Thursday, December 14, 2017

BOOK REVIEW : Words in A Deep Blue By Cath Crowley BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEW : Words in A Deep Blue
By Cath Crowley
I broke my promise. I read another contemporary. Fortunately, Words In a Deep Blue is one of the bearable ones.
When you go to goodreads and read the synopsis, you might be surprised that I somewhat enjoy this book. I will say, however, the synopsis makes the book sound sappier than it really is. Besides, if you don’t focus on the drama and relationship between characters, you might see where I am coming from.
Rachel and Henry have been best friends and inseparable, or so they thought. When Rachel realizes she is going to be moving away, she decides to come clean with Henry, and she is further motivated by this new girl who is becoming closer to Henry. The night before she leaves, she puts a letter expressing all her real feelings for Henry ( guys bear with me ) in his favorite book from Henry’s family bookstore, certain that he would see it. But Henry doesn’t see it, texts her he overslept ( this is the morning that Rachel is leaving ), and Rachel is understandably devastated, angry, and determined to keep Henry out of her life. In the three years she is away, she ignores all of Henry’s attempts to call her and oblivious Henry is left to wonder why his former best friend is so mad.
The book introduces us to a three-year later Rachel who  is finally forced to go back to her first home after her brother drowns. She is struggling to cope with her loss and seeing Henry again just adds onto the stress. Rachel still refuses to talk to Henry, until she is forced to accept a job at his family’s bookstore. Henry is dealing with his own set of problems, including divorced parents constantly fighting, the possibility of having to close the family bookstore, and trying to get Amy ( that stupid new girl from before ) to get back with him so they can happily go on a trip through Europe he spent almost all of his money on.
Before I become the all captious reviewer I am, I need to address the amazingness of Henry’s family bookstore. This place has this thing called the Letter Library, a collection of books where people leave personal letters or little notes within the pages or margins. Can I just say - that is the best idea ever. This is ( to any bookworm ) the best form of communication discovered. I really wish a library like this actually exists.
(UPDATE : I have just searched this up and sadly, I cannot find anything like this in real life  *sadness* )
I do not feel too much for the characters. Word in Deep Blue has diversity and it really does highlights issues that are real, like coping with a death in the family. While these elements are smoothly incorporated in the novel, they do not make up for the  slowness of the plot. Rachel’s character is probably the one done best. Her dealing with Cal’s death is perfectly written. To the author’s credit, when Rachel comes home after three years, she does not automatically like Henry again - exactly the opposite, actually. This is refreshing because Rachel does not change because of her previous feelings for Henry; she warms up to Henry slowly and deliberately as a result of the time they spend together.
The side characters all have some awesome things going on while Rachel and Henry’s story unfolds. Henry’s sister George has her own situation and exchanges in the Letter Library, along with Henry’s parents’. But let me just address Amy. Amy is Henry’s ex-girlfriend, and the latter is frustratingly obsessed with her. As stupid as this may sound, I do not feel like it is Henry’s fault, but more Cath Crowley’s. Yes, the author is pretty much responsible for everything in their book, so I feel like Crowley deciding to make Amy this annoying obsession in Henry’s life is not really meant for Henry. It contrasts with his character at other moments in the novel, which make it seem forced. At the same time, Henry is constantly oblivious to various things throughoutWords In A Deep Blue, so maybe it is necessarily not forced. I also understand that not all characters are perfect, and that Henry’s constant need to impress and please Amy might just be proof of his imperfection. I guess it just depends on how you look it at. For some, it may be a nuisance. Other might see it as a practical flaw.
“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
“Sometimes science isn't enough. Sometimes you need the poets.”
“A dry, bookless world. It's too bleak to even imagine.”
“It’s like he’s picking up parts of the world and showing them to me, saying, See? It’s beautiful.”
Feeling in the mood for a book about an old, yet new,  friendship?
Check out Words in a Deep Blue  at the library and goodreads :

RATINGS: 3.5/5

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


BOOK REVIEW : Wintersong
By S. Jae Jones

To be honest, I got this ARC with some high expectations. I followed up on Wintersong’s release information and reviews on Goodreads constantly and was very excited when I got my hands on it. Wintersong, however, proves to be extremely slow and very little happens. Also, while it is officially classified as YA, the novel is rather mature.  But ALAS, I got through.

Wintersong is a retelling of “Labyrinth”. For those of you who don’t know what “Labyrinth” is, it is a film that came out in 1986 about a girl who travels a maze in order to save her brother from the evil and sinister Goblin King.

( SIDENOTE:  I would watch this movie, but I feel like they would make the Goblin King look like Werewolf Michael Jackson from his “Thriller” music video and I shudder at the thought ).

