None at the moment.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: Fangirl

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: No
Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 445
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

This was supposed to be a review of Carry On. But when I was about to start reading it, I found out that it was a spin-off to Fangirl. I'm one of those people who can't, no matter what, make themselves read a book that part of a series unless they've read all the previous book. Even if it is a stand-alone.

Now usually, I prefer to go into books without any preconceptions. But when the author is Rainbow Rowell and the book is as well known and well loved as this one, that's not exactly possible. Going into this book, I expected it to be about a reader, someone who loved books and obssessed over them. I expected the books to be sweet and, most importantly, relatable.

It wasn't like I thought it would be. And I'm not saying that in a good way or a bad way. I'm just saying it.

Fangirl didn't seem, to me, about fangirls at all. Yes, Cath was a fangirl. But she wasn't as enthusiastic about stories, about new releases and book quotes, like fangirls usually are. She didn't read and write just to read and write. It wasn't her love for books that drove her. Her reasons were much darker. Her life and her story, much more serious. Now let's talk about the characters individually:

Cath: Cath is a difficult character to understand. I stll don't think I undeerstand her. I still feel like I'm missing parts of her story. And the main reason for that is the same reason she loves Simon and Baz so much. She wants to disappear. She doesn't like having to think about her own life. She doesn't like having to deal with herself. So, she things about Simon and Baz instead. And because of that, even after an entire book that was basically from her point-of-view, all we really know about her is what we can pick up from the tid-bits that are given.

Levi: I like Levi. He is such a nice guy. He's like can't-possibly-be-real nice. Maybe that's why this books is fiction; because Levi can't be real. Anyway, throughout this book, I was, for some reason, keeping count of Levi's mess ups. There were three of them and he made up for and explained most of them. He didn't explain the "later". But even though I love him, a part of me feels like there's more to him. So much more that we don't know about him. I want to know his backstory. I want to know him better.

Wren: Wren was a mess. I could understand her wanting to do something different in college. But her approach on it was so wrong, she became a stereotype. And Wren is another character that I want to know more about. People don't just drown themselves in alcohol for no reason. Or maybe they do, there's not way to be sure.

Reagan: Reagen is probably my favourite character in this book. She isn't the main character and her only role seems to be frowning and kicking doors open and close, but she's way more important that that. She just doesn't hog the attenion. And she's such a cool character. Her presence is light and she's like a breath of fresh air after all the intense emotions of Cath. But again, what to know more! God! The amount of info. we have on everyone is making me realize how self-centered Cath is.

Simon and Baz: I had to mention these two. They're so important to Cath, how could I not? In the beginning, I didn't care about them. I kept wondering why I should care about them. I wanted the author to stop with them and move on with the story. But by the end, they grew on me. Now, I really wanna know what happens to the both of them. It makes me glad for Carry On.

Finally, the things I disliked:

  1. The ending feels incomplete. There's so much that was left hanging. I'd put the questions, that I wish were answered, in this review, but they'd be spoilers. So. I'm gonna say that I have questions and leave it at that.
  2. The story didn't move fast enough. There were times during the first half when I was a bit bored. I wanted somthing to happen. The story was walking, meaning it was moving forward but it was very mundane. I wanted a jump. Or hell, even a five second jog that said that we were actually getting somewhere.
  3. I loved the writing. Rainbow Rowell is a really good author. But I didn't see much of a difference between Cath's writing style and Gemma T. Leslie's. I'm not sure if it was intentional (it probably was) but I wish there'd been a more noticeable difference in the two writng styles and not just the content.
  4. As I've mentioned pleanty of times in this review already, I want to know more about the characters. I just want there to be more.
And that a wrap for the review. It was a good book but I didn't connect with it as much as I would've liked. No regrets, though.

