Online Book Tour | The Dark Divide by D.K. Stone [Review + Excerpt]

38340481

Title: The Dark Divide
Author: D. K. Stone
Publication: April 10th 2018 by Stonehouse Publishing
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Provided by the Author
ISBN: 9781988754048

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Waterton is a town with dark secrets, and after a summer of murder and mayhem, American ex-pat, Rich Evans, knows exactly how far people will go to hide them. Jobless after the fiery destruction of the hotel he once managed, Rich is charged with arson. Only one person, local mechanic Louise “Lou” Newman, believes in his innocence. But even Lou’s love and support can’t dispel the darkness that’s spreading through the community. Dead animals appear on porches, strangers threaten the safety of the locals, and a fingerprint from the fire is linked to a decades-old murder.

The lonely border town has a new danger: a murderer willing to do anything to protect a web of secrets that links them to the arson.

As the risk of jail or death increases, Rich turns to Lou for guidance and she finds herself in an impossible position. Lou has her own secrets! Does she protect the border town where she grew up, or side with the man she loves… even if it means she can never tell him the truth about herself?


review

I received a finished copy of this book from Danika Stone for The Dark Divide Online Book Tour. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
The Dark Divide is the sequel to Edge of Wild which unravels more and even darker secrets of the secluded town of Waterton. So guess who’s in for that ride. Me!
It has been a while since I’ve entered the world of Waterton and this time, the suspense is even more intense. The mystery that continues to unravels will get you invested in this series.
The immensely detailed world building in this book is so remarkable, that reading it is more that just imagining what is happening with Rich and Lou, it’s as if I’m actually in Waterton and the “eerie feel” that it gives off is the perfect mood setter. I love how the sequel tells us more about the town and it’s people, though not everything is told; the creepy town-creepy people vibe is just ever present right from Edge of Wild to The Dark Divide.
It’s not only the vivid narrative that is praise-worthy but also the characters in this book. Lou is someone that I liked right from book one but I started to get more attached to her in this one.  The inclusion of her abilities in the whole flow of the story is what I’m always looking forward every chapter. I can’t say the same for Rich but the relationship between them and how it’s developing could also be something I’ll be anticipating but right now, I’m on full thriller mode.
I can’t wait for the 3rd installment but for now, I highly recommend you read The Dark Divide. And if you also haven’t read Edge of Wild yet, you’re already missing out, so go, read away and isolate yourself in Waterton!
Rating:
4

excerpt

 