( UPDATE : this is the real Goblin King :

Whattup David Bowie. Seriously, though, it is not any better. I implore you to, however, erase that image from your head because OUR Goblin King is waaay different. In a good way : )

Wintersong does an amazing job with its characters. Liesl, our MC, is overlooked by her family when compared with her beautiful sister and incredible musician of a brother. And yet it is Liesl who proves to be most important in her family; Liesl is the one to encourage her brother in his art and keep her foolish sister in line. While there are times where Liesel did something stupid and I would just shake my head, I do not hate her whole character for it. She is NOT perfect because no one is perfect. If she had been beautiful and as musically talented as her siblings, she would not have been real, and I find characters like that to be frustrating and simply unreachable ( *COUGH COUGH NOAH IN THE MARA DYER TRILOGY* ).

I adore hate to love relationships because they almost always bring out the best in the characters and creates character growth that makes a book all the more interesting. Liesl becomes so much more confident and strong towards the end of the novel and most of that is thanks to her experiences in the Underworld with the Goblin King. The same can said about the Goblin King.

I simply love the Goblin King’s character. A “Goblin King” immediately gives readers a dark vibe, and that is certainly applicable to the whole tone of his character in this book. But the dark atmosphere the Goblin King and his Underworld bring to this book actually makes it charming in its own way. The Goblin King is sarcastic and haughty and mischievous and tries to be cruel, but it is clear even halfway through the book that he is just as beautiful and mysterious and thoughtful as he is wicked.

I mention before that this book probably should not be classified as YA. Towards the middle and end, the content becomes significantly more mature than most YA books I have read in the past. If you are anything like me, you like to read all types of YA, even if you are just in middle school. However, after reading this as an eighth grader ( Hey there eight-month procrastination ) I would say it was a little too mature for my innocence : ). I am just going to throw warning out there.

SO IF you’re a high schooler who loves themselves a dark, poetic story about a girl who will do anything to save her family, and a mysterious Goblin King who is not as wicked as he seems, FIND Wintersong. Unfortunately, this book is so captivating ( if we ignore its slow pace ) that you will read it in one sitting and waste a lot of precious time that could have been spent on your Notes Assignment for English,  like me : ).


There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort
of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”

― S. Jae-Jones, Wintersong

“What would you do, if you were a free man?”
“I would take my violin and play. I would walk the world and play, until someone called me by name and called me home.”

“She was the sun and he was the earth waking from a thaw.”

“I am not a saint; I am a sinner. I want to sin again and
again and again.”

A dark, poetic story about a talented yet overlooked girl and a wicked Goblin King who is that and so much more.
Check it out at the library and Goodreads :


Review of It by Stephen King ---Tanay Somisetty

Review of It by Stephen King
Tanay Somisetty

The movie, It, was an amazing film and a must watch for all lovers of horror. This movie prompted me to read the novel by Stephen King that it’s based on. Upon picking up this massive book, I was initially intimidated. My edition (pictured above) was over a thousand pages, but I was committed to delving into the adventure waiting for me. As a first time reader of Stephen King, I was amazed. I finally understood all the praise surrounding this author. In this novel, King created not only a story, but an entire world. He left no stone unturned by explaining every motive and exquisitely detailing every scene. Every character, even the most minor ones, were well extremely well thought out. This resulted in every character to feel real and feel like an essential part of the world King had created. I had a remarkable time reading It and I feel it deserves as spot among other great classics.

The premise of this novel is similar to the movie. Bill Denbrough’s younger brother is murdered by a mysterious, other-worldly entity and he seeks revenge with the help of his close friends all while running from bullies and experiencing the many exploits of childhood. Before starting this book I was hesitant to read it because I already watched the movie. I wondered how long it would be before I got bored since I already knew the story. However, upon reading I found that the movie excluded many parts of the book. It almost felt like the novel was an entirely new experience because of the many parts of the story left out from the film. I was captivated throughout the entire book. If you enjoyed the movie or simply enjoy reading rich and well thought out stories, I recommend this book, assuming you’re up for an adventure.

My Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

DC Talk Martyrs- Book Review! Sophia Milla

DC Talk Martyrs- Book Review!
Sophia Milla

In multiple movies you’ve probably seen where a character dies for another person. Not only movies, but in books also. And why is that usually? Usually that sacrifice occurs due to the love that the person has for the other.

What is this book?

The book of Martyrs by DC Talk describes stories of different people or characters that have showed assertion and boldness in what they believe.

It truly inspired me when reading different testimonies of the bold sacrifices people have gone through because of what they love. In this book, they are giving themselves to God, the main person in each story.

The original book, which was written for adults has similar stories. The book of Martyrs written by DC Talk describes people our age making these sacrifices! Story to story describes the choices of people our age willingly bold for what they believe in.

