Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
The first 200 pages were not written well. I was bored and felt growing discomfort with the mangled Middle Eastern culture this fantasy book was premised on. At least the next 150 odd pages picked up a little in terms of plot and also storytelling, so I didn’t end up thoroughly hating Rebel of the Sands. Still, this book has so many problems, I’m relieved I didn’t order the sequels before finishing this one first.
The year has just begun and I’ve only finished three books so far, The Cruel Prince being the first, but I think I’m ready to declare it among my top 10 of 2018. Hah. I mean, only two books I read last year exceeded my rating of 4.883 that I gave The Cruel Prince, so yes I’m confident this book will be among my favourites. In other words, the hype pulled through for me, and I think it’s absolutely justified!
No contest, The Hate U Give is the best young adult novel that was published in 2017. It’s filled with heart and soul, takes an honest look at racial discrimination, and doesn’t hold back any punches. It’s so honest and raw that it hurts to read and it’s precisely because of that that everyone and anyone, young or old, needs to read The Hate U Give.