

Can I just say that Feyre is the luckiest girl? I mean she has all these beautiful men to look at. There's Tamlin and Rhys and Lucien and ohmygosh how is a girl to choose? But hot men is not all this book has to offer, it's got Feyre who is a kickass heroine in her own right. She's fearless and bold and cares deeply. She's probably got a better heart than I do despite her rough exterior. 

I loved the relationships in the book. Feyre and her sisters, Tamlin and Lucien, and even Rhys. Maas has such interesting characters I just want to find out more about them, peel them back layer by layer so I can understand them and fall deeper into love with them. And the romance? It does not fail to titillate (it seemed appropriate) and I just want to smoosh Tamlin and Feyre together all the time. 

I do have a bone to pick with Amarantha, the villain, she seemed to be so textbook villainess for me. Doesn't mean she wasn't scary and slightly disturbing but she just felt a little one dimensional for me. Impossible challenges? A riddle to solve? I even felt a little cheated when Fayre had a little help with the tasks. But you know, I enjoyed myself so much so I'm not gonna complain. Much. And another thing, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, yes? So why wasn't Tamlin more...beast-like? Oh sure he has a mask stuck to half of his face and he can shift into some sort of lupine creature but come on, I thought he would be more physically monstrous. 

ACOTAR is a retelling of beauty and the beast, a wonderful, fearless, fierce retelling of the classic with amazing imagery and world building. I might still be a little cautious of Maas' Throne of Glass series but this one is definitely on my favorites list. Definitely recommend this for people who're fans of fantasy. And NA! This is definitely NA I could get into. 


"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

How pretty is the cover for A Court of Thorns and Roses? I couldn't resist doing nails. 

Not sure if you guys can tell but that's a wolf. On the middle finger. I had to make my own sheer black polish to tint my index and ring fingers. 

I think this is pretty obvious. Haha. 

You can check out more of my nail art over on instagram. Just search theunicolenicorn.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #25 : A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: August 26 2014
Publishing House:  Swoon Reads
ISBN: 97812500161454
Source of Copy: Gifted


Lea and Gabe are in the same writing class. They get the same culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is a little aloof, Gabe is shy, and it looks like they are never going to work things out.

But something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV series. The bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes Lea and GAbe were meant to be together.

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Seriously, guys, I have not read anything as cute as this book. It's told in fourteen different points of view, none of them in our lead characters' voices. You would think that it would be incredibly confusing, but it's not. This book was an absolute blessing, I was craving a light, fluffy contemporary to read -because it was almost Valentine's Day - when this fell into my lap. It had been collecting dust on my bookshelf for some time and I thought I'd save it from its misery. 

I find that I need to repeat that this book so disgustingly cute. We get to see Gabe and Lea's love story through the eyes of the different people they come across in their everyday life. Friends, teachers, the bus driver, the baristas at Starbucks and even a squirrel and a bench. How fun is that? Gabe in particular is crazy adorable, and so awkward it made my heart melt. I loved his conversations with his friends and the way he pined over Lea and got so flustered when they engaged in conversations. I just wanted to smush their faces together. 

You know what's unfair though? That this did not happen to me in the four years I was in college. I bounced from clique to clique because I'm picky with my friends, met a lot of new people which was fun, but not once did I meet a guy who gave me the butterflies. Obviously, I was meant for greater things like fictional boys. 

Anyway, another thing that I like is that despite being awkwardly cute characters, Lea and Gabe don't fit into any pre-designed molds. Gabe is an athlete, a sort of jock, and he has his own issues - like the trauma he suffered from his car crash. Lea is not your average bookish, good girl type, she parties and has a penchant for stalking Gabe. (I feel for her, I used to do this in college too) They are the recipe for ultimate cuteness. It's insane! I couldn't put this book down mainly because I couldn't wait for them to get together and every time something got in their way it was just SO. FRUSTRATING. Just kiss already!

In a nutshell, this book is basically the epitome of CUTE. Really, the next time someone asks me to gift them something cutesy I am so giving them this book. Read this if you're looking for something light and fluffy and oh so very romantic with a different writing style. For an added bonus, it has the POVs of a bench and a squirrel.



"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

Here's a set inspired by this insanely adorable book. For more details and the materials used head on over to my nail art blog. Enjoy guys!