Overall, it revolves around young people who give their lives for God, and the setting usually meets countries that are against the practice of Christianity.

My Opinion on the Book + Would I Recommend It?

I was really hit by the book, since the book allowed me to reflect on my own convictions!

I was really inspired also on how brave the characters and people were in the story. I think each character really set an example of courage, and many people love to read about people of courage as they go through tests.

If I were to recommend this book, I probably would not tell a random person to jump right into it. I feel like the book definitely has some intense stories that can freak some people out. When coming into the book you definitely need an open heart of understanding and at the same willing to reflect on yourself as a character and also reflect on how much you value things

Great book though! Definitely for somebody willing to be courageous. All the characters throughout the book show boldness and courage, but at the same time how they push themselves to not worry.

I haven’t finished the book, but through each page that I’ve flipped by is a different story of a bold person standing up for what they believe. And again, the stories really hit me and ask me about my own character! But definitely I would recommend it for a person looking to be bold, and for stories to inspire them.

Some Cool Moments!
            There are some incredibly interesting moments that occur while people refuse to give up who they believe in during the story.
            *”Lifted by the Fire”- One guy, instead of crying in fear of death, was very bold and fought through all the pain and torture methods thrown at him. At the end, after waking up from unconsciousness, he felt fire around him. However, he felt himself being lifted up from the fire miraculously. Though he was then stoned immediately after, the guy in the story refused to die. He is still alive and is living with friends.

            *A Song for the Lord”- Instead of crying in fear of death, the main character here was singing excitedly because he was able to die for something that he loved. With that, he kept singing until he died.

            *”Her Last Prayer” a 17-year old girl here was put to the gun with other members of her congregation. What was incredible though was that out of the members that were forced to either deny Jesus and live or to die, the girl was the only one that refused to deny Him. As a result she did die. However, it really shows how much she loves what she believes and she is so willing to give up for it.


These are just a few of the stories that have shook me! There are tons throughout the book, and definitely are just some examples of how amazing it is to be bold for the things you love and willing.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Summary of the Apple Keynote by Karthik Sankar

Summary of the Apple Keynote by Karthik Sankar

There was an amazing amount of Hype around this year's iphone announcement especially among teens. Well, it finally happened, let’s take a look at what went down:

They are upgrading their retail stores in major cities to make them like a “town square.”  This likely won't affect us in South Brunswick.
Apple Watch.
They upgraded the heart rate sensor. It will now tell you if you heart rate is unusually high or irregular. The music interface is resigned to show album art. The Siri screen gives you cards (similar to Google Now) you think you could use. In addition there are new toy story watch faces. It now has cellular data, so you don’t need your iPhone to use it but that version will cost you 399 (non cellular is $329). Siri can now actually TALK back to you.
Apple TV.
There's now a model that supports 4K and HDR. It costs $179 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB. The non 4K version is $149 (there is only a 32GB version). It now supports live sports (you will get notifications if a game is going to start).
iPhone 8 and 8 plus.
New design: glass on front and back. The aluminum band matches finish of the color you choose.
They claim the glass is the “Most durable ever in a smartphone.”
New display with True Tone technology (think upgraded auto-brightness).
The new speakers are 25% louder with deeper bass.
New A11 bionic chip “This is the most powerful and smartest chip ever in a smartphone.” It has two performance cores are 25% faster. The four high efficiency cores 70% are faster. And the second gen performance controller is 70% faster with multithreaded workloads. Finally, the GPU is 30% faster. This basically means it's definitely faster than the old iPhone.
A new ISP with faster autofocus and has hardware noise reduction. (better pictures)
There are new gyroscope and accelerometer for improved AR.
iPhone now supports wireless charging!
There are 2 memory options for iPhone: 64GB and 256GB.
Pre order starts this friday (September 15) and they will be available on September 22. iOS will be released on September 19.
iPhone X.
This iPhone doesn’t have Touch ID but DOES have Face ID which allow you to unlock your phone by looking at it. Any apps which work with Touch ID will work with Face ID. Animoji uses the same tech as Face ID to let you control the emoji’s animation with your face (similar to snapchat filters) and it’s built into iMessage. The depth camera (used for Face ID) work with third party apps so apps like Snapchat can create more realistic filters.
The home button is replaced with a gesture (swiping up from the bottom). Control center can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the display.
The power button is now the “side button”, this is because it has alternate uses like double clicking it for Apple Pay.
The dual cameras are positioned vertically with the flash in between them. Both lens have Hardware Optical Image Stabilisation. There is zero shutter lag so fast moving objects aren’t burry. Selfies can now be taken in portrait mode thanks to the depth camera. The battery lasts 2 hours more than iPhone 7.
A new wireless charging mat by Apple from iPhone, Apple Watch and Air Pods. There is a new optional case for Air Pods that allows wireless charging. Will be launched later in the year.

