ARC Review | Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

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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!

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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.
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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. 😉

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More unboxing…

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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).

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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!!! ❤

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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!

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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!

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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!!!

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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!

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A cute Early Birds Coffee button pin!

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

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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…

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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.

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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!

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Mash Up: Books + Fashion | May 2017 Book Covers

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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

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

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Look # 3: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

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

ARC Review | #famous by Jilly Gagnon

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Title: #famous
Author: Jilly Gagnon
Publication: February 14th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9780062430038

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


synopsisIn this modern-day love story, Girl likes Boy, Girl takes photo of Boy and posts it online, Boy becomes accidentally insta-famous. And what starts out as an innocent joke spirals into a whirlwind adventure that could change both their lives—and their hearts—forever. But are fame and love worth the price?

Told in alternating points of view, #famous captures the out-of-control thrill ride of falling for someone in front of everyone.


review

I received an ARC of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
Let me begin by telling you that you must read this book for your dear life. #famous is just totally adorbs that I’m literally at a lost for words with it’s charm and pure adorableness that I even suffered a serious book hangover with this beauty.

With it’s modern day set-up, it wasn’t hard to relate to #famous and it’s narrators – Kyle and Rachel. There’s an instant connection that’s built between the reader and the book that pulls you like a magnet. It’s particularly realistic too but still with a hint of fantasy which gives a sense of fulfillment when it comes to our own imaginations.

The synopsis tells you this much but there’s a lot more when you read it. Not only does it deal with the “cutesy” content but also goes a little deeper. It deals with bullying, friendship, relationships and more. I can say that I haven’t read anything like this before. It’s entertaining which I can’t emphasize enough. You just have to read it!

Ms. Jilly’s beautiful storytelling also made #famous an easy and quick read. It’s never boring and slow-paced, everything that’s happening is kept interesting. It’s evident that both the plot and the characters had been equally given much attention.

And speaking of characters, Rachel and Kyle are these two different persons that has an undeniable chemistry. Rachel is your typical awkward teenager with her own weird and quirk (which I totally love) while Kyle is this charming teen that girls drool over, he can also be a bit insensitive at times but he’s nice. #famous did a good job in showing the character’s development throughout the story.

#famous is #relatable, #realistic, and #charming. It will automatically go to your list of favorite books and I solemnly swear, you won’t get tired of reading it over and over again.

Rating:

5stars


whatiliked
  • Rachel’s monologue – Not only Rachel and her personality captivated me throughout my reading experience but it’s also her internal banters that kept me LOLing.
Oh dear god, someone take this shovel away from me so I can stop digging my own fricking grave.
  • Kyle’s charm – No wonder Rachel has a crush on Kyle, he’s uber cute and swoon worthy. Although there were times that he was being a “tool” without realizing it, but it just shows how real he is. He’s cute and nice, a bit naive which makes him my #bookboyfriendgoals
  • Serious stuff – When Rachel was going through tough times, she can’t help but feel bad about herself. Rachel is everyone of us, and how she dealt with what she’s giong through is very inspiring.
I was fat, I was ugly, I was pathetic and deluded. Not like I’d never thought those things, but seeing other people say them almost made me vomit. It made them feel true.
No one seemed to think I was a waste of valuable oxygen. Nobody thought I was pathetic—if anything, people were openly jealous. No one even called me fat. One girl said I was curvy, but that’s good fat. Kyle was right. There wasn’t a single mean thought in the bunch. Even if there had been, I felt like I could have handled it. It felt less important. It was dumb that I still cared so much; it’s not like I didn’t know the people last week were trolls. But it still felt good that people were saying I was good enough—to be seen, and with Kyle no less. I thought

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Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

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Title: The Sun Is Also A Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publication: November 1st 2016 by Delacorte Press
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9780553496680

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


synopsis

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


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.

After having read Everything, Everything, I since have had a mental note that any book written by Nicola Yoon is one to anticipate. There’s no need to tell that I have high expectations for The Sun Is Also A Star because I definitely do. And now that I’ve finally read it, I don’t know how to begin with sharing how blown away I am with this incredible and one of a kind story.