The Dark Divide
by D.K. Stone
Prologue: Ohio, 1970
The first hint of danger was a howl so distant, it was more a feeling than a sound.
Catherine’s laughter faded uncertainly. She looked up from the firelight to focus on the screen of trees that separated the knot of students from the regal red-brick bulk of Muskingum College.
“Did you hear something?” she asked.
The boy next to her lowered his harmonica. “What?”
“I… I’m not sure. A dog, maybe?”
Around the fire, conversations hushed as the jovial atmosphere of the protest changed between one breath and the next. Catherine’s gaze moved around the clearing. She took in her college friends—young men and women gathered around a fire the way they’d done any number of times since the start of the school year—and then returned to the screen of trees. Between the branches, she could see the lights of her dorm, the college a twinkling gem in the setting of New Concord. She gnawed the edge of her thumbnail. She shouldn’t be out here. Not really. If she walked back now, perhaps she could slip past the police patrol and get back to—
A howl broke the air.
“Police dogs!” someone shouted. “They’re coming for us!”
The group rose, abandoning the bonfire. Catherine struggled to follow, but her left foot had fallen asleep in the hours since they’d been in the woods. She took two uncertain steps and looked back across the flames. The woods between the college and her were no longer empty. Dots of light moved through the trees.
“Cath! Come on!”
Heart pounding, she forced herself into motion. Her leaden foot had cost Catherine time and with no firelight to guide her, she stumbled into the darkened forest, hands outstretched like a sleep-walker.
Up ragged slopes and down shallow valleys, the silhouettes of her friends disappeared into shadow, leaving her alone on the slope. Never an athlete, her speed was half theirs. A dog barked—closer now—and Catherine glanced back again. Flashlights bounced in the trees.
She rushed up the next hill. “Hold on!” she panted. “I’m coming!”
A lone figure paused at the top. “You need to hurry!”
An officer’s voice on the megaphone echoed from the distant campus: “…the use of deadly force permitted for those resisting arrest…” Catherine had seen the videos on television: Armed troops, the bodies of protesters in the street. She knew what those orders meant. Panicked, she half-fell, half-ran down the nearest slope, then started up the next. A terrified voice chattered in the back of her mind: They shot students at Kent State!
Branches tore her hair and slashed her face. She reached the top and squinted into the darkness. All but one of her friends was gone.
Catherine caught hold of a tree trunk. “W-wait!” she gasped. “I-I can’t—I can’t keep up with you!” Behind her, a dog barked. She spun. “No!” Her ankle twisted and she screamed and fell to her knees. A bouncing flashlight switched direction at the sound.
“Cath!”
Crying, she threw herself back into motion. She couldn’t see the officer yet, but she could hear him.
“Hurry, Cath! RUN!”
She ran and fell. Ran again. Unable to catch her breath, her vision swam. “I-I’m coming,” she choked. “I—I—”
Frantic barking broke her concentration. The dogs had picked up her scent! Winded, Catherine lost her footing. Her ankle twisted a second time and she tumbled down the hill, the world turning end over end as her screams echoed through the glade.
She hit the bottom with a thud.
“You okay?” a voice called, impossibly far away.
She tried to answer, but her lip was split and her mouth full of blood. Twigs bit through the palms of her hands. Confused, she clambered to her feet and wavered in place. She took two more unsteady steps.Was this the hill she’d fallen down? Or the next? She couldn’t seem to catch her breath. Couldn’t see where she was supposed to go.
“Cath, hold on! I’m coming to help you. Just wait and—”
A beam of light swung across her face.
“STOP!” a voice bellowed from the shadows.
Terrified, Catherine bolted.
The valley exploded with thunder. The sound threw her backward as a white firebrand of pain tore through her chest and back. Catherine tried to scream, but her voice was gone. She slumped to the ground. The pain separated her from the night, the darkness, and the figure of the man who strode forward, his flashlight bouncing between the trees. Her legs kicked one last time as the police officer reached her side.
“Jesus Christ,” he breathed. “She’s just a kid.”
In the forest behind him, a shadow moved.

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads
Advertisements

ARC Review | Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

33275690Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Publication: December 5th 2017 by Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781627799379
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

synopsis

When Claudia accidentally eavesdrops on the epic breakup of Paige and Iris, the it-couple at her school, she finds herself in hot water with prickly, difficult Iris. Thrown together against their will in the class production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, along with the goofiest, cutest boy Claudia has ever known, Iris and Claudia are in for an eye-opening senior year.

Smart, funny, and thoroughly, wonderfully flawed, Claudia navigates a world of intense friendships and tentative romance in Emma Mills’s Foolish Hearts, a young adult novel about expanding your horizons, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and accepting—and loving—people for who they really are.


