Always and Forever, Lara Jean, by Jenny Han // A Gorgeous End to the Trilogy!

Monday, 21 August 2017 0 comments
Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #3), by Jenny Han
Publication: May 2, 2017, by Simon and Schuster BFYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 325
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: 

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.
Life couldn’t be more perfect!
At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.
Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My Thoughts:

I’ve been dreading to write this review, mostly because I am physically unable to let go of it all. I cannot, cannot, CANNOT leave Lara Jean and all of her glory behind in my bookshelf for someone else to explore. I mean, YEAH, I’ll recommend this trilogy to my friends, explaining that I have almost given all of Jenny Han’s books a five star rating, but my emotions are currently all over the place, thanks to this gorgeous finale. Always and Forever, Lara Jean is a book that wasn’t supposed to exist, according to the lovely Ms. Han, but she kept feeling that something was missing, that we Lara Jean fans needed more closure. And I’m telling you, this provided lots of closure. *But not nearly enough for my poor, broken heart!*

“Peter is my cocoa in a cup, my red mittens, my Christmas morning feeling.”

THIS BOOK IS MY CHRISTMAS MORNING FEELING. I honestly do not remember the last time a book made me feel this way, made me obsess continuously to the point that I could identify myself as a freaked-out fangirl. This finale means so much to me because I could relate to it; I am currently approaching similar events that Lara Jean, in this story, was dealing with, like university applications and discovering what we would like to do with our lives. I grew up with this series, and so many things have occurred in my life in between the releases of all of the novels, and the ending was extra special because of that.


This finale is about Lara Jean basically trying to configure what is going to happen to her relationship with the amazing Peter. Everything seems perfect, and her life is progressing in the way she wants it to, but suddenly, so many surprises pop up in her life, and Han just writes about it all in the best way ever. I feel that she knows her character and protagonist, Lara Jean, so well, that this seems so valid… so true. Lara Jean begins to rethink about wear she belongs, how she and Peter will be able to be together amidst all of the drama that surrounds them.

And let’s just talk about how Lara Jean and her sisters’ relationships bloom here. As if they couldn’t progress and bloom even more, right? They all begin to understand each other as they are growing older, dealing with new situations, seeing that their father is moving on after their mother’s death. My heart just fluttered throughout the whole journey. I LOVE, NO ADORE, KITTY AND MARGOT.

“I’ve heard people say you meet your best friends in college, and they’re the ones you’ll know your whole life, but I’m certain that I’ll know Chris my whole life too. I’m a person who saves things. I’ll hold on forever.”

NOW — I guess you’ve figured out that I love Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship SINCE I fangirl too much about this series as a whole. I wasn’t too much of the BIGGEST fan of Peter’s in the past two novels, but because of his caring for Lara Jean and how MUCH their relationship has progressed in this novel, I am officially in love with him. PLEASE FIND PETER FOR ME. NOT ANY PETER, BUT THIS PETER. Thank you very much. *winks* But jokes aside, the two’s chemistry is unbelievable. I love how their relationship is not JUST about the physical aspects of falling in love, but about emotions and talking to each other like important individuals. Sometimes, books tend to get a little too much about sexuality instead of the real aspects of romance, and this was it.








BUY THIS WHOLE SERIES AND SIT ON A COMFY COUCH AND READ ALL OF THE BOOKS. You won’t regret it. Even if you’re the last person who would read a contemporary romance, DON’T HESITATE TO PICK THIS UP. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

What is your favourite book finale?

The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns // A Book That Redeemed Itself Midway!

Thursday, 3 August 2017 0 comments
The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen, by Catherine Lloyd Burns
Publication: August 22, 2017, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 176
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: 

Cricket Cohen isn’t a liar, but she doesn’t always tell the exact truth. She loves thinking about geology and astronomy and performing tricky brain surgery on her stuffed animals. She also loves conspiring with Dodo, her feisty grandmother who lives in the apartment right next door. And one Manhattan weekend when she’s in hot water with her teacher and her controlling parents over a fanciful memoir essay, Cricket goes along with Dodo’s questionable decision to hit the bricks. Imagining all sorts of escapades, Cricket is happy to leave home behind. But on a crosstown adventure with an elderly woman who has her own habit of mixing truth and fantasy, some hard realities may start to get in the way of all the fun.

