My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins Review

Saturday, 31 January 2015 2 comments
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, by Stephanie Perkins and Other Authors
Published On: October 14, 2014, by St. Martin's Press
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-lit
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

A most anticipated Christmas gift, a light onto my heart, a book that will stay memorable forever, My True Love Gave to Me truly satisfied me and my likings. Stephanie Perkins as an editor was probably the best thing ever, and this gorgeous holiday-edition included stories from all of my favourite authors, from beginning to end, and I discovered some new ones, as well.

“I need you to be my person,” Mags said. “I need to see you. And hear you. I need you to stay alive. And I need you to stop kissing other people just because they're standing next to you when the ball drops.” 

Peace, hope and holiness. I ended up having a ton of favourite stories, and a few ones that I rather would've skipped, but altogether I know that I will be picking this up over again and again every Christmas, especially for the warming of my heart and the feelings that I got with every couple in the story. I just can’t get enough!

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell (5 stars): AGH. After reading this one, I had the highest hopes for this book—especially since it also began with my favourite author’s story. You see, Rainbow can just create and captivate you in a short story’s time from the first page. 

Her characters were sweet as candy canes, to be honest. Mags and Noel? Favourite couple ever. And it’s so adorable (but probably true for many people) on how they fell in love at first sight—although they didn't realize it at first. New Year’s Eve? That’s the most romantic getaway, ever, period. We started off with them as young bugs, but through every page and every year as they got together, they finally realized the chemistry they once had, and always will have. That kiss just was the fireworks for me, and this story was the main highlight of the book. 

The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (5 stars): BAM, the sequel story was gorgeous as well. I never have heard of Kelly or her books before, and I was kind of doing the gnawing-on-my-lip thing as I was about to begin this one—expecting the worse. I guess you can say that I’m not much of a risk-taker, eh? Truth to be told, I was extremely proud of what this turned out to be.

Of course, Link created a quirky and strange way of telling a love story, but it was cute in its own way. That’s another way that things captivate me. After the catastrophically gorgeous ending, I sat there and prayed for more gratefulness from this author in my eyes. My my, can I just say that Daniel and Miranda were adorable? At the same time, their story had such a deep, beautiful meaning and the title of the story definitely made sense all in the end. I laughed, I teared up, in just a matter of moments.

Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pëna (5 stars): And this… This was the last of them. The last of the 5 stars, haha. It’s funny since this was the third straight-in-a-row book in this 5-star sequence. It was so sweet and simple, but it warmed my heart at the same time. The protagonist was depressed, but love saved him. I SCREAMED AND LAUGHED AND PANICKED BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO FINISH IT. But then the ending came, and I was happy. Angels in the Snow really was like reading about gorgeous holy angels… These characters.

Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han (2 stars): Jenny Han is one of my favourite authors, and I actually know tons of people who adore her work, even my friends who don't actually read so often. I've read all of her books, and this short story actually needed a lot of work, in my opinion. I was lurking for something bittersweet, but what I ended up getting was a story too focused on the Christmas aspect, rather than the gorgeousness of romance and love. I am in love with all chick-lits with a little more bitterness, but this was something that I felt lost and bored from. Was that a good thing? Absolutely not.

It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins (4 stars): STEPHANIE PERKINS IS BAE, OKAY? Like honestly, Isla killed me in August, and from then on, I've been waiting and crying and pleading for more from her. This wasn't her best work and certainly not the best story from this book, but I really enjoyed it. *feels the feels* I chucked, blushed and wanted something full-length. I better get that in the future!

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan (4.5 stars): UMMM I LOVE DAVID, PERIOD? To be honest, I didn't expect something amazing—but this was. It was hilarious and definitely diverse and unique, as Levithan always hands to us. There's really never a piece of his work that disappoints me!

Krampuslauf by Holly Black (3 stars): Um, what was this? I got confused and I felt like I didn't want or need a fantasy novel in this. I understand that it's what Black usually goes with in her writing, but I didn't fall for it. This is supposed to be about Christmas and the romance, not some spells and acorn-stuff. This wasn't my sort of thing, really.

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman (2.5 stars): Another disappointment from an author I love. This was probably the story that I was anticipating the most for, and especially for the best, but I was left confused.

Please. All I wanted was a good read that would make me think about the stars and dream of hot cocoa and peppermint sticks.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire (4 stars): Hah. This was probably the most quirky, absurd but different read from this whole selection. I've heard so much praise on McEntire's books, and I'm so captivated to get more from her!

Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White (3 stars): Meh. This didn't turn out as amazing as it did to others... Sure, food was a major and crazy aspect and all, but White's work isn't that fantastic as I heard it was... I hope that Mind Games will be great, though.

Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter (3 stars): You see, this one wasn't memorable at all. It's been two weeks since I completed reading this book, and I don't even remember what this was even about. So I had to scan over it. This was bland, and as I once fell out of love with Carter's work, I can say that I'm totally not back into it again. This could've been cute, but it needed some more magic into it.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (3.5 stars): This was GOOD. I mean, the magic worked in this situation, and Taylor's work is incredibly deep and I'm so ready for DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. YESS.

Together, this really was a blast of sunshine. You know, I love those books where you feel like your indulging on something gorgeous and yummy that melts in your mouth, like a cupcake. This was a read that got me obsessed and I couldn't have enough. I love the idea that most had of reading a story a day, but I wouldn't be able to do that. You will be obsessed.

Captive by Aimee Carter Review

Friday, 30 January 2015 0 comments
Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2), by Aimee Carter
Published On: November 25, 2014, by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Romance, Science-Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Publisher

For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever. 
But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape. 
As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

Huh. After reading Pawn and Carter’s past novels—as she always writes in a manner where you feel the strong need and ability to go on and purchase her other books, I found that I was unable to wait any longer for this sequel. It turns out, there wasn't a lot to wait for except for more instalove and having to choose between two men who both suck. 

Captive is a very romance-based story where the love is most of the problem. I mean, we all have Knox and Benjy on our minds, trying to figure out who’s the best for Kitty. You know, they both know about her secret… and Benjy is working for the palace to see Kitty… Doesn’t this ring a bell of The Selection? Like, I understand that it isn't a completion to fight for love or whatever, but this is most definitely something that’s unknown between the two men who are fighting for the same girl. Just saying, people…

“Everyone in this place is an enemy.” I turned away and began to pile my plate with bite-size desserts. “I’m not.” 

First thing’s first—this really should've been a standalone, to be honest. Why are trilogies suddenly the new thing? This was barely a dystopia, and now we’ve gotten a full-blast series that continues and not much happens? You may think that I’m crazy for giving this a three-star rating if all I’m doing is raging for now, but it’s the truth in some ways. 

This takes place right off where the first book left us off, in a miniature plot twist/cliff hanger. Kitty’s just discovered that her role as being the PM’s niece is there for a reason and she begins to have trust issues. Obviously, who wouldn’t? You’re sitting there, basically in a prison where you don’t understand why you were placed in that position in the first place. Isn’t there a reason for everything? I still have a ton of questions on what will happen in the end, as I was often left confused and wondering while reading. It was as if Carter was focusing on the steps leading off to Kitty’s romantic adventure with Benjy in the end where she can just let loose and forget that there was so much trouble behind her—for things she didn't even do.

The way this book left me in the end was weird. I felt like something was missing, and that this book took my dignity and expectations for any future stories of Carter’s away. I’ll probably read the third book, just to see what’ll happen, though. 

“I invite you into my home, feed you my food, let you sleep in a warm bed, and this is how you repay me?” He flipped a switch, and yellow light filled the room, revealing walls lined with rack after rack of gleaming metal objects. Some I could name—knives, saws, screwdrivers—but others looked like they were relics from some ancient time.”

I do have to say that there was a major character-development phase over here. Kitty has become stronger and wiser, as she now knows her rebellion and what and who’s against her in her world. She’s so fucking kick-ass and is definitely is Carter’s best heroine to date. I’m just sitting here, wondering who’ll she pick in the end, especially since both guys don't really seem to catch my eye. I’d probably go for Knox, though. There’s more love with him! *gushes*

 Boom—that was the plot for you. What we got here was a pretty good showcase of the plot, with a few boring moments in the middle where my mouth was aching of my yawning, to tell the truth. I was wondering what the ending would give to us (and the truth was that it was really eye-popping) and I guess you could say that I do have a few theories in mind of what’ll happen in the end, or the future for that time being.

With a great heroine and a strong plot and ending, I’d say we’ve got an okay novel over here. It’s most definitely not the best book of the year so far, but I’m going to say that I’m captivated to read the third and final novel to see the fate of the characters—because hey, everyone deserves a happy ending. 

Having Friends That Read...

Thursday, 29 January 2015 0 comments

Having Friends That Read...

   So I've gone through this topic with some of my bloggy friends many times over and over again... but I've come to realize that I've never covered it on here, haha.

    Friends That Read Are Honestly The Best.

    Period. I mean, I actually have a lot, now that I'm in high school. I guess you can say that I've found my inner group of people to hang out with, especially since I talk about books like for 50% of the day whenever I can. I probably have about 7 or 8 friends who really love reading and we end up talking so much in class that the teacher has to tell us to be quiet. 

    I can't resist sitting in math class talking with my friend about ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER AND JOSH AND ST. CLAIR AND UGHHH. What're you supposed to do, right? And then my best friend asked me for book recommendations—I spent half of the day writing a huge super-long list of my favourites but there were still more. Now, I'm just handing her all of my copies of those beauties one after the other to borrow.

