None at the moment.

Monday, November 23, 2015

ARC Review: Saving June

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Publication Date:  May 1st 2011
Pages: 336
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one — so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going — California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down — again.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

  For unknown reasons, Harper's perfect sister June committed suicide without leaving a note, leaving Harper confused. Harper started to go through June's things and found out that she may not have known June all too well. After being reminded how her sister always wanted to study in California, Harper decided to go on a road trip to spread her ashes where she belongs. And so, with her best friend Laney and the the mysterious boy Jake who showed up on her sister's funeral, they take a van to California.

  Saving June is the most meaningful road trip book I've read yet, since road trip books can usually be uneventful. I really enjoyed most parts of this book, but there were some parts that I just skipped over because I was anxious to get to the end. I have to admit though, there were parts with so much feels! I liked how this book discussed suicide, however I feel like there are other books that did a better job. This one was good, but it could have been better.

  I really liked Harper and Laney's friendship because I saw how they were always there for each other, without expecting anything in return. I liked how by going on a journey to "save June", Harper also somehow found herself. I liked the friendship the three of them formed, and how willing Jake was to help Laney. It reminded me that there are still some good people in the world, and I should learn to be one of them. 

  I thought that it was true what her Aunt Helen was saying; that Harper was selfish for leaving her mother just like that when she just lost her daughter, but I can understand why she did it. There were parts where it seemed like Harper didn't care, but I think she was just too good in repressing her feelings. I didn't like how this book ended too abruptly. I get that it was supposed to be an open ending, but the ending felt more like a comma rather than a period to me. I felt like there should be a little more after the ending, and also, more information about Jake and June, and also the consequences of their road trip.

  Overall, I liked the book, but I didn't really love it. It was great, but it was a few notches short of what I was expecting.

3.5 it-could've-been-better stars

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lettering and Calligraphy #7 - Unlit Star

Lettering & Calligraphy is a new feature on the blog where I can share to you guys my other hobby besides reading. This feature will showcase my letter and calligraphy works of quotes from various books. I'm not an expert or even anywhere near , but I just wanted to share my works. :)
"Your scars tell the world that you are stronger than whatever gave them to you." - Unlit Star by Lindy Zart
 Unlit Star by Lindy Zart has a lot of amazing quotes, and this is the first of three letterings that I've made from the quotes on the book. If you have the time, go check this book out. It will be worth your time. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: Hex Hall

Title: Hex Hall
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Pages: 323
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Reading the synopsis, I wasn't interested in the book. It sounded very Highschool-teenage-y-cliche-esque. But then I read a review from a very reliable source that said that it wasn't like it sounded, so I decided to give it a shot. And I am so freaking glad that I did.

Because this book was so much better than I expected. The bad cover and the cheezy description is very misleading and you shouldn't let that, or one of those I-have-a-problem-with-writing-a-positive-review people stop you from reading it.

Now, I'm not saying that the book isn't teenage-y at all. It is. But the characters are teenagers so I can't exactly fault it for that. The important thing is that it's so much more.

It didn't start off very good but it got better with every page. The twists and turns, the characters, the general story, the world in which it was, everything was so good. Especially the twists. I did not see a lot of the stuff coming. I mean, I suspected something but I didn't know they were going to be that (Sorry. I'm being vague, I know. I just don't want to give any spoilers). And the ENDING!

HO-LY Crap!

I have no idea what's going to happen after this and I'm super pumped for the next book.

The only flaw I observed was that the writing needed a bit of polishing. It was the little things. Like Sophie and Jenna stopped laughing even though it was never mentioned that they started laughing in the first place. Or Sophie standing up when I'd thought she was already standing since it wasn't mentioned otherwise.

But other than that, the book was brilliant. I loved it and I highly recommend it.

4.5 Pleasantly-Surprised Stars

Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Series: TATBILB #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  April 15th 2014
Pages: 288
My Rating: 5 Stars
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

  Reading the synopsis of the book, one may think that To All the Boys I've Loved Before is a shallow about a teenager and her crushed. But let me tell you something - you cannot be more wrong. This book seems fluffy and all about romance, but when you read it, you'll know that it's also about family, friendship, forgiveness, and doing things for others without expecting anything else in return. This is my second time reading the book, but I still love it all the same.

  Lara Jean is an amazing main character. She is easily relatable and she seems very realistic to me. She can be innocent and naive at times, but also wise beyond her years at other times. I really loved how Jenny Han wrote this. The pacing is great, the romance is slow-burn and there were lots of amazing quotable quotes as well.

  One of my favorite things about this book is the family element. All of them are really close, as opposed to the usual broken families shown in most young adult novels these days. The dad didn't turn to alcohol when the mom died, and Margot, as the elder sister, really stepped up in taking care of the household. The Song sisters were also great in making things as easy as possible for their dad, and I loved them for that.

  Another favorite of mine is the slow-burn romance. Fake relationships are a guilty pleasure of mine, and this one nailed it! The feels were present, and I just loved it! I was on team Josh at first, but once that other side of Peter was shown, I transferred to team Peter K. all the way! The cliffhanger in the end made me scream so hard the first time I read this, but now I didn't because I already have the second book!

