Top Ten Tuesday #34: Top Books I Recently Added to My TBR List

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 2 comments

-Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme created by Broke and Bookish,
where readers can feature bookish lists.-

Top Books I Recently Added to My TBR List

If you're friends with me on Goodreads, then you'll know that I'm constantly on it, adding a million books into my TBR list and reviewing and liking statuses and all of that. I'm a maniac and it's one of my favourite and most-used websites. Here are the most recent ones I added!

1. The Martian by Andy Weir

THIS LOOKS SO GOOD. And I feel that everyone's been talking about it, and well my insides are shaking of happiness and excitement.

2. A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery

MMMM YUMMY. This cover is so beautiful I'm dying on the inside! Avery is a really great author and I'm curious to see how this will end up.

3. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I better sneak this one into my hands at BEA or else I'll literally freak! It's such a unique concept and I've never read anything else like it.

4. After We Collided by Anna Todd

I adored After, and I WANT THIS ONE ASAP. Like really, throw me into a bookstore and this will be the first book I'll look for. ;)

5. Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Road-trip awesomeness. I love road-trip books and this will give me a jump to the summer!

6. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I've read everything this magnificent author has ever written... except this book. I NEED IT. AGH.

7. 21 Stolen Kisses by Lauren Blakely

S-O-C-U-T-E. MWAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. I want it, I want it, I love it!

8. Resonance by Erica O'Rourke

As you may know, Dissonance was my favourite book of 2014, AND THIS BEAUTY IS COMING OUT! WOOT. Though I wish that it had a nicer cover.

9. Zeroes by Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Scott Westerfield is awesome. This is going to be astonishing, as always.

10. How to Win at High School by Owen Matthews 

A story about high school... YAY.

What books have you recently added into your TBR list?

Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney Review

Monday, 30 March 2015 2 comments
Never Have I Ever: My Life (SO FAR) Without a Date, by Katie Heaney
Publication: January 14, 2014, by Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Non-fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Memoir
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: ½

So begins Katie Heaney's memoir of her years spent looking for love, but never quite finding it. By age 25, equipped with a college degree, a load of friends, and a happy family life, she still has never had a boyfriend ... and she's barely even been on a second date.
Throughout this laugh-out-loud funny book, you will meet Katie's loyal group of girlfriends, including flirtatious and outgoing Rylee, the wild child to Katie's shrinking violet, as well as a whole roster of Katie's ill-fated crushes. And you will get to know Katie herself -- a smart, modern heroine relaying truths about everything from the subtleties of a Facebook message exchange to the fact that "Everybody who works in a coffee shop is at least a little bit hot."
Funny, relatable, and inspiring, this is a memoir for anyone who has ever struggled to find love, but has also had a lot of fun in the process. 
Memoirs are hard to find. I mean, you can obviously find one, but not any good ones that you are able to really feel to heart. Sure, you're able to read a life story of someone's, but it'll never be the same if it actually touches your heart. With Never Have I Ever, Katie Heaney has taken my heart and got me thinking about the real meaning of love and what it's like to take things s l o w.

What's the best thing that I saw throughout this novel was that Heaney didn't care to talk about love all the time. Guess what? If she did, I would actually would question the real point of the book. And here, I feel that the author was strong and favourable with her situation of being man-less or without desperation, which was another one of the things that I loved about her. Was she desperate to get a boyfriend or kiss a guy? Absolutely not. Heaney's voice was one that anyone is able to relate to, teenager or adult. She's hilarious and states the truth and what people don't seem to believe that comes from a modern day world like ours. She tried to find love, and she's still looking for it. Sure, readers were expecting one of those happy endings where everyone wanted her to find the right guy and get married with him, or even we expected that for her best friend to... but major S P O I L E R, she didn't. *chuckles* And that's perfectly okay. 

I can honestly state a summary of this whole memoir in one sentence, as it's pretty simple with loads of detail throughout. I can't even get going onto how her childhood went and how she evolved into an adult, because there were so many small details that actually had contributed A BUNCH. But mainly, Katie is someone who is loveless but feels happy with it all the time—though she's never gone on a second date or kissed a guy in a while. 

