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

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

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

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

ARC Review | #famous by Jilly Gagnon

25116429

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

end
Book description and cover image from Goodreads

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

29976645

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!

end
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!!

end

 

 

Book description and cover image from Goodreads

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

24485772

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.

end

Book description and cover image from Goodreads