3.5 Unsatisfied Stars

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Blog Tour: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Title: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light
Author: Ann Jacobus
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher:  Thomas Dunne
Publication Date: October 6th 2015  
Pages: 288
My Rating: 4 Stars
A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can't shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer's behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she's forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that'll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is a very unique read. Set in Paris, it follows a depressed alcoholic teen who carries a huge weight. It felt very impersonal for me that the author used the third person point of view when depression relies so much on what the person, in this case Summer, is thinking or feeling at the moment. This is why it took me a while to get into this book; but once I got into it I can only say that's it's a really, really amazing book.

The way I see the book is that both Kurt and Moony represent the inner struggle that a depressed person goes through when having suicidal thoughts. On one hand, there's Kurt, affirming all of Summer's negative feelings and egging her on to push through with suicide. As a depressed person, the feeling of sadness and darkness overweigh the feeling of happiness, thus Kurt always seems to be everywhere. On the other hand, Moony is that part of our brain which thinks of other people and convinces Summer not to push through. That she is strong and she can still improve. Being the few bits of happiness, Summer only seldom saw Moony. The imagery of this is having an angel and a devil on each side of Summer's shoulders.

Once I started viewing the book with this perspective, I started to appreciate the book more. I feel like that this is not probably the author's intention, but that's how I chose to view it. It made me appreciate the book more, and it definitely made me understand depression more despite the many YA novels that I've already read which were also about depression.

This definitely is one of my favorite depression books, and it's definitely a more unique take on it, at least for me.

4 stars

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Interview: Jennifer Walkup, Author of This Ordinary Life

Title: This Ordinary Life
Author: Jennifer Walkup
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher:  Luminis Books, Inc.
Publication Date:  October 1st 2015
Pages: 240, paperback
Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres's life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health--not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

1. What made you want to become an author?
 I’m not sure how it started, but I’ve been writing stories as long as I can remember. I still have the first book I wrote in fourth grade, about a mouse who runs away and gets stranded on a desert island. The book is bound with duct tape and illustrated by yours truly. Hopefully my stories have gotten at least a little better since then. :)

2. What is/are your favorite book/s that belong to the YA contemporary genre?
This is so hard to answer, it probably changes on a weekly/daily basis, but one that stands out over the last few years would definitely be THE BOOK THIEF. Such a gorgeous, special, book.

3. How did the idea of this novel come to you?
Like most of my stories, I started with just a kernel of an idea about my main character. Jasmine came to me first – a strong main character who loves working at her school radio station and works hard for her ultimate dream - to be a real radio DJ someday. But I knew she’d have struggles – a cheating ex boyfriend, an alcoholic mother, an absent father. Her brother’s epilepsy was also central to her character. I wanted at least one character who was struggling with epilepsy. And then Wes, with similar struggles, naturally entered the story. He was a fun character and took the story in directions I hadn’t originally planned.

4. Why did you choose to write about epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and my family, as a few members of my family suffer from the disorder. I wanted to write a book that shows a little bit more about epilepsy, but even more importantly, a book that shows that these characters having epilepsy is secondary to them just being regular teens who like to do teen stuff. Epilepsy is a part of their life, but certainly not what defines them.

6. How long did it take you to write this book from scratch to finish?
It was spread over the course of probably 18 months, possibly closer to two years. It was forming in my mind for quite a while before I actually started writing, though.

7. What do you do in case of a writer's block?
When I’m drafting I usually don’t struggle with writer’s block, but sometimes in revisions I get stuck! I usually talk to one of my beta readers about various issues I’m working through in the book. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation about my characters with someone who knows the book to spark my creativity.

8. Ebook, paperback or hardback? Why?
I prefer paper. Either hardcover or paperback, either is fine!

9. When writing novels: Pen and paper or laptop? Why?
Mostly laptop, but I do lots of brainstorming and note taking with pen and paper, especially in the early stages of a project.