    I haven't gone on a mall shopping trip with them yet, but I know that we'll all run to the bookstore at our first chance. But hey, we should do that sometime soon since the stress of exams are over. ;)

     And also... WE WATCH THE SAME TV SHOWS. I've never come to realize that I have such good friends, both on the internet and not, until now. (Not that I never loved you guys...)

      Then you should think about it—if a book that you and your friend loved turned into a movie, you guys will probably be at the movie premiere as one of the actors because you just are so obsessed. 


SO... Do you have any friends that read as much as you do or even more?
How is your bookish relationship with them?

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott Review

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 0 comments
Complete Nothing (True Love #2), by Kieran Scott
Published On: September 30, 2014, by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mythology, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

True is not exactly loving New Jersey. Banished from Mount Olympus and tasked with helping couples find love without using her powers, the goddess-formerly-known-as-Cupid is having a tough time. Especially now that True’s immortal love, Orion, has also appeared at her New Jersey high school—but with no memory of their relationship.
To distract herself from seeing Orion flirt with another girl, True focuses her efforts on making a match: Peter and Claudia. Peter is the star quarterback and the most popular guy in school. But he’s insecure about his future, so he preemptively dumps Claudia, his girlfriend. (If she won’t want to be with him later, why stay together now?) Claudia doesn’t take the breakup too well, and she’s ready to show the quarterback of their rival school just how ready she is to get over it.
But True sees something in these two seniors. She believes they should be together—but can she help them find their way back to each other (and get herself closer to home)? Or have things already spun too far out of control?

A few months back, I’ve come to realize that I’m a very picky and subjective person when it comes to choose to read a book. I’m a very sceptical person, especially with genres that I don't really read much of—like mythology. This book is definitely like a crazy very-much modern day version of Percy Jackson, with a female kick-ass protagonist and a point of trying to get people to fall in love.

I have to say that the first book was better than this—the sequel. But deep into my heart, I can still tell you that this is one of the best series I’ve read in a long time. Scott is probably the master of contemporary and her books are a pleasure to read—always. This was like the book where we should know what’s happening, and it’s a continuation.

In the last book, True matched a couple up and she now has two more in order for her to head back to Mount Olympus and be with Orion, her true love. But now he’s here, at Lake Carmody High, and doesn't seem to remember True at all. And he’s all she cares about. When Peter, the star quarterback has messed up feelings about his relationship with his loving girlfriend, Claudia, they break up and True begins to try her best to get them back together.

“Every last one of them thought I was a freak. Including the love of my life.” 

Firstly, can I just mention that these covers are so gorgeous? LIKE, THEY’RE SO SIMPLE BUT BEAUTIFUL. And especially the last book—OMG. But really, this book was beautiful inside and out as well, whereas the first was just precious to the heart. This concept was a continuation but total fun for someone who’d like a light, quick romance read mixed in with some Greek mythology and history.

To let you know, for 336 pages, this book’s plot was very well-detailed but to the point. There weren't too much of things, and I was barely bored. There was a new romance, new set of characters and a new set of POVs, switching between Claudia, Peter and True. Scott gave us a whiff of what these characters were really thinking and what they meant during some times.

What I did have a tiny problem with was the characters themselves, preferably Peter and Claudia. I loved them together (I shipped them so hard) but both of them were too sassy and idiotic at times. Claudia was too snobby and she tried to hard to accomplish something that was impossible in her situation which she knew would never happen and peeked for attention. Peter, on the other hand, was actually the same. He was a show-off, and he took his life too easily and thought about having fun. He ran away from seriousness.  

"This was so wrong. We were soul mates. We were each other one and only. I knew him like the back of my hand. Shouldn't he have known me no matter what? Shouldn't our eternal connection be more powerful than any spell a god could cast on him?"
True, of course was our protagonist—she’s the person who figured out the plot. I never have problems with her, and I just want her to succeed happiness. Aha, that scene when she gets a cell phone for the first time was absolutely hilarious.

Romance, passion, funniness and sexiness, this book had it all. It’s a very simple read that you don’t end up having any large thoughts about, and you’ll feel like you need to grab the last book right away. The romance was absolutely worth fighting and reading for, and what we were left with were a few mishaps with the characters, specifically Peter and Claudia. If you adored the first book as much as I did, then I’d say to go and grab this one right away, and pre-order the last book as well. :)

Top Ten Tuesday #26: Top Ten Books I'd Read If I Had a Book Club

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 8 comments

-Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Broke and Bookish
where bloggers can share bookish lists with their viewers.-

Top Ten Books I'd Read If I Had a Book Club

I've always wanted to join one of those book clubs, but sadly I don't actually know a lot of people who read who live around me... so it's impossible. But it's always awesome to join one on Goodreads, right? Here are my top picks that I'd read if I did have a book club myself! (Click on the cover for the Goodreads link!)