review

I received an ARC of this book from Macmillan Publishers in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
When I picked up Foolish Hearts from my shelf, I didn’t have any idea of what it’s going to be about neither do I have read any of the author’s previous works, so, I wasn’t really expecting anything from it. I honestly picked it up just to have one less book to read on my TBR pile. But after reading this book, I will be adding 2 or more Emma Mills books on my list. I am seriously on a hunt for her books right now and I believe that says a lot on how this book captured my heart.
Foolish Hearts is a captivating book about friendship, family, falling in love and a whole lot more that’s to be discovered along the way. Even with a lot aspects dealt with in this book, the execution and how the story just flowed seamlessly blew me away.
I admit, I’m not the person to ask when it comes to contemporary reads about friendship since I’m just really the type who’s more into swoon-worthy reads, but Foolish Hearts managed to get me hooked from start to finish not only because it has both, but because of everything in it.
First, AWESOME CHARACTERS.
I love Claudia! She’s genuine and flawed and all that. She speaks her mind (sometimes without thinking), a bit sarcastic, and awkward most of that time. She represents a lot of us in some level which makes her extremely relatable and likeable and I just love her to bits! There were a lot of times where I just found myself in the same situation as Claudia.
“Hi, Claudia, I like your earrings.”
“Thanks. I like your shirt,” I say, because we are all wearing the same shirt. She doesn’t smile.
#wordvomit
Anyway, Claudia wasn’t the only one that made this book have awesome characters, of course. Every character in this book has a distinct voice that identifies each of them individually. Not a lot of books that I’ve read were able to give that much detail to the other characters but Foolish Hearts not only introduces its readers to the main character or the love interest but basically to everyone and you’ll  feel like you’re getting to know each of them personally.
Are you ready to put the ‘fun’ in Fall Fun Fest?” he says as I slap his palm.
I can at least put the ‘trip’ in ‘Triple F.‘ ” A pause. “By being clumsy, I mean. Not by, like, sharing drugs with the group.” Three sets of eyes are on me, and I can’t stop myself from talking. “I don’t have any drugs. In case you were worried. Or, in case you were. . . somehow expecting me to have drugs. . . .
Second is GREAT STORY-TELLING. The narration in this book is spot on. I just love it when the narration is very much transparent that the readers are not only able to read through the story but go beyond that. I honestly felt for Claudia, and Iris, and a lot of the other characters. Claudia’s monologue not only gave me a good laugh throughout this book, it was also the magnet that kept me turning page after page without realizing it.
It’s just easier to never start something than to have to see it end.
Third reason is MULTIPLE PLOT. Don’t get confused or be put off, it’s not like it’s confusing as it may seem but for a lack of better word, I just used “multiple plot”. Foolish Hearts is about Claudia and Iris’s friendship, it was also about Claudia’s cute romance with Gideon and it’s also about Claudia and Zoe and her family. It may seem like a lot of things to be in one story but it actually works, it REALLY works. Although different characters in different scenarios were involved, Ms. Mills made a way to somehow entwine each of them and make it relevant. It’s never just thrown in only to make a conflict  but it’s something that’s just waiting to happen and for me, that’s immaculate writing.
Foolish Hearts is a heart-warming book that shouldn’t be missed by anyone. This book deserves to be read and it’s definitely on top of my highly recommend list. I’m giving this book the easiest 5 stars ever.
Now back to my book hunt for Emma Mills books.
Rating:

5stars


whatiliked

  • Claudia – I mean, how can you not?? I literally literally wanted to be her. She’s witty, funny and amusing. She’s also downright relatable.
  • Family Dynamics – I love how Claudia’s family is ever present in this book. I also love how Gideon’s family (his mom and cutest sister) exists! The relationships in this book is just incomparable.
  • Gideon a.k.a. Benevolent Space Prince – One order of Gideon Prewitt over here please. He’s the perfect adorkable guy of my dreams. I’m honestly out of words but I guess you’ll just have to read the book!
  • Friendship – This book showed me the value of friendship, even in the smallest of things.

end

Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn

31145064Title: Wesley James Ruined My Life
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Publication: July 18th 2017 by Swoon Reads
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781250123732
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.