This is Katie's story about her true awesomeness as a person and what kind of influence people like her have on the world. That was the main message, and it left me wanting more. She's such a witty, bright person with all of the confidence in the world, but doesn't take it out like she's looking for attention or wants people to feel bad for her and her situation. Yeah, she's seen people she used to know with children, but does it bother her? Absolutely not, and her attitude is what stays by me. 

And guess what I'm planning on doing now?

Yes, going on to Buzzfeed as it has already been my favourite news website for more than a year and where I check on my NEWS of the day, every few hours and take their quizzes. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT KATIE IS AN EDITOR? Yeah, and she's obsessed with writing quizzes about zodiac signs. THE COOLEST PERSON ON EARTH.

Anyways, she's awesome and I love her and her personality. *smiles* But in the end, this book wasn't perfect either, as all you've heard so far is just positive stuff. What I wasn't such a huge fan of was the plot at times and the surroundings characters. The way Heaney had described them was... poorly. Yes, she's a fantastic writer, but a lot of the detail was missed and the story lacked someone who can give the story a bunch into awesomeness. 

Well... This was a very interesting read. I spent a quick time going through it and enjoyed it very much, especially because it was something unlike I usually read and decide to go for. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy chick-lit, with a larger sense of realism. Heaney is a satisfying writer who will do anything to let her story be seen into the world, with some achievement felt. Never have I ever... Read a book like this!

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

Sunday, 29 March 2015 2 comments
The Cemetery Boys, by Heather Brewer
Publication: March 30, 2015, by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Paranormal
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.
Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.
Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

I felt like I just got burned. Heather Brewer has stunned me with an electrifying novel set in the POV of a reckless teenage boy who's about to discover the secrets behind a creepy town. For real, I just can't believe what I've read, as it's surely one of the best books I've read in 2015, with creepiness and absurdity to the fullest extent.

"But that's where he was wrong. I didn't need distance. I just wanted to feel normal again. The way I had before Mom started rambling about monsters. Before we'd had to have her medicated and locked away, so she wouldn't hurt herself... or us."
You see, I've always wanted to live in a small town. Having to live in a town where everyone knows each other and the 'town gossip' is always flying around with some new crazy rumours about you and your family is the coolest. And living on a farm? That's totally even better and more worthy of a great novel setting. Of course as the cliché goes, small-towns can be the most scariest places to live. Doesn't it suck when you just move to one and you already feel that you don't fit in, and adding to that there are some secrets about the past and its people?

That was definitely coming from Stephen’s situation in this book. His story is pretty basic, but I can tell you that things get worse when they’re supposed to get better. Stephen and his father leave their home in Denver and move into a small-town with only 814 people in Michigan. When they arrive, Stephen already hates the situation and longs for his mother who’s in a mental hospital back home where she rants about “monsters.” When he meets Cara and Devon, two twin siblings coming from a frantic house with their strange mother, his world is turned all around as he falls in love with Cara and is brought to participate in Devon’s wicked games and the stunts that he and his friends perform. Soon after, rumours of some winged creatures are brought about, and things get even worse to a breathtaking ending.

“From the time I was four until I turned eight years old, I was terrified of dead ends. I’d somehow convinced myself that whenever you saw those signs they were warnings. Of the horrors that awaited you at the end of those roads, those streets. Of monsters. but there were no monsters here. Just me and Cara.”

I had mixed feelings when flipping onto the first page here. You see, there are so many negative reviews throughout. I guess that I can say that I understand why, but THIS WAS TOO GOOD TO SAY BAD THINGS ON. The beginning was a little dull and confusing, but as we fast-forwarded into complete angst (which is a good thing in this situation) and romance, I was on a jetpack. There were a few comparisons that I saw through its rate of captivating me like Winter’s Bone. If this turned into a movie, it’d be a total weak bad movie that wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention, but as a book, it was perfect. Know what I mean?

