Mini Reviews: Radha + Jai, This Poison Heart, Capsule

Hello everyone! Today I’m bringing three mini reviews I’ve written about some of my recent reads.

I haven’t had the time to read much lately or write full length reviews, but I also really wanted to write some small reviews for these books, so here we go! 💖

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Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance

Author: Nisha Sharma
Publication date:
July 13th 2021
Age-range / Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary, Romance
Content warnings: panic attacks, anxiety
Summary:

Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest Kathak dancers in the world … until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now, she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past, and reinvent herself from scratch.

Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.

With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.

recommended for: fans of bollywood music and movies, stories with family drama, and sappy romances

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is an adorable contemporary romance. I adored reading more about their culture, the different types of dance, all the yummy food (gosh I could really go for some halwa right now) and their passion for dancing. I’m always a sucker for dual povs, so I appreciated being able to see both Radha’s and Jai’s points of view and their love for dance.

It was interesting to see their different family dilemmas, Jai feeling like he has to step up and look after his family at the expense of his dreams to go to college, while Radha is stepping away from her dreams and love of dance because of its links to her family (specifically her mother). It’s always lovely to see characters with different backgrounds and family issues work together to resolve things, and give each other strength to follow their dreams.

My only qualm with the story is that it was quite slow at times, but was quite enjoyable.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This Poison Heart

Author: Kalynn Bayron
Publication date: June 29th 2021
Age-range / Genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Magical Realism, LGBT+
Content warnings: death of a parent, kidnapping, murder.
Summary:

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.

When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.

When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it … until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.

recommended for: fans of mysteries, greek mythology, magical realism, and cute romance

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This was buddy read with my friend Bie, and it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water.

I was immediately invested in our main character Briseis and the story. Her powers were so fascinating, and I just had to know more about them and also about this mysterious new house that had been left to her.

This Poison Heart incorporated themes of magical realism and mystery, both of which I adored. I enjoyed the heavy undertones of creepiness and mystery in the novel – it truly felt like it could turn into a thriller novel at any moment. It made for guessing what was going to happen next so much fun.

I loved the supporting parents in the book – Bri’s mothers are both so wonderful and sweet and supportive, and their love for Bri is palpable. It’s wonderful to see loving and present parents in YA, which I feel like is a rare feat.

While the romance did feel underdeveloped, I look forward to seeing more of it in the sequel!

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Capsule

Author: Mel Torrefranca
Publication date: July 10th 2021
Age-range / Genre: Young Adult / Sci-Fi, Thriller
Content warnings: bullying, car accident, referenced death of family members, references to drowning
Summary:

Two students from Brookwood High School mysteriously go missing on the same night.

The first is Peter Moon, a heartless pescatarian who bashes students from Brookwood on his blog, turning everyone against him. The second is the adored Kat Pike, an audacious girl desperate to boost her adrenaline. Three days pass. No leads.

Indifferent to the disappearances, sixteen-year-old Jackie Mendoza remains immersed in her virtual world of video games and online friends.

When a menacing app by the name of Capsule downloads itself onto Jackie’s phone, she enters a game interlaced with reality. A game threatening to erase Peter and Kat forever. Only Jackie can save them now—but Capsule is the most ruthless game she’s ever played.

Recommended for: fans of sci-fi and fast-paced adventures.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Capsule is a brilliantly thrilling novel that is hard to put down. The novel follows Jackie who finds a mysterious app on her phone following the disappearances of two of her classmates, and suddenly finds herself back in time before their disappearance working against the clock to stop whatever fate that awaits them.

It’s got a fast-paced plot and interesting protagonists. The main characters are not your cookie-cutter protagonists. They’re not entirely likeable, but they’re not supposed to be. Peter, Jackie, and Kat are all outsiders that find themselves stuck together to solve this mystery and follow the rules of Capsule to finish the game.

I really liked seeing characters who are so different yet so similar in being misunderstood and honestly quite self-centred at times having to band together.

Some of their interactions irked me as it seemed repetitive with their fights and really doubling down on the issues that they had, but overall I enjoyed reading their character growth even if it did feel more telling the reader rather than showing it

Overall a really good thriller novel that will keep you on your toes.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me a free eARC in exhcange for an honest review.

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Thank you for reading! Have you read any of these books?
Let me know what you thought!

11 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Radha + Jai, This Poison Heart, Capsule

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