The Sun Is Also A Star follows Natasha and Daniel and their love story set in a whole day around New York City. Natasha is bound to get deported back to Jamaica after she and her family are discovered to be undocumented immigrants, she’s desperate to stop the deportation and she has less than a day to make it happen. Meanwhile, Daniel has an admission interview with Yale, which he thinks is the beginning of the end of his future. Daniel doesn’t want to become a doctor, he doesn’t even want to go to Yale, so he spends his remaining hours before the interview to do whatever he feels like doing. Their paths cross, and the rest is up to fate to do its thing.

First of all, I just love stories of fate and destiny. I love that it’s something out of our control but still leads us to the moment that’s meant to be. Natasha is a non-believer of these things. She claims she’s a realist and doesn’t believe that things happen for a reason.

Things don’t happen for a reason. They just happen.
For a story that has a lot to do with fate, having a character like Natasha and Daniel made everything more interesting. While Natasha doesn’t believe in fate, Daniel is a romantic. (His Koi No Yokan thing? Ah… SWOOOON! Did I mention he’s Korean? MORE SWOON!) You can only imagine what’s gonna happen next or how the characters will react to the the events in this book. The character development is very natural and not forced that I sometimes forget that everything that’s going on is in a span of a single day. How is that even possible? Don’t doubt fate. Or the author.

Ms. Nicola has a distinct writing style that you can easily identify. It has the effect that will make you guarantee that you are reading a book written by her. The short chapters and the unconventional storytelling are definitely her niche. She just makes it work in every book she writes. I can’t think of a different way Natasha and Daniel’s story be told.

Speaking of the narrative, the book wasn’t only in Natasha or Daniel’s POV, there were a lot of different perspectives coming from people or things they encounter, and what’s great about it is that we get to see what lead them to that exact moment, how their choices and actions affected other people’s fate and just how everything works together and are bound to happen.

Maybe he wasn’t meant to meet Natasha today. Maybe it was random chance after all.
But.
Once they met, the rest of it, the love between them, was inevitable.
The ending just proved how fate worked in Natasha and Daniel’s lives. It’s such a touching moment that I just keep reading it over and over. It’s a beautiful story and the ending was just perfect. Absoultely, incredibly, the best epilogue I’ve read.

The Sun Is Also A Star is a definite must-read. For lovers of swoon-worthy reads like me, this is not to be missed. For those who aren’t, maybe you’ll have a change of heart, just like Natasha? 🙂

Rating:

5stars


whatiliked

  • Natasha & Daniel – Of course, these 2! I love Natasha and Daniel and they will have a special place in my heart for being the most adorable characters ever. Anyway, I noticed how the characters names are somewhat a representation of Nicola and David??? Also, they’re Jamaican American and Korean American respectively and I’m not doubting that this was inspired by the story of how they met, and the rest is an adorable book called The Sun Is Also A Star. 🙂
  • The cover – Unlike some covers that are aesthetically pleasing, this one has a different reason why I like love it. TSIAAS’s cover is some sort of a representation of what the whole book is telling us. I couldn’t find the best words to explain it but the good thing is Nicola already did, in her letter for her readers, she said, “We are-all of us-connected. The threads weave through and around us all. It’s only for us to see them.” I don’t know why but it spoke to me more than what it is, a book cover. I really appreciate the fact that even that single detail is telling a story. Don’t even get me started with the effort put into making it, just go check out the cover making video!

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Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Most Anticipated Reads | September 2016

sept2016HOHOHO! Merry Chirstmas! It’s September already and most Fall ’16 books I’ve been waiting to read is getting closer to it’s release day!!! Also, I missed posting my August MAR. Yikes! But anyway, check out these upcoming titles to read this month!

Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy #2) by Rae Carson
Publication: September 27th 2016 by Greenwillow

18054071After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram.

Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.


Going Geek by Charlotte Huang
Publication: September 13th 2016 by Delacorte Press

23471514A girl forced out of her comfort zone finds that being true to herself is the best way to live her life, in this second novel from the author of For the Record.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Skylar Hoffman’s senior year at her preppy East Coast boarding school should have been perfect:

Amazing boyfriend
The coolest friends
The most desirable dorm

But it’s far from it. To her dismay, Skylar’s not going to rule senior year because she’s stuck in Abbot House, a tiny dorm known for, well, nothing. Living with a group of strangers everyone thinks is lame is bad enough. Worse is that Skylar wasn’t exactly truthful about how she spent summer break in Los Angeles—and her little white lie is causing her once rock-solid romance to crumble fast. And when it turns out that Skylar’s best friend is the one responsible for having her booted from Lincoln? It’s an all-out war.