Though many had not enjoyed the presence of Stephen’s protagonist role, I certainly did. Yes, he was lost and did many regrettable things, but that was the point. He learned from his mistakes, and by the end, he became confident and less depressed than who we learned him to be when we first met him. He made his own decisions, no? He rebelled against his father and grandmother as his personality sent him to go figure out what the hell is happening in his town and why he has to deal with it, especially since he never even heard of the place before his father brought him over. He was a protagonist like someone Stephen King would create, someone who’s willing to go out and take the risk because he’ll regret it later and will want to know the answer. He did things that he never would have done in the beginning, like fall in love with Cara, and drink to a hangover-mode. I personally loved him and some crush-feelings definitely built onto me as he was the perfect guy. 

Another point that I recognized immediately was that there weren’t a huge bunch of characters who were classified as “main.” Since this was taken from the POV of Stephen himself, we got a better connection and relationship with him as he’s pretty quiet to those around him. His father, Cara and Devon probably were the supporting main characters, and everyone else barely was there, though some had shredded important details onto us that we never paid attention to in the beginning. (HINT:  You’re all gonna burn!) DAMN WAS THIS A MYSTERY, which gets me to my next point…

A mystery like this with a mixed-in paranormal aspect is so, so COOL. I actually never saw the paranormal aspect coming, though the summary kind of got me thinking. What I liked was that no one had figured out the legend or secret until the middle half of the book, where we had been beginning to wonder where this book will take us and what is that spectacular ending that everyone’s talking about. Don’t lose your hope, or else you’ll lose a fantastic ending that we’ve all been waiting for!

What really left me shocked was the chemistry between Stephen and Cara. I loved that chick from the beginning, and Brewer made her someone who readers even felt that we could trust, until we got busted all over. Yeah, her brother was stupid as fuck and I hated him to death, but that definitely was the author’s intention. That make-out scene sure was heart-flipping, and I loved that Stephen took the nerve to kiss her in the beginning. At some points in books, I believe that it’s totally OK for the romance to start early, as teenagers are young, reckless and only drink “peachy fizzy drinks” just as Stephen explained.

"I watched water stream from the tips of Cara's hair and down her face. I was about to tell her she was beautiful, when she kissed me."

One can say that this book sucked, but I am begging you to go for this. It's more unexpected than the actual unexpected, and all of the plot twists made me feel so dull that I didn't see them coming. Face-palms were all over the place, as well as gorgeous romance, some paranormalcy (but nothing too major), friendship and a choking plot that left me drooling for more, after one sitting of one of the best books of the year. May your spring be even brighter with the beautiful piece of literature that I will never forget about!

Stacking the Shelves #34: March 29

This Week's Headlines:

I'M BAAAAAAAACK! And I have tons of stuff that I'd love to share with all of you! 

I came back from vacation Thursday night, and I was seriously drained. I actually didn't want to leave and come back home because I was having such of a fantastic time! I travelled tons and really got to know St. Maarten really well, including through its culture and all. Here's a pic!

Few of the resort from the top of the hill!

G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S, right? I even took a half-hour ferry ride and went to St. Barth's, the most beautiful place on Earth. No, it's even SO much better than St. Maarten. AND WELL, I ONLY COULD STAY ONE DAY AND DIDN'T EVEN GET TO GO SHOPPING BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY AT THE BEACHES! ;_; Here's an even-better photo of there!

Shell Beach, St. Barth's!

Yep, and now I'm stuck in -5 degrees weather. Boo hoo. At least there's NO snow and I'm able to walk around in sneakers! *throws winter coat away* While I was on vacation, I actually read 9 books, which isn't too many, but hey, there were some good ones! (With reviews coming up!)

  • After by Anna Todd (5 stars)
  • The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp (4.5 stars)
  • The End Games by T. Michael Martin (2 stars)
  • Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney (3.5 stars)
  • Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky (2.5 stars)
  • Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian (4 stars)
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (4 stars)
  • White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout (3 stars)
  • The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett (3.5 stars)

1 FIVE STAR, PEOPLE. AGHHHH! But whatever, I wanted to really read most of them for a long time!

Now here comes the biggest news that I want to share with y'all!


I got notified on FRIDAY and I was seriously about to bawl! I'm so excited and this is going to be the best thing ever. AGH I CAN'T WAIT! 57 more days, people!