My Thoughts:

The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen was really enjoyable and a book that looked so promising. It was memorable, and although the beginning was slow (and a bit confusing), every aspect of it was fabulous... practically.

DODO (Cricket's grandmother) WAS LIFE. I loved her. She was a rich, flirty granny who was a diff. character than we see in most middle grade books. It's so nice to see family relationships build in this book, and I can only help but WISH and BEG that many middle-grade books that are coming out will be the same. Same as in similar relationships. Cricket, our main character, on the other hand, was a responsible kid who just made me smile. I loved how she was just so honest with her grandma. Of course, what made me mad were the white lies Cricket made, but that was intentional as the whole story revolved around these lies. It was a book that can teach all of us something valuable for life. I can imagine the impact it can have on kids. 

This was promising, however it was extremely boring in the beginning - it was slow, not getting anywhere, especially with the fact that she started going to surf camp which didn't really make sense. It seemed as if it was just filler, and too much for me to comprehend. There were characters introduced who were so random and it was too much. But after, the book redeemed itself. 

The story as a whole was just hilarious. I truly loved Dodo and Cricket together The adventures they got into were THE BEST. DYNAMIC DUO FOREVER. You cannot even imagine how much I appreciate their relationship. It brightened up my day! 

CRICKET AS A WHOLE: she has insecurities and she's so real. You can feel the desperation in her voice as she tried to be someone else - but Dodo helped her realize that her real self is better than her "memoir" self. Cricket had a better connection with her grandma than her own mother, and it kind of is sad, but happy at the same time. It's important for people to have connections with their extended family as well. 






Even though The Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen wasn't amusing in the beginning, I still really enjoyed this humorous and lesson-teaching (of kindness towards your family) story.  

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

What is the best relationship you have read about in a middle-grade book?

Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin // An Adorable Middle-Grade Read!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017 0 comments
Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure (Missy Piggle-Wiggle #1), by Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell
Publication: September 6, 2016, by Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: 

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has gone away unexpectedly and left her niece, Missy Piggle-Wiggle, in charge of the Upside-Down House and the beloved animals who live there: Lester the pig, Wag the dog, and Penelope the parrot, among others. Families in town soon realize that like her great-aunt, Missy Piggle-Wiggle has inventive cures for all sorts of childhood (mis)behavior: The Whatever Cure and the Just-a-Minute Cure, for instance. What is a stressed out parent to do? Why, call Missy Piggle-Wiggle, of course!
New York Times-bestselling author Ann Martin brings her signature warmth and comic genius to a new character. And artist Ben Hatke brings it all to life!

My Thoughts:

Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure was a lovely middle-grade read that was so refreshing. It was different than everything I normally read, especially because I really do not pick up fantasy children's stories as I am always afraid that I will be put face-to-face with a Harry Potter wannabe story. (Sorry to all of you Harry Potter fans. It's just not my kind of read.) However, I have always been a fan of Ann M. Martin's books (she stole my heart with her Babysitters Club series) so I was hyped up to pick this up. It's been a long time since I received this in the mail, but I am SO glad I enjoyed it. This is a fun, adorable story that has that kind of cute vibe to it. It just warmed my heart and reminded me of the kind of books I always wanted to read when I was a kid.

SO. What is this book (with a weird title) truly about? Our protagonist, Missy-Piggle-Wiggle, lives in her aunt's house, since her aunt is trying to find where her husband is after he was abducted by pirates. This introduces us to a magical world, which I appreciated so much! My head was spinning with this imagery, so I can imagine what kids will go through when they read this lovely story. All of the children's parents in their town know about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's magical skills to cure annoying habits (of the kids, obviously). Thinking that Missy didn't know how to perform the magical "work," the parents became worried as she was their only hope. Eventually, they figured out that she has the same skills as her aunt, so they took their problematic children to Missy. This is the story about the various journeys everyone encountered involving Missy's skills. In fact, it is a lovely story.