Thank you so much for patiently answering all my questions, Jennifer! <3

Dress Up That Cover #46 - Damsel Distressed

  Dress Up That Cover is a new feature where I create an outfit based merely on the cover, not the story nor what the characters would wear. Colors of the outfit will all be taken from the cover design, so the books may be ones that I haven't read yet. All sets will be created via Polyvore.
  This week's feature is Damsel Distressed. I don't even know what this book is about, but I just think that the cover is really cute, and I found the perfect outfit featuring the colors on the cover! :D
Damsel Distressed

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review: I'll Give You the Sun

Title: I'll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Series: No
Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: September 16th, 2014
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 371 
My Rating: 5 Stars

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

First of all, I want to say that I love the cover.

Now, moving on to the serious business.

I love this book. It is such a well written book about the relationship between two sibilings, about secrets and pain and self-discovery. It may seem to start off a bit... uninteresting? but it's far from that. The story is wonderful, touching and heartbreaking. It has many moments of shock, too. But not shock like some huge revelation. But realisations. When you go,"Oh my god! He's Ralph". That, by the way, is not one of those shocking revelations; just something that makes you laugh.

Also, Jandy Nelson has managed to write two of the most amazing, complex, quirky and flat-out weird characters that I've even has the pleasure of reading about. And that's not even the best part.

The best part, for me, was seeing them change. Seeing how every situation affected them and made them into the person that they were. From the beginning, we see both Noah and Jude at two different points in their lives, their personalities so changed due whatever happened in between. And seeing the trasformation and why it occurred, and learing that a person, truly, isn't isn,t just one person... it was quite the journey.

A tip I'd like to give:
You need to be a bit patient with the book. There may be a few hiccups in the beginning (for some people) and you may not always like the characters or not be comfortable with the length of the chapters, but stick to it. Because it is so worth it.

So yeah, beautiful book, made me cry half-a-dozen times and laugh so many that I lost count, and is, without doubt, one of my top reads of this year.

5 Teary-eyed Stars

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lettering and Calligraphy #3 - Making Faces

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. :)
"Everybody is a main character to somebody." - Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Making Faces by Amy Harmon is one of my favorite books ever. In fact, Amy Harmon is one of my favorite authors too. This quote is very uplifting, but when you think about it, also very true. I hope that someone was made happy by reading this today, because it's true - you are a main character to someone. You may not know who that person is, but he/she exists. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Angelfall

Title: Angelfall
Author: Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 326
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

When we think of Angels, we think of fluffy wings, little harps and divine beings. But for Penryn, Angels pose a very real and a very different kind of connotation. In her world, the Angels have ruined everything. Street gangs rule the night and when Penryn's little sister, Paige, is kidnapped by warrior Angels, it calls for desperate measures.
Including, siding with the enemy...Making a deal with Raffe, an angel without any wings and they have to rely on one another to make it through the dark and dangerous journey to North California and the Angels stronghold where Penryn will risk her life to save her sister's. Will Raffe and Penryn save Paige? 

Yes! All of the yes that I have goes towards this book.

Penryn is such a good heroine. A heroine you can actually like because she isn't dependent on the love interest in this book, nope, she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of crying and running blind after the Angels, she recruits Raffe, nurses him back to safety and uses him as her companion on this journey. She actually uses her brain cells, unlike a lot of female leads and she doesn't make females out to be weak or needy! More YA books need main characters like that I think because often when I read fantasy books, they have whiny heroines and it makes me cringe a little.

Raffe was better than your average male character too, he was belittling and he didn't seem to be full of himself either, which is always a good trait. I hate when male characters, especially love interests act like they're sent from Heaven. In Raffe's case he is, but that isn't the point.

The main reason I wanted to read this book was because of the cover, it's beautiful and the book itself had so much hype on Booktube and goodreads and I can definitely understand why. If this book crosses your genre interests or just sounds like something you'd enjoy, I'd recommend it as the writing is so easy to follow and it's genuinely a very good book!

4.5 Heavenly Stars

Friday, September 25, 2015