1.  The Young Elites, by Marie Lu

This seems like one of those fantasy novels that everyone needs to read. I really, really adored it and every single person needs to discuss it because it was so addicting.

2.   My Beautiful Failure, by Janet Ruth Young

The romance was booming, and the message was so clear and unique at the same time. A suicide hotline worker? This is something unique and different from everything I've read.

3.    Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

This is one of the most AMAZING contemporary psychological-thrillers I've read to date. Its message definitely seems like something you'll need to discuss with your friends.

4.    Criminal, by Terra Elan McVoy

What happens when you're a criminal and you don't even know it until later? Yep, this is what happens.

5.    What Happens Next, by Colleen Clayton

I've just realized that I've used this in so many Top Ten Tuesdays before, but it certainly was amazing and needs more attention. It deals with such modern but scary issues that more people need to become aware of.

6.     Ignite, by Lily Paradis

Yeah, this one's adorable but captivating. Who doesn't want to squeal about a romance with their friends?

7.    Dangerous Boys, by Abigail Haas

YES. Dangerous Boys was awesome, and when there's a ton of plot twists, you definitely feel in the mood to freak. I want all of my friends to read this one day, haha.

8.    Far From You, by Tess Sharpe

This was everything I wanted and more. It also was packed with plot twists and issues: depression, friendship and obsession. What else?

9.    If You Could Be Mine, by Sara Farizan 

This was actually one of the first LGBT books I've ever read to date, and it was stitched with diversity and uniqueness. #YANEEDSDIVERSITY

10.    The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson

PTSD, PEOPLE. It got me needing tissues and well, there were broken characters. This also became one of the best books of 2014 for me!
What books would you choose to read
in your book club or if you had one?

Playlist for the Dead, by Michelle Falkoff ARC Review

Monday, 26 January 2015 2 comments
Playlist for the Dead, by Michelle Falkoff
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Suicide
Publication: January 27, 2015, by HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.
As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

 I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher two years ago—and it still remains as one of my most favourite books ever. Playlist for the Dead was definitely a reminder of it, but it was more unique and involved so much friendship and subjects that I adore to read about.

“If she kept kissing me like that, I imagined, maybe the other stuff wouldn't matter so much. But I felt guilty even thinking it.”
It all began with a deep sleeper, a bottle of alcohol, and an empty bottle of pills. In every contemporary book like this, it all happens differently. Hayden did it fast and in a furious matter. He was stressed, depressed, and didn't have any friends except for Sam. Sam feels the same way—except it didn’t happen to him. Sam’s the one who found Hayden, his best friend—dead. What he found on a desk was a note addressed to him with a playlist supposedly explaining his death and reasons why.

This was honestly such a simple contemporary story that was filled and turned into something so powerful and meaningful. We went through so many different issues throughout: friendship, stress, anxiety—the issues of teenagers today. I found that it was probably so easy to relate to for many people, as I was fascinated by it all. Suicide is something that happens more frequently today, and we should become more aware of it and the facts that go with it. This was something that went through the dark sides of it, and showed the reason why between the relatable characters created by Falkoff.

"There was no reason for the bottle to be there. Unless he'd been even more bent out of shape than I realized; he could easily have taken it out of his dad's liquor cabinet when he got home."

From all that I read so far this whole year, this was probably the most quickest book to read. Although there are so many feelings meant to have felt, the time that I took reading was only about an hour and a half of sadness and sorrow in the point of view of Sam. The plot went by in a fast-paced manner and I couldn't stop reading. It was like a virtual playlist was forming in my head with all of the things I loved about the book.

What I had a little trouble with was the fact that I lost some sense of emotion through the middle of the book. I felt a little disconnected from the story and its characters. But after the thing with Astrid happened, I finally got it. She changed the story, with a predictable but okay ending. 

My favourite thing was probably the characters—especially Sam. I AM TOTALLY SUPPORTING MALE PROTAGONISTS. This dude was totally kick-ass and into it all, especially to figure out what's happening in his life and to figure out his friendship between him and Hayden. 

"Apparently it was only in the movies that you could just go in and figure out someone's password. Especially if you're a regular person like me and not some computer genius. I guessed Hayden would still be able to keep his secrets from me. Just like before."

The ending came and went. It seemed like Sam moved on and tried to forget, but I can definitely say that he wanted to keep Hayden in his heart. Astrid basically ruined it all and got things worse, but he still kept positive and tried to move on and try to stay away from the negativity. I was really scared that something would happen to him with depression.

This was a real refreshment for this genre—as I have been definitely finding a weakling in the rest of the contemporary-depression books. I loved Sam and his story, and the feelings that this gave me, despite the boring moments in between. If you're looking for a book that will rock you and your mind and will leave you sitting there, asking for your own personal playlist.

*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!*