review
I received an ARC of this book from Macmillan Publishers in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Wesley James Ruined My Life is a contemporary paragon.  It’s cute, easy to read and fast-paced. Right from first chapters of this book, I could tell that it’s going to be an enjoyable read. I also can’t help but compare this book to some of Lauren Morrill’s books which are my contemporary go-to books! Indeed, it has the common trope we see in most YA contemps and I guess I could say that it isn’t something that I haven’t read before. But still, I managed to take delight in this quick read.
When the title said that Wesley ruined Quinn’s life, this got me thinking, what exactly did he do to Quinn? And why is she so keen on getting even with him? Turns out, Wesley, or so Quinn thinks, was responsible for her parents divorce. So what’s her big revenge? Get him fired. Okay, that appears to be a bit shallow. The story actually has a lot going on, Quinn’s dad and his gambling addiction, her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s, her dream trip to London and so on but it looks like that Quinn’s priority is getting her revenge on Wesley. With everything that’s happening in the story, it missed out on properly building up the characters. Yes, it’s a light story that you can easily pick up and read but instead of having a character to relate to, it doesn’t allow the readers to do so because we really didn’t get to know much about the characters. And one thing I noticed about this book is it reaches more on the younger readers. Either that or I’m really getting old. 😛
Although Wesley James Ruined My Life lacked in some aspects, I still enjoyed reading this, it was a fun and fluffy read, and if you’re up for a quick read, you should try this one.
Rating:

3h


whatiliked
  • Fast-paced – I picked up this book while I was on a book slump and I really felt accomplished when I finished reading this book. I’m glad the story didn’t really drag, it’s simple but still enjoyable.
  • Re-read worthy – I still can’t get over how quick I finished this book that I’m already thinking about re-reading it in the future. When I’m in a need of a breath of fresh contemporary air, this is definitely one of the books I’d pick up.

end

Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Discussion Post #1 |Are book blogs still relevant for book reviews?

discussion


You may be wondering why I’m even asking this question. It just started about a week ago when I came across a sign up form for a certain publisher’s ARC mailing list. There was a part in the form where it states that “you don’t need to have an official “blog” anymore to be a reviewer, but having social media presence definitely helps.” They then asked if I have accounts on certain social media platforms and my number of followers. Typical stuff publishers asks.
And that was when the question started to form in my head. Are book blogs still relevant for writing book reviews?
Honestly speaking this got me thinking hard if I’m still putting all my effort on the right platform. Sure, I talk about books on Twitter, I post Instagram photos of books I’m reading but, at the end of the day, I still put more effort when it comes to writing book reviews on my blog (which are also crossposted on Goodreads).
And what does “anymore” even mean? It appears to me that before, you have to have your own blog to be acknowledged as a reviewer by publishers, but now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I’m not generalizing and that just seem to be the preference of one or some publishers. But what do you think?
Maybe I just got a little confused when they used the word “anymore” which I took in a different way. Because if I don’t need to have a blog, where do they expect me to write my reviews for their books? Let’s say I really don’t have a blog but I’m on Twitter, do they expect me to write a review in 140 characters? Would that be enough as long as I have “social media presence”?
I guess things are really changing, and with the book community continuously growing bigger and bigger, it seems necessary to adjust to these changes. In all honesty, my greatest struggle is keeping up with my social media presence and that’s a huge part of blogging, we’re walking talking advertisements of the books we’re reviewing if you consider it. When I started blogging, I never really thought of these things cause I didn’t know about it. All I cared about was sharing my thoughts about the books I’m reading and that’s it. But today, I feel like I need to have people to actually listen to me and get them to read my review. Oh, the pressure. (I’m going a bit off-topic here, but I guess I found my next discussion post.)
So, going back to the main question, are book blogs still relevant?
I asked the question on Twitter and the results are below:
I can’t actually say the same for publishers but fellow book lovers who voted on the poll picked Goodreads as the most effective platform, and book blogs comes very close in second, followed by Instagram (Bookstagram) and Twitter respectively.
It was no surprise that Goodreads got the most votes for being the preferred platform for reading book reviews. That actually answers part of my question earlier, if I don’t have a blog, I can always post my reviews on Goodreads. But does it make personal book blogs irrelevant then?
I think otherwise.