My Book Haul:

Really, there weren't any bookstores, but I did get some ereads from Netgalley!

Weightless by Sarah Bannan: THIS LOOKS SO CUTE. Contemporaries are my favourite books at the moment, and hey, I'll be going for it soon!

Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt: Fairy-tale retellings rule. And I've heard mixed reviews on this one, so we'll have to see the outcome! 

If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz: Mmmm hmmm.. This looks like a tragic story by seeing the cover, and I guess that my prediction is correct! *CHEERS*

*Thank you so much St. Martin's Griffin, Bloomsbury Publishing and Algonquin Books for these pretties!*

Posts You May Have Missed:

Are you going to BEA in May? What are your
newest additions? Have you read any of mine?

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick Review

Saturday, 28 March 2015 0 comments
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Publication: June 24, 2014, by Touchstone
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating:  ½

Based on the Emmy Award winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Twenty-four-year-old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie's viewers. But not everything happens on-screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie's world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter's bar, and much more. Lizzie's private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents' unstable financial situation, her sister's budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.
Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.

Once upon a time, I was a dumb teenager. Just kidding, I still am. I actually did believe that this book was actually written by Lizzie Bennet, and that she's a real person who has that name. *laughs to self* But now I'm actually really inspired to head on to YouTube and watch the vlogs, as they sound hilarious and I loved the way the authors here described her adventures and the whole story. Also, how did I not realize that this was a modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice? Elizabeth Bennet? Darcy? I just thought that it was a coincidence, until I found it out in the middle, hah.

"It didn't work. Charlotte is gone. She walked away from her degree, from the videos, and from her best friend. I don't know what to do anymore."
My first thought after reading was that Lizzie is a clueless new-adult character who's struggling with the world, until the bright and fabulous ending. She's such a chick-lit character. To be honest, I strongly preferred the real Elizabeth Bennet in comparison to this one, but we're all equal and even here in terms of character-to-romance ways. Though this cannot compare to Jane Austen's classic, I'm afraid.

Lizzie Bennet is twenty four, and she's studying Communications at a university in California. For a project, she is recommended to begin vlogging about her life and the people around her, as she is a very bright and bubbly personality who viewers on YouTube will surely come to love. Though there's so many crazy stuff going on in her life, vlogging is one of the most important to her and she actually begins to love it eventually. In her life, she meets William Darcy, a guy who she immediately hates but who she feels a connection to. At the same time, there's so many things going on in her sisters' lives, with romance and friendship.

This was actually very cute. Unlike many other contemporaries that I've read lately, this was something new and I felt that it was a memoir, coming from Lizzie's heart where she's letting us into her life and everything that it holds and she told us all of her secrets. Looking at the fact that this is a diary, I felt that readers could perform a greater connection to Lizzie as it feels real, and that a diary dropped onto the floor of her university and I picked it up. Or maybe, you picked it up. It wasn't like this was a YouTube video or a conversation with her by the side of the road that you live on, it was an illusion and truly magical.

In ways, I guess that I can classify this as a young-adult or adult novel. There isn't anything explicit or dirty going on (at least not really) but the age of the characters and the actions that they choose to do can really tell you something about the way the authors feel about their characters that they've just made up and gave to readers. With Lizzie being the middle child and both of her other sisters falling in love except for herself, you can tell that it's all about the intentions.

Although we didn't completely see it, Lizzie was a very dramatic character. I saw, especially through her diary entries and not only the dialogue with the characters, that she was a little depressed and wanted all of the attention. I guess you can say that the drama that she creates has just given me another reason to dislike her character. But hey, she was the biggest problem where the other parts of the book were pretty interesting if you ask me. She wasn't sure what to do with her feelings for Darcy and George, as we knew that she didn't really have a lot of experience with guys. 

Can I just say that I HATE LIZZIE'S MOTHER? All she wants is $ and for her kids to get married. She really got on my nerves:

"'It in no way leads to me finding a husband, which is all you usually care about!' "Because husband or no, it's the first step!'"