  This book succeeded in being a light read that still teaches us about the realities of life; it's fluffy, but at the same time not a shallow read. This definitely is a must-read, especially for teens. I just wish that there are more books out there like this one. 

I-freaking-loved-it stars

Thursday, November 19, 2015

ARC Review: Abby and the Cute One

Title: Abby and the Cute One
Series: Backstage Pass #5
Author: Erin Butler
Publication date: 18th November 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
My Rating: 3 stars

Abby is a want to be singer.
Nathan is a boy band superstar. 
When fate brings them together, fame could drag them apart. When Abby gets a place to be the support act on the new Seconds to Juliet tour, she gets to spend more time with Nathan than she bargained for, and Nathan's finding it hard to balance his true feelings with his real ones. When his manager wants him to pretend to be dating an upcoming actress, Nathan struggles with hiding Abby from the masses and not messing up his own career too.

 Thank you to Entangled: Crush and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book. 
This has in no way altered my review.
 I didn't like this that much to be honest, and I think it was predictable. I knew they would be a couple, I knew she would get her fame and to be honest, I just don't believe in coincidences enough to really become attached to this story.

The story line reminded me of the Disney Channel film, Starstruck, mixed with Camp Rock. 

The writing was good, and it was very obvious the audience that Butler was writing for. Her writing is one to attract younger teens so the story is very easy to follow, but that doesn't mean that it has to be as predictable as it was. It was obvious the whole time what the endgame was going to be, and I just didn't like the characters enough to accept that.

I didn't want more, I just wanted it to be more like a contemporary that brought me all of the feels, maybe I'm just too old for this genre of book now.

Three predictable stars


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

"We're just people, and people sometimes do stupid things."
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

"Libraries were full of ideas. Perhaps the most dangerous and powerful weapons."
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

 "Never let them take what you're not willing to give."
- Stray by Elisa Sussman


 "There's a part of everyone that needs to be taken care of. Denying it 
exists doesn't change the truth. It only makes you very lonely."
- The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Alred

 "I felt lost and I lost the map to find myself. The moon said he would tell me who 
I was, but I told him no. No, there's something wonderful in not knowing."
- Ugly People Beautiful Hearts by Marlen Komar

 "Our fears are what stifle us, and we're only scared of what we don't understand."
- Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

 "There's no way to avoid regret. Don't let anybody tell you different. 
Regret is just life's aftertaste. No matter what you choose, you're 
gonna wonder if you shoulda done things different. I didn't 
necessarily choose wrong, I just chose."
- A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

 "A person sick with cancer has the support of the community. 
Everyone bonds together and tries to help. Friends organize bake sales 
and blood drives. Next door neighbors bring tuna casseroles to the
 family. There are no casseroles for Schizophrenia. People are afraid so 
they keep away. The families are embarrassed so they hide. They pretend 
that their son or daughter has gone abroad or is busy at school. 
Anything to avoid telling the truth."
- Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

 "You could rattle the stars, if only you dared."
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

 "Sometimes we are our biggest critic and the person we have the
hardest time gaining approval from is usually ourselves."
- Unlit Star by Lindy Zart

All photos and hand lettering are made by me. 
If you want to see more, follow me on Instagram. :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mini Review: Through the Ever Night

Title: Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopia
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date:  January 8th 2013
Pages: 341
My Rating: 4 Stars
It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, can their love survive through the ever night?

  It is without a doubt that Through the Ever Night is an amazingly written book with a really great plot, but compared the the first book, I felt like this book fell flat. Whereas the first book was more engaging and "energetic," I felt like this one was just telling a story. I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I did in the first book, and I felt harder to emphatize with them in this book. 

  However, disregarding the comparison with the first book, I truly did enjoy this story. It's still the same book that got me hooked and it was hard to put the book down. I am really excited to continue on with the journey of our characters, and I am really glad that I already own a copy of the next book! 

nice stars

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Street Team: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

Title: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
Author: Jenn Bennett
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date:  November 3rd 201
Pages: 304
My Rating: 4 Stars
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is one of my most anticipated 2015 books, and it did not disappoint!

I don't know what it is about this book's synopsis that drew me in. This book is in my favorite genre, contemporary romance, but I don't usually read books that have vague synopsis or synopsis that I don't really get. However, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart really made me excited from its synopsis to its unique and kind of weird title.

This book encompassed so much that the romance was not the highlight of the book. This book was also about imperfect families, difficult situations, mental illness, art, inspiration, and many more. But of course, the romance is not to be ignored. The simple gestures between the two characters made me feel the feels. Because of those, I found this book all the more lovable and relatable.

Although the method of art the two main characters have are unusual, I still felt like this book was realistic. This book discussed a lot of heavy topics, but what I liked is that it didn't make me feel heavy after reading it, as I do with some other books.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is well-written and well-paces, filled with amazing quotes and paragraphs. If it's something that you are interested in, definitely give it a shot. I'm pretty sure that you'll find it enjoyable!

4 didn't-disappoint stars