Book Review | Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

31952703
Title: Words in Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Publication: June 6th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781101937648
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

synopsis
Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.


review
I received a finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Books like Words in Deep Blue are the reason why I really enjoy reading contemporary YA. First, you’re only looking for some refreshing light read but then it gives something more, something with greater depth. I admit, I was only after the giddy feeling I know this book would give me based on the synopsis. I’m a total sucker for swoon but this book is more than just a cute romance, it also deals with loss, grief and what comes after.
Rachel likes Henry, her best friend. Before she moves away with her family, she confesses her feelings in a letter to Henry but he never replied. A wild guess here is that the letter never really reached Henry. But, Rachel doesn’t know that. She assumes that Henry is just ignoring the fact. But even so, Henry is crazy in love with another girl, Amy, so there’s that. Rachel comes back to town, and guess what, Henry is still crazy in love with Amy even after she dumps him. Rachel says that she doesn’t have feeling for Henry anymore. And Henry thinks that Rachel changed a lot, she’s rude and shuts everyone out especially him.
Told in alternating POVs of Henry and Rachel, we see how everything unfolds before us in 2 different voices, with some in-between stories, told by an exchange of letters. The thing I noticed about Rachel and Henry is that they both love to suffer. I don’t mean literally but you see them stuck in a situation they’re most likely to suffer but still makes decision that results to even longer suffering. In Henry’s case, it’s Amy. His love for her is blind that even if it hurts, he’s still chasing after her, she’s literally stepping over his dignity but he still see’s her as a saint or something. I really want to hit him in the head sometimes. And with Rachel, it’s her feelings for Henry (obviously) and the loss of her brother, Cal. Instead of facing the reality of his death, Rachel keeps putting it behind and doesn’t really open it up to everyone.
The characters go through a whole lot in this book and it’s done in such a way I haven’t read before. The development is spot on, character and plot wise. I love the originality of having the Letter Library where people can leave messages in between the pages of a book. The side story of George, Henry’s sister, exchanging letters with a certain “Pytheas” is so endearing I wish they have they’re own book. But I guess their exchange would have been enough, I mean it was enough, it made me feel genuine emotions.
In totality, this book is more than just a love story it’s about the many things that makes a love story. Friends who would do anything for you, family that may be falling apart but are always there for you. And words.
“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”
Rating:
4

whatiliked
  • Diverse characters – With strong voices too! I love George, Martin, Lola, Cal… They seriously should have their own story. Although they were side characters, their
  • Quotes from the book and quotes the book quotes from other books – This story involves a lot of books, a huge part of the plot does. And it’s a total gem for book lovers! It mentions a lot of literary works and how it has been a part of someone’s life. I also liked the some quotes from the book.
“We are the books we read and the things we love.”
“The broken heart. You think you will die, but you just keep living, day after day after terrible day.”  ―Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
“The past is with me; the present is here. The future is unmapped and changeable. Ours for the imagining: spreading out before us. Sunlight filled, deep blue, and the darkness.”

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Mash Up: Book + Fashion | September 2017

sept bfma

I know, my last mash up post was 3 months ago and I totally regret how I missed the previous months releases and their beautiful covers. I have a lot of catching up since I’ve been MIA, again. But anyway, I hope you like my set this month! I’m also gonna talk about my set this time unlike before where I just post the looks here with no explanation at all. Please let me know what you think and which covers would you like to see next!

Look # 1: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

genuine

With this look,  I picked a teal top to match the book cover’s color and paired it with a plaid skirt in the same color scheme. I then added a black leather jacket for texture and paired it with black hi-cut chucks. The faux-fur hat was added to since the book has this blonde hair detail on it and I thought it would really match with my outfit. I also found a pair of  scissor earrings in gold to match the look on the cover and added a gold necklace and watch. As for the bag, I picked a white leather backpack to match the title’s font face. I wasn’t really going for any look but it turned out to be some sort of rebel-preppy and I actually liked it.

Look # 2: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

semidefinitive

I literally just picked every detail on the book cover and looked for an article of clothing that could represent it. I used the lilac and black contrast and used it as inspiration for my overall look. I really liked how the lilac sweatshirt goes well with the denim skirt. I sort of hoped that the floral stud was violet, but the one I found still worked with the look. I then paired it with black combat booties & a black cat purse which is puuuur-fect! I then added some extra accessories like the purple phone case with black lining, round framed lens which are totally cute and the black choker with a skeleton pendant, another book detail right there.