I really appreciated the characters that Martin created — as always. We have a huge pack of characters in Missy Piggle-Wiggle's world that are both humans and animals and even... houses. My favourite was Melody, from all of the characters. She's a bookworm (like me) and shy, showing that characters that are kids don't have to be perfect and loud and have a full HUGE personality. She had her own kind of magic in her character, which I really appreciated. Missy Piggle-Wiggle as a protagonist was just so cute - I think children would find her to be a great role model as she fixes situations and is just a positive influence. NOW - if you look at the cover of this book, would you expect a moving, listening house to be a character? I know I wouldn't, but this is what happened! That was really creative and interesting. I can honestly say that everything about this book was entertaining - the parents were (who were so anxious that it became hilarious) and the adorable animals like Lester the Pig (who acted like Missy's personal butler) and Wag the Dog! AH. IT'S SO CUTE!

As for the plot, the beginning was kind of slow for character development (in order for Martin to introduce the characters aside from the weird talking house). However, it was never boring - it was action-packed and fun, and I didn't want it to be over. Another flaw was the ending, which was kind of upsetting. But hey - there's a sequel which I will be reading, so I guess there'll be a continuation there!






Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure was really enjoyable - I was never bored and I was entertained. If we can only cure the 2017 kids like that! (CURE THE DAB AND THE FIDGET SPINNERS!)

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

What is your favourite fantasy children's read?

I'm Still Here by Clelie Avit // A Lyrical, Gorgeous, Emotional Read

Tuesday, 1 August 2017 0 comments
I'm Still Here (Je Suis La), by ClĂ©lie Avit
Publication: August 23, 2016, by Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

A modern take on Sleeping Beauty, for fans of Jojo Moyes.
Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.
That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.
As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late?

My Thoughts:

Have you ever read a literal masterpiece? Perhaps a book that made you feel so many emotions... all in one sitting? A book that you are not able to get out of your mind? I'm Still Here is that book. Clelie Avit is a fantastic writer who has mastered the art of literature with this story involving two gorgeous characters who somehow fall in love without really knowing each other. This is not about a random case of love at first sight. It is a memorable read that stunned me from the first page. At first, I expected it to be a knockoff "adult" version of Gayle Forman's If I Stay, however it was different. It focused on two individuals who did not know each other before their initial "meeting" in Elsa's hospital room. I found this to be extremely poetic and lyrical. 

This novel has been sitting on my shelves for ages until I decided that I have been waiting too long. I NEEDED TO READ THIS. What also captured my attention was the fact that this is also a translated story (from French) and a retelling of Sleeping Beauty! I mean - I didn't see the retelling 100% (no fairy godmothers, my friends) but it was cute to see something like this come alive. We constantly see stories that are retellings of Cinderella, but this is something new and interesting. I swear I will read anything that Clelie Avit writes.


This is about a woman named Elsa who has a passion for mountain climbing. One day, she falls and injures herself, barely making it alive (her friend ended up saving her) and she is put into a medically-induced coma. No one around her has hope that she will make it. Our other protagonist, Thibault, has recently been broken-hearted by his girlfriend, and to mix everything else together, his brother is in the hospital after getting in a crash, killing (two, I'm pretty sure) young girls because he was drunk. The two characters suddenly meet, and it was extremely unexpected. Thibault begins to spend lots of time with Elsa, talking to her as if she were right there with him.

Would I really be able to call this a romance novel? I'm not quite sure. But it was magical and I felt like it was so real. You know how some books are so cheesy and unbelievable that you just read it feeling like it is just so disappointing? This was not it. Although it is like a 1 in a million chance for this kind of love story to evolve in someone's life, it was so believable and beautiful. I loved both of their characters and how their struggles mingled together. Everything fitted so perfectly.