Stepping out of her comfort zone never felt so scary—or necessary. But everything is different now. Including, maybe, Skylar herself . . .


The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Publication: September 20th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

25812109Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.


The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day
Publication: September 6th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

28220966Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?


The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears
Publication: September 13th 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

28220925Luke Grayson’s life might as well be over when he’s forced to go live in rural Tennessee with his Baptist pastor father. His reputation as a troublemaker has followed him there, and as an outsider, Luke is automatically under suspicion by everyone from the principal at his new school to the local police chief. His social life is no better. The new kid in town is an easy target for Grant Parker, the local golden boy with a violent streak who has the entire community of Ashland under his thumb.

But things go topsy-turvy when a freak accident removes Grant from the top of the social pyramid, replacing him with Luke. This fish out of water has suddenly gone from social outcast to hero in a matter of twenty-four hours. For the students who have lived in fear of Grant all their lives, this is a welcome change. But Luke’s new found fame comes with a price. Nobody knows the truth about what really happened to Grant Parker except for Luke, and the longer he keeps living the lie, the more like Grant Parker he becomes.


As I Descended by Robin Talley
Publication: September 6th 2016 by HarperTeen

28218948Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.


I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
Publication: September 13th 2016 by Balzer + Bray

23594354Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically-guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win her boyfriend back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity, and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?


Share your September TBR in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by!
Cover images link out to respective Goodreads page. Click and add them to your shelves.
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne

29740718Title: What’s A Girl Gotta Do? (The Spinster Club #3)
Author: Holly Bourne
Publication: August 1st 2016 by Usborne Publishing
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781474915021

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


synopsis

HOW TO START A FEMINIST REVOLUTION:
1. Call out anything that is unfair on one gender
2. Don’t call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe)
3. Always try to keep it funny
4. Don’t let anything slide. Even when you start to break…
Lottie’s determined to change the world with her #Vagilante vlog. Shame the trolls have other ideas…

review

I received an ARC of this book from Usborne in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
What’s a girl gotta say? Well, for starters, I’ve only read the 2nd book in the series prior to reading What’s A Girl Gotta Do? and so I’m not typically familiar with how the Spinster Club started.. Although it can be read as a standalone, I think it’s best to read Am I Normal Yet? and How Hard Can Love Be? first not just for continuity’s sake but also for character familiarity. With the being said, I have mixed feelings with this one.
The series introduced 3 girls going through different personal battles. Evie in Am I Normal Yet? struggled with OCD. In How Hard Can Love Be?, Amber dealt with her mother’s abandonment. This time, the spotlight is on Lottie. Lottie and her fight against sexism.
Lottie came to me as a strong, even aggressive, character. Her personality did affect mostly how things turned out in the story. When she was sexually assaulted on the way to college, an idea came to her to start a project where she calls out every sexist things she sees. It’s a great idea to raise awareness about gender equality but I’m not really fan of the execution. I guess it’s the cultural difference though. In my perspective, Lottie took a lot of “sexist?” things WAY TOO FAR. And way angsty which made connecting with her a lot harder. I could be a character in this book though, one of the lookers, maybe. Or someone who’s curious about FemSoc but never really joins? But not the trolls. Definitely not the trolls.
The pacing was a tiny bit low for me and I don’t really know which part is the climax because almost the entire book is just Lottie pointing out sexist things, arguing with her parents, arguing-flirting with Will, worrying-but-not-really about her Cambridge interview. The writing style is a different story. It’s very straight-forward and strong. It’s uncomplicated, realistic and coherent for young readers.
Anyway, speaking of Will… the romance was bleh! I mean, Will is really attractive but and all that, even if he’s some kind of whatever, there was no chemistry between him and Lottie. Sexual tension? LOL. Lottie no. I remember reading a part where *THIS IS A SPOILER.* Highlight with cursor to view >> Lottie and Will were arguing about how Lottie called out a waiter for handing the bill to Will instead of her even if she’s not the one paying. She called him a pr*ck, he called her a b*tch. Then they’re kissing.*END OF SPOILER* Was that supposed to be romantic? Was that for real. My eyebrows literally furrowed in confusion and I just cringed. HAHA.
However, I did like how real the level of friendship in this book is. Evie and Amber are always there for Lottie. There are times where they argue but like a true friend, they always have each others back. There’s also Megan’s storyline which I think was really interesting. I really appreciate her character and her bravery.
To be fair, What’s A Girl Gotta Do? is an eye-opening read. It raises awareness especially on things that’s going on around us that we don’t even realize are sexist. Or even the things we already know are unfair to one gender but we decide to accept it the way it is just because.
Rating:

3


whatiliked
  • Evie, Amber and Lottie’s friendship – #bffgoals
  • Covergasm – I just love all the covers of the books in the series and What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’s cover is not an exception. I love how it’s coordinated with the story.
  • A Novella – …And a Happy New Year? is coming in November! Can’t wait!!

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Book description and cover image from Goodreads

ARC Review | True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

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Title: True Letters from a Fictional Life
Author: Kenneth Logan
Publication: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: Advance Reading Copy
Source: Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
ISBN: 9780062380258

Are You Still There


synopsis

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.
But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.
He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

review

I received a digital review copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. By no means have my review been affected and/or influenced.
“If you ain’t scared standing up for what’s right, then you ain’t standing up for much.”
– Not Mark Twain
True Letters from a Fictional Life is about James Lidell, a closeted jock who is having a difficult time with coming out to his family, friends and his sort of girlfriend, Teresa. All his life, James believed he is straight but not until he started to like boys. Coming out isn’t easy especially for James who prefers to keep his thoughts to himself. Aside from his “secret identity”, he never really voices out his opinion about most things but instead, he writes them down through letters he never intends to send to whom they’re addressed to.
And of course, it goes out in the world anyway because life is ironic.
James is a reliable narrator. I love the transparency of his voice through his thoughts and his letters. He might not be as “transparent” when it comes to certain things and to certain people, but everything behind the facade is made clear the readers, making this book such an enjoyable and engaging read.
The pacing was quick and never boring, every part was kept interesting and that’s with the help of such a diverse set of characters. I love how not everything was about James. There were also the struggles of the minor characters that affects the whole plot and how it reflects through James’s letters.
True Letters of a Fictional Life is a great read. It deals with different issues. Aside from it being a coming out story, it also deals with stereotyping, bullying, friendship, family relationships and more.
P.S. I’m hating myself for writing such a short review for this book and that I haven’t gone through a lot of things so I’ll just have to give you reasons to read this book:
1.) James is a sweetheart.
2.) Awesome friends = awesome characters
3.) Engaging writing style.
4.) It’s something you haven’t read before.
5.) If you’re still not convinced, that’s the best reason to pick up this book.
Rating:

4


whatiliked

  • Quotes
“It’s only out of tune if you accept someone else’s definition of what’s in tune.”
I’ve always wanted to wake up one day in a world where I liked the right people, and they liked me in return. I worry it’ll never happen.
I’ve always been told that I’m straight. And that’s the story I was trying to make happen. I didn’t come up with the lie. It wasn’t mine. They handed the lie to me, and I tried like hell to make it work for a while.”
  • Overflowing emotions – The wave of emotions that surged through me while I was reading this book is just too much to handle.
  • James – I ADORE this guy right here! He’s such an authentic male narrator that YA books need more of. His voice and his wit, his compassion and fears… everything about him is too damn real.

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Book description and cover image from Goodreads

Book Review | Signs of You by Emily France

27272341Title: Signs of You
Author: Emily France
Publication: July 19th 2016 by Soho Teen
Format: Finished copy in Hardback
Source: Provided by the publisher
ISBN: 9781616956578