Look # 3: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

warcross

This was the hardest look to put-together if you would ask me. The book’s cover basically had the color spectrum in it and the first thing that came to my mind was to go holographic which is what I was going for in this look, a little futurustic and some metallic details. I did’t use every color in the cover because it might end up looking tacky. My main item was actually the boots, because it’s iridescent with a touch of pink then I found a skirt that matches with it and the perfect silver halterneck crop top. The bag is literally holographic and the choker is the perfect accent color, same goes with the nail polish and watch.

So what do you think? Which book covers would you like to see in the next mash – up? Please leave a comment and let me know! 😉

ARC Review | I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

31145133
Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publication: May 30th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9780374304041
How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)

synopsis
Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

review
I received an ARC of this book from Macmillan Publishers in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
“You can do this. You are NOT flailure girl tonight. You are a K drama heroine destined for love.”
I Believe In A Thing Called Love is one of my anticipated reads of the year, and it is, for one main reason: Kdrama. I haven’t read a single YA book that was inspired by korean drama so when I’ve learned about IBIATCL, I just jumped at the opportunity to read it (with high hopes of swoon and feels).
While I was expecting a whole lot of cute romance and mushy moments, which it actually has, there was a bit of let down with the execution and the flow of the story. And I find the problem in Desi’s list.
Desi, our “Kdrama heroine”, is prone to having flailure (flirt+flailure) moments with her long list of crushes. Cue the perfect specimen of a guy, Luca, who makes every girls pants drop, or in that case, Desi’s (another flailure moment). Flailures after flailures, Desi finally decides to put an end to this and win Luca’s affection, and the only way to success is by following “The K Drama Steps To True Love”, a list Desi made which is inspired by all the K Dramas she binge watched that all seem to have the same ending, the boy falls for the girl.
Like K dramas, the plot was loaded with cliche tropes and I guess it was difficult to avoid because that’s just how the story goes, for Desi to follow every step on her list. But for me, it became a bit boring since things seem to go in order and there’s really nothing much to expect. Don’t even get me started with how Desi went a bit too far a couple of times just to literally check off the things she must do on her list. A bit creepy and insane if you ask me.
But on the upside, I did get the feels I was looking for, if only Desi didn’t show much obsession with fulfilling her list, I would have reached a greater level of #FEELS.
With the writing style, I love how easy this was to read. The way the story was told in Desi’s narration I can say is perfect. There were times I found my self in her shoes which a younger me could relate to.
Overall, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, is indeed a cute contemporary read. A must read for K Drama lovers (it’s loaded with references!)
Rating:
3

whatiliked
  • It reminds you of that moment you first experience love – Like I said, a younger me could relate to Desi in some aspects and this is one of them. That time when I was lovestruck and it seems like hearts are flying everywhere!
“Everything reminds me of him: ramen, pencils, T-shirts, ice, my house, the Buick, my bed, trains, morning glories, the ocean, breathing.”
  • Father-daughter relationship – One of the adorable things in this book is Desi’s relationship with her father. They have this close-knit relationship that I rarely see in some YA books and it’s really refreshing to have a character like her dad.

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

25081261

Title: Poison’s Kiss (Poison’s Kiss #1)
Author: Breeana Shields
Publication: January 10th 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781101937822

How Hard Can Love Be? (Normal, #2)


synopsis

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.


review
I received an ARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.

I usually don’t read much fantasy books as much as I do contemporaries and mysteries which are my “genre comfort zone”, so having to take a bit of a change of direction with Poison’s Kiss was kind of a journey for me. It takes patience for a reader to see how AMAZING Poison’s Kiss is.

The entire book is told in Marinda’s POV and with that, we get to explore Sundari in her shoes. The narration is told vividly that the world never felt so unknown; it’s like you’re really in it. I also love how the whole story unfolds with loads of twist and turns (some were predictable but most of them are surprising) and a great deal of adventure. The story telling and world building in this book are equally astounding. Marinda’s character indeed shines in the entire story, we get to see how strong and brave her character is as the story develops.