I'm Still Here made me squeal, laugh and tear up, all in the same sitting. It is amazingly written and I recommend it to all people. Get ready to gain a fondness for romance stories!

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

What is the last translated story you have read?

Trapped in Iran: A Mother's Desperate Journey to Freedom by Samieh Hezari and Kaylene Petersen

Monday, 31 July 2017 0 comments
Trapped in Iran: A Mother's Desperate Journey to Freedom, by Samieh Hezari and Kaylene Petersen
Publication: August 21, 2016, by Indiana University Press
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 216
Format: ARC
Source: BEA/Publisher
Rating: ½

In 2009, Samieh Hezari made a terrible mistake. She flew from her adopted home of Ireland to her birthplace in Iran so her 14-month-old daughter, Rojha, could be introduced to the child's father. When the violent and unstable father refused to allow his daughter to leave and demanded that Samieh renew their relationship, a two-week holiday became a desperate five-year battle to get her daughter out of Iran. If Samieh could not do so before Rojha turned seven, the father could take sole custody--forever. The father's harassment and threats intensified, eventually resulting in an allegation of adultery that was punishable by stoning, but Samieh--a single mother trapped in a country she saw as restricting the freedom and future of her daughter--never gave up, gaining inspiration from other Iranian women facing similar situations. As both the trial for adultery and her daughter's seventh birthday loomed the Irish government was unable to help, leaving Samieh to attempt multiple illegal escapes in an unforgettable, epic journey to freedom. Trapped in Iran is the harrowing and emotionally gripping story of how a mother defied a man and a country to win freedom for her daughter.

My Thoughts:

Trapped in Iran by the phenomenal Samieh Hezari is phenomenal. It's a read that definitely requires a lot of patience and strength since it is based on a tough, sad subject. I am obsessed with books that are about the things a person will do to save their children. There was a movie that I watched like year, Not Without My Daughter, which is so similar to this — which made me realize that the Iranian Revolution is such a powerful topic that I need to read more about. Samieh Hezari's story needs more popularity; more people who are able to fall in love with all of this.

This is a story that is so jam-packed that I couldn't believe it. It just seems as good as any movie's plot. However, it was all real, and I was able to feel the deepness and emotion in every word Samieh wrote. I was fortunate to meet her at BookExpo America in 2016, however I had not learned much about her story at that moment so I was only able to pity her a little. Now? I understand all of the struggles she faced and I can see why she felt like she needed to release this story and share it with the world. 



Trapped in Iran is brilliant. It is about a mother's struggle in saving her daughter and herself from the harmful Islamic regime which does not grant women any right to support her children if the father does not allow it. Men have a greater importance, and it kills me to see that this journey of Samieh's only occurred a few years ago. Not Without My Daughter, the famous film, occurred decades ago (with the film arising soon after), but this? This is recent. This is so heartbreaking.

In the beginning of the book, I was frustrated with Samieh's situation to the extent that I wondered why she didn't do anything else. It got me a little upset here and there, definitely affecting my rating. Everything eventually made so much sense and I was able to see desperation in Samieh's writing. My experience of reading this book was fabulous to the point that it took me two sittings to read. If I read this in one sitting, I would have had to stay up all night, indulging in the gorgeous writing and brilliant story. I spent the whole time through crossing my fingers and praying that everything will be alright in the end. But like many instances in life, it is not about the outcome or the ending, but about the journey in between.







This is an emotional roller coaster. You get hooked on it instantly, and as the plot moves forward, you become so obsessed with the story that you NEED to know what is going to happen. PLEASE BUY IT ASAP. 

*A review copy was provided by the publisher via BookExpo America in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*


What is the last emotional book you read?

Invincible Summer by Alice Adams // DNFed. Ugh.