Are You Still There


synopsis

Since sixteen-year-old Riley Strout lost her mother two years ago, her saving grace has been her quirky little family in the grief support group she joined as a freshman. Jay, Kate, and Noah understand her pain; each lost a loved one, and they’ve stuck together in spite of their differences, united by tragedies only they understand.
When Riley thinks she spots her mother shopping in a grocery store, she fears she is suffering some sort of post-traumatic stress. Then Jay and Kate report similar experiences. Only Noah hasn’t had some kind of vision, which is perhaps why he’s become so skeptical and distant.
When Noah disappears, Riley fears she’s lost another loved one. As they frantically search for him, she, Kate, and Jay are drawn into the mystery surrounding a relic that belonged to Jay’s dead father and contains clues about the afterlife. Riley finds herself wrestling with her feelings for both Noah and Jay—which have become clear only in Noah’s absence. If Riley is to help those she loves, and herself, she must set things right with the one she’s lost.

review

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.
Signs of You is a book that can’t be shelved into a single category. It’s a mix of a lot of things that it needs it’s own genre. And you will never really know what to expect with this one.
When I first saw the cover of this book, I actually thought that it was YA Contemporary – Romance, little did I know that it’s far from that. I’m quite surprised to see this book in the #ThrillerThursday line up but still decided to give this book a go. (As if it’s a tough decision! 😛 ) I instantly wanted to find out the mystery that envelops the plot as to why Riley, the main character, and her friends have visions of their loved ones that were long gone. It didn’t take long to pin down what was behind their sightings but it’s only the beginning of what they’re about to discover. It’s by that time that I realized why the book’s title is “Signs of You”.
I really appreciate the amount of research the author did for the “spiritual” and historical aspect of the story and how she turned her inspirations into something imaginative with the blend of history and fiction. The writing style was spot on too. I love how it was free flowing and easy to follow + the awesome chapter titles! The characters were equally incredible, I’m glad that they weren’t neglected with such a unique plot.
All in all, Signs of You is a book that will touch your heart. Yes, it had some “thriller” in it but like I said, it’s a mix of a lot of things; it deals with friendship, family, high school, slight romance, grief and more. I guarantee that this book is something you haven’t read before and you definitely need to pick it up!
Rating:

3h


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Book description and cover image from Goodreads

 

My Bookstagram (Do Over) and a Giveaway!

go explore

Hello there! This is really random but I just wanted to post about my recently made over bookstagram! I’ve been bookstagramin’ for quite a while now since I first had my book-related Instagram account even before this blog (I started on January of 2015, I just checked), but then, I haven’t really “established” my profile for various reasons. So, I decided that a little do-over might change things up. 🙂

Before everything else, let’s take trip down to memory lane and see the evolution my Instagram account…
I first started with the username @readescape_ /@read.escape
(Check out my 1st bookstagram pic!)

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The reason behind that name is by that time, I only just discovered the world of reading and it has become my “escape” from reality, hence the name. But aside from that, I picked a username that didn’t include my name because I didn’t want anybody to know that I have a book-related Instagram account. I kept it a secret to my friends and family. I guess I didn’t want to be judged or something? I always had to take pics when no one is around and it was very difficult. The funny thing is that my mom eventually discovered it, (I still don’t know how) and even said I take good pics! Silly, silly me.
Eventually, I changed my name to @beatricereads after I made a blog and a twitter account. But then I stumbled through an “identity crisis” when I couldn’t settle for a theme. I always kept a theme for my feed since the beginning stage of my account because I wanted my feed to organized and pretty looking like all the other accounts I see and of course, I wanted to gain followers too.
I kept changing themes, trying something different then deleting everything again until I just got tired and decided, that’s it. I need to make up my mind!
I checked out a lot of different accounts on bookstagram and got some inspration on how to be creative on taking great photos. I also downloaded photo editing apps that most bookstagramer use. For my photos, I first edit them on Snapseed (Thank God for Snapseed!) and add filters with VSCO. You don’t need to edit much if you have great lighting so I always take my photos during day time. Shoutout to my favorite bookstagram accounts (@ejmellow, @readingoncloud9@alice.in.wonderbookland, @alybooksandcoffee, @aenteereads)
And now, here’s a glimpse of my new Instagram feed! I promise that I’ll try to keep it like this and maintain it as it is.
What do you think? 🙂
Another thing, I have an ongoing giveaway on my bookstagram to celebrate my birthday! I decided to celebrate it on IG since it’s where my bookish world journey began! Head over to my Instagram account (@beatricereads) for full mechanics. Open INTERNATIONAL. Ends 7/27 (MY BIRTHDAY!)

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Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. Comment below your bookstagram accounts!