This book did give me THE feels, thanks to swoony Deven. I kind of wanted more of the love story between him and Marinda but we do get just the right amount of that so not to outshine the main plot. And as long as I’d get more of them in the next book, I’m not complaining! And yes, there’s a sequel! I was totally clueless about it when I picked up this book, thus only thinking that it’s a standalone so it really left me hanging in the end but I can totally wait for what happens next!

 

Rating:

4


whatiliked
  • Marinda – Ahhhh she’s my absolute heroine! I just love everything about her. Even though she’s a visha kanya a.k.a. poison maiden (which I really think is badass), that’s not the only thing that defines her character. She’s very compassionate and dearly loves her brother. She’s also brave and smart and it really shines all throughout.
  • Indian folklore – The infusion of indian folklore into YA fiction is something I didn’t expect to love, but this book nailed it and I really learned to appreciate it. Even though sometimes, the terms were a bit difficult to remember, but with such great storytelling, you get to understand the history and all the other details.
  • World Building – I am always amazed with stories in a different world setting and I just love how I get to explore the kingdom of Sundari with clear images of it in my mind. It’s one of my favorite things in this book!

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Unboxing | Owlcrate April 2017 Box (Head Over Heels) + Story Time

go exploreHey there! Today I’m gonna be doing something new on the blog which is an unboxing of something I bought recently. It’s kinda obvious what it is because it’s on the title (duh me) but yeeeep, it’s an Owlcrate unboxing!!! I have always wanted to subscribe to Owlcrate but poor me never had the chance to especially for someone who lives outside the US, I’m kind of scared that my box will get lost and everything that I paid for will just go to waste… but let’s talk about that later!
Anyway, another reason for this purchase is that I waited for the theme that would suit my taste especially for my first box, I made sure that the book will be something that I’d love, so finally, here it is!
Beware: SPOILERS, duh.
LTBC6009

This month’s theme is Head Over Heels which is perfect for those who loves swoon worthy and contemporary reads.
The first thing you’ll see when you open the box is this cute art print. Flip it over and you’ll see a spoiler list of everything inside. So if you love surprises, I advice you to skip reading it before the whole unboxing. 😉

BOIB5046

XZMB7973

 


More unboxing…

UFOD1806

1st item is a soy candle from Novelly Yours!!!

For this box, Novelly Yours made 3 candles inspired by Rainbow Rowell’s couples, the one I got is Park & Eleanor which is vanilla scented and it smells really really REALLY good! (spoiler: the other 2 candles are Levi & Cath which is Coffee, Pumpkin & Chocolate scented and Raspberry scented Baz & Simon candle). It is made exclusive for this Owlcrate box and you get 1 random candle per box so you really won’t know which one you’d get and I’m so glad I got Park & Eleanor!!!!!
I’m getting way ahead of myself by saying this but this is my favorite item in the box (I’m a bit biased here because I love bookish candles and Novelly Yours is literally my top pick when it comes to bookish merch).

VXYM5793

2nd item is a keychain designed by Bookworm Boutique!

I love how the keychain goes well with my copy of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda! It even features a quote from the book which is perfect for the month’s theme! SML!!! ❤

VBYG9435

3rd item!! A book band headband by Storiarts!!

This Pride & Prejudice headband’s design is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen yet! I love the words on fabric like a page from a book turned into a headband, it’s literally just wow. I actually tried it on and it’s actually comfortable too!

DLUD4009

4th item is an print from, you’ve guessed it, Evie Bookish!

Evie Seo is the queen of graphic everything and I’m so glad that this box features and item designed by her! I haven’t read A Court of Mist and Fury but I’m seriously loving the quote in this print. I’m gonna be using this a lot for my bookstagram photos!

PPOW3680

5th item is an Anna and the French Kiss inspired tea from The Tea Spot!