Friday, 21 July 2017 0 comments
Invincible Summer, by Alice Adams
Publication: June 28, 2016, by Little Brown and Company
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 308
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: 

Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey.Inseparable throughout college, Eva, Benedict, Sylvie, and Lucien graduate in 1997, into an exhilarating world on the brink of a new millennium. Hopelessly in love with playboy Lucien and eager to shrug off the socialist politics of her upbringing, Eva breaks away to work for a big bank. Benedict, a budding scientist who's pined for Eva for years, stays on to complete his PhD in physics, devoting his life to chasing particles as elusive as the object of his affection. Siblings Sylvie and Lucien, never much inclined toward mortgages or monogamy, pursue more bohemian existences-she as an aspiring artist and he as a club promoter and professional partyer. But as their twenties give way to their thirties, the group struggles to navigate their thwarted dreams. Scattered across Europe and no longer convinced they are truly the masters of their fates, the once close-knit friends find themselves filled with longing for their youth- and for one another. Broken hearts and broken careers draw the foursome together again, but in ways they never could have imagined.
A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.

My Thoughts:

DNF @ 60 pages

I had extremely high hopes for Alice Adams' Invincible Summer. I expected a read that would be the perfect beach and summer story that would never leave my head. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the story, even though it took me over a year to actually pick it up. I must admit that I'm a sucker for friendship stories, and what's better than reading a story about a group of friends who are continuing their friendships (romantic or not) after college? The 90s setting also captivated me, and I heard many good things about the progression of the story, showcasing how the characters' lives change throughout.

However, once I began reading, I was the opposite of captivated or intrigued. This was just plain boring and meaningless. I found that I wasn't able to form a connection with any of the characters - even though they were supposed to act a little more mature because of their age (they are adults, away from their college years, come on!), they were too crazy. This seemed like a teenage romance novel gone wrong. I love YA, and I find that there are thousands of books that have left a major impact on me instead of this... catastrophe. I just didn't enjoy it.

I gave up on reading it at sixty pages because I couldn't care less about what was going to happen. It was just nothing special, and I really am now looking for adult books that are cute and heartwarming... featuring a nice set of characters. This lacked all of that and more.






Meh. Invincible Summer has ruined the summer I was supposed to call invincible. Okay, I'm over-exaggerating, but it was an unimpressive read that I don't recommend. *cringes a little*

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

What is the last book you DNFed?

Popular by Maya Van Wagenen // The Cutest Memoir Ever!

Thursday, 20 July 2017 0 comments
Popular: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence, by Maya Van Wagenen
Publication: April 21, 2015, by Speak
Genre: Memoir, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: 

Stuck near the bottom of the social ladder at “pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya has never been popular. But before starting eighth grade, she decides to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell.

The real-life results are hilarious, painful, and filled with unexpected surprises. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence, along with a better understanding of what it means to be popular.

My Thoughts:

Popular by the fabulous, inspirational Maya Van Wagenen is just a beautiful memoir. I wish that someone handed this story to me when I was in eighth grade, struggling with friendships and being a newly-turned teenager. This is the realest an inspirational story can get, and I loved it. Maya's input of her personal struggles and story was absolutely amazing, and I am begging all of you to read this and see what is making the whole world fall in love with her writing. 

Maya is quite similar to me and she faced similar struggles as I did as a tween so this was really heartfelt. She is also such an AMAZING writer, making her story feel so organized and captivating. You can feel the passion she has of writing throughout the story as she explains each and every one of the important details of her life. The whole book was so easy to read as I knew that it is all opinionated. Maya just has a real voice and I loved reading about her and her uniqueness. She was inspired by Betty Cornell, a former model who wrote a book about how to become popular, and the fact that Maya followed all of Betty's recommendations proves the uniqueness of this "popular project" after all.

If you're looking for a quick read, GRAB THIS. Even if you did not struggle with many issues involving popularity as a child, you'll still find something relatable in Maya's story. Her writing is light, special and meaningful. I can now label this as the CUTEST MEMOIR EVER. I haven't felt this happy and excited with a memoir/autobiography for a long time. This shows you something.






Popular is actually a really POPULAR memoir, and I can totally see why. (See what I did there?!) Anyone will find something they enjoy here. I cannot wait to see what Maya Van Wagenen has in store for us readers!

What is your favourite memoir?