The plot was a little boring and dull at times, but it didn't impact my rating too much. It's actually a book that you'll have to take a lot of time for to read and actually feel the emotions and retelling of, but it's pretty good. But, Darcy and Lizzie? CUUUTE. I love pissed-off guys who then realize how dumb they were and then fall in love with the girl that they're supposed to! *squeals*

Should you pick this pretty diary for yourself? Absolutely, especially if you loved The Rosie Project and every chick-lit book out there, including Jane Austen's. This was a great book, with a great storyline, concept and romance. Keep your mind away from the annoying protagonist, and you're good! 

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication: February 25, 2014, by Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Demons, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

One kiss could be the last. 
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 
But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

JLA's writing is my remedy to give me a good romance, I swear. As I've read three of her books so far, counting this one, I feel that I now know the kinds of good stuff that she writes... and then there's also the boring, more dull stuff like this one. White Hot Kiss could've been good, but I guess you have to be in the right mood at the right time to read something like this. Being on a vacation? Um, not so perfect as I wish it could've been.

"All I'd wanted to do was outline All Quiet on the Western Front tonight. Not almost devour a soul, nearly get killed, meet my very first Upper Level demon or watch a tattoo turn into an anaconda for chrissake. I glanced down at my empty hand. Or lose my phone. Crap."

This is like a demon joke-book. You know, it isn't so serious with all of these satanic terms where everyone is unsure of who is who and what is what. There's just a few types of demons that have different powers and that's pretty much it. As we know, JLA isn't an author who's prone to start confusing us with her magical skills of writing a novel, instead she can write a book in a genre that not-everyone enjoys as much as some others do. 

Layla, our protagonist here, is a half-demon half-gargoyle. She's an orphan, and when she was younger she was adopted by the Wardens, who are a gargoyle race who hunt demons and keep everyone in the world safe. You see, when Layla meets up with a demon named Roth, she realizes that she's more demon and evil than you'd expect her to be. And of course, she falls in love with Roth although her "foster brother" Zayne, has always been on her mind and he's beginning to show feelings for her. Um, cliché much? I felt JLA was trying to create some kind of TMI remake with a crew of demons (or Shadowhunters, if you look at Clare's demons) where they're fighting and trying to figure out who they are. And of course, the protagonist is stuck in a love-triangle situation where she doesn't know which guy to pick to be with. *smacks head because she can't make up her mind* 

"'A commercial copy?' He nodded. 'Yep, for the little Satanist wannabes out there. It's incomplete, obviously.'"

Looking at this concept again, demons are cool. Please don't get the wrong message and think that I'm some kind of hater, because I'm not. I actually wish that there would've been some more history to this and realism. The story wasn't believable, and that was a big point here especially since I wanted to feel the action scenes and imagine that a gargoyle was sitting on my roof, you know what I mean?

Looking at the characters, I had a connection to Layla. Yeah, she's a little awkward, but she was confident and would do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She's kickass and I guess that's just another reason why she had so many guys running after her. In a way, she's so much better than Lux's Katy.

The romance? Um, I didn't enjoy it so much to be honest. Roth and Layla aren't a good mix as I totally prefer ZAYNE. Roth is really bitchy in his own-little-way and definitely unlike Daemon. He's so confident (too confident) and he thinks that he can get a girl to touch his abs in the snap of his fingers. Together, they were similar in a way but I believe so because JLA made Roth know Layla's secrets which got them to spend more time together since Layla was curious to find out more about her mother and who she really is and all of that. Zayne didn't know much, but he was a total heartthrob and I fall for those softer guys.

My favourite couple was Sam and Stacey. AGHHHH! Okay, they were side characters and also Layla's two best friends, but I just love it when best friends fall in love and they were adorable as they both loved each other but didn't want to admit it until the end as Layla persuaded them both to. *squeals* Is it weird that I ended up liking them even more?

I expected JLA to make it much better. But hey, at least I gave a book with a different genre that she has written another try, and it pretty boring and not for me. There were some positives, as I liked the romance and some of the characters, but if something else was taken out, this may have been a DNF. If you don't like demon books but are willing to give one a try, you still shouldn't go for this one. Curiosity scares the cat, no? You'll be frightened and never want to give this author another try. SO DON'T DO THIS.