Want to watch the Apple Keynote for yourself? (Warning: it's 2 hours long!)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

BOOK REVIEW : How to Keep Rolling After a Fall By Stephanie Garber BY SULPHIA IQBAL

BOOK REVIEW : How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
By Stephanie Garber


I’m tired of the clique after clique in recent YA contemporary. I’ve never actually enjoyed the genre, but for some reason I could not stop reading it, no matter how stupid they were. This book has finally convinced me to steer away from contemporary once and for all.

This is a book about second chances. A book about a misjudged girl and a guy with a disabilities. I know, I know, you’re thinking “How on earth can she not like a book with such diversity?! She’s heartless!”  But please, hear me out.

This book was a stale and feeble attempt at a story about two characters in their period of self-actualization after making terrible decisions. I say attempt because it could have been so much more.

While reading the reviews for this book, I noticed a very interesting point. MC Nikki, who after a cyberbullying incident was solely blamed for almost causing a girl to commit suicide, never actually regrets doing what she did, even though it was not completely her fault. Instead, she regrets the consequences. I don’t think that’s exactly a good message to send from a book like this.

The author might have thought the romance was the selling point, but that just made it all the worst. It practically started at 10 pages into the book with a random guy she literally just meets.

I went so far as to give this book a star for its concept. It’s really nice to see so many YA authors focus on diversity, not just in race but in mental health as well. There are those books who just nail it and illustrate a perfect sense of what their character is going through. And then there are those who have the right idea but don’t entirely do it well. Guess what category this book falls into?

But without its diversity, this book is nothing. The romance is basically love-at-first-sight *CRINGE* and takes up practically the whole book ( well, I wouldn’t know cause I didn’t actually finish the thing, but it’s pretty accurate ). It honestly would’ve been so much better off without it. I didn’t know where this book was even going halfway into it. It had no plot, no characterization, nothing. It was boring and bland, like ( hey I’m fasting and like really hungry right now and thinking about food so blame the stomach ) spaghetti without sauce ( mentally cringing at the prospect ).

It shared themes and cliques, God even scenes that I have seen in so many other novels. I get that they were supporting each during tough times and I get that their lives weren’t easy, but that shouldn’t be the only thing drawing me to the book. While it had a great idea, it lacked creativity and an anticipation that I want to feel while reading any book.

“Fresh starts, okay? Maybe you're not ready to take it, but at least know one's here.”

Check it out at the library and goodreads :

RATINGS: 1/5 and DNF

“Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine -- A Mystery Series You HAVE To Read” by Vanditha Krishnan

“Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine -- A Mystery Series You HAVE To Read”
by Vanditha Krishnan

I reviewed two contemporaries this month, and I’m taking a break from those cheesy companion novels and moving on to a genre I adore -- mystery. Yup, Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine, is author Stephanie Tromly’s first book, and it’s a classic tale of mystery. But that’s not all. This fantastic story has it all; relatable characters, hilarious dialogue, and teenage sleuths you’ll never forget!

Plot: Zoe Webster is living a normal life until she opens the door to find Philip Digby, or simply Digby, standing on her doorstep. That’s right, ever heard of the term, ‘stranger danger?’ Digby doesn’t seem to agree. He’s rude and acts like he knows everything about her. The only problem is, whatever he says is actually true! No matter how much she tries to stop, Zoe’s allowed brilliant Digby to bring her into dangerous schemes all related to the kidnapping of a young girl in their town years ago. Unfortunately, Zoe just can’t say no. Trouble Is A Friend Of Mine was one of the most interesting mysteries I’ve read, and the plot is enticing!

Characters: Okay, let me just tell you straight up that Digby is the ONLY male character I’ve actually wanted to meet in real life, that is if he existed. He’s a prodigy, astute and perceptive. He’s annoying but knows just about everything in the criminal world. And most importantly, he’s a good guy. Zoe, or Princeton, as she is more commonly addressed, is his ideal henchman. Or henchwoman in this case. She’s always there for him and his sudden needs but manages to treat him decently. She’s quirky but sensible, and her presence just adds so much more to the novel. This dynamic duo was sensational in every way!

Thoughts: If you like mystery, go for it. If you like adventure, read it. If you want a taste of Stephanie Tromly’s masterpieces, enjoy it. But if you need a book that will keep you up for three hours straight, PICK IT UP AT THE LIBRARY RIGHT NOW!!!

Final Words: Mystery is not for everyone. It’s an accepted fact. But this book has awesomeness written in all 336 pages. And if you’re a sucker for great novels, I suggest you read this as soon as possible. Enjoy!

P.S: Don’t be disappointed by the ending. There’s a sequel!!!!!