I personally don’t drink tea but the cute packaging totally got me. It’s chocolate and cherry blended which keeps me wondering how it smells and tastes like! I might give this to my tea-drinking sister and ask her about it. I’ve no doubt that it’s gonna taste amazing!

Bonus Owlcrate exclusive items!!!

BEGB4381
This is an exclusive sneak peek for Umberland by Wendy Spinale. This is the 2nd book from the Everland series and it doesn’t come out until May 9th!

JASJ9069

A cute Early Birds Coffee button pin!

Finally, the 6th item and this month’s book pick…

IMG_5948

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli!!!

This is the main reason why I’ve decided to subscribe to this month’s Owlcrate + the theme is perfect for my comtemporary heart. I know, it should be a surprise but I just had to know, and the hints were pretty obvious. I’m very much in love with it and it also came with an emoji sticker inspired by the book’s cover, a letter and a signed bookplate from Ms. Becky! ❤ ❤ ❤

It’s not over yet…

EWVI3226

Right at the bottom of the box is a sneak peek for next month’s theme, on the other side of it is another sneak peek for an item that will be included in the next box.

HTNG1756

May’s box will have a full-sized funko pop figure!!! AHHHHHH! I was planning on skipping next month’s box because my bank account needs to recover from this purchase LOL but I think… I’m gonna go for another purchase not only because of the funko-pop but the book pick! I might have an idea what it is and it’s gonna have an exclusive cover, another reason to not skip. 😉

So, that sums up my Owlcrate unboxing but that’s not everything for my first Owlcrate experience.

Quick story time…

I just want to share my experience especially to PH readers who are having doubts because of the shipping (time, costs and delivery). I’ve had 2nd, 3rd or even 100th thoughts at first before subscribing because of the expense. Before my first purchase, I have tried placing an order way, way back just to compute how much I will be paying LOL but yeah, for me it’s a bit expensive because of the shipping. I was also thinking about how long will it take before it arrives on my doorstep, or will it even be delivered right at my doorstep or does it have to be picked up at the post office (which I really don’t like because some customs officer likes to put their noses on other people’s packages and even asks it to be opened in front of you, which will totally ruin the whole unboxing experience, and I’ll have to pay for a storage fee of ₱112.00. (around $2.20) #sadbuttrue)
Anyway, as for the delivery time, my box did arrive earlier than expected. It arrived in the Philippines on April 21st. I also did receive an email from Owlcrate that my box has been shipped + the tracking number. I love how Owlcrate processes overseas orders way ahead of their actual shipping dates so those who live outside the US get their boxes on time. My tracking history shows that my box has been processed as early as April 6th, which is awesome customer service! ❤
My box did end up having to be picked up at the customs office and I did have to pay for the storage fee but I’m glad that they didn’t open it! (My boyfriend was the one who picked it up for me though, so I won’t be spoiled either way but that’s no fun when someone goes through your box before you!).
As for the shipping cost, I have to be honest that it’s really pricey and you’re almost paying for another box. International shipping can totally suck but when you get finally receive your box, you really wouldn’t mind it because it’s totally worth it!
Just a tip for those who wants to purchase their first Owlcrate but a bit tight on the budget, you can always use discount codes. They’re all over Instagram so you won’t have trouble getting a discount when you need one. Also, if you’re looking at a one time purchase, pick a box with a theme you know you’ll love. You don’t want to end up with a box you won’t enjoy (but is that even possible?). You can also purchase previous boxes unless their sold out.
So that’s it for my first Owlcrate experience and this is definitely not the last!

IMG_5949

Follow Owlcrate on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram
www.owlcrate.com

 

Mash Up: Books + Fashion | May 2017 Book Covers

bfmamay

It’s been a while since I last posted a fashion mash up, it’s actually been a year to be exact. Boo hoo. But, I hope this post makes up for it! Not only are the books featured here are covergasm, they’re also May’s most anticipated! Go check ’em out! 😉

Look # 1: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

loveinterest


Look # 2: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Love


Look # 3: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

Windfall


Let me know what you think about this set in the comments!