Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera {4.5}

 

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Title: What If It’s Us
Author: Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 9th, 2013
Pages: 448 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

I don’t know if I’m biased or what because I love both authors, but I totally loved this book! This book is completely adorable and emotional, and I can totally see both Adam and Becky’s writing styles in the novel. Arthur and Ben are just adorable, and I can’t help but root for them both. The family and friends are all pretty amazing too, and I’m just thinking, how can their dynamics be so awesome?

Arthur and Ben are opposites in some ways, like how Arthur feels like he’s too much, while Ben feels like he’ll never be enough, but my goodness there cannot be a cuter couple out there than this two! Their relationship is by no means perfect – they even had to do-over their date three freaking times! And I think for me, this is something that made me love the book more. I loved seeing their awkwardness progress to comfortable-ness, and to being more open to each other about everything. I love how they actually try to adjust for each other and be there for each other no matter what goes on between them.

I’m kind of mad about the ending, but I just know that these two are happy no matter what. I really want this story to never end. Arthur and Ben, as well as their friends, are all so real to me, and I want to know how everything plays out until they get old. Honestly, I can’t help but imagine what life would be like for them in the future.

I don’t have more specific things I liked about this book. I really just loved it overall, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to read this beautiful masterpiece! Ugh, my heart!

4.5 absolutely adorkable stars.
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Review: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows & Brodi Ashton {2.5}

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Title: My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
Series: The Lady Janies #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 26th, 2016
Pages: 464
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

 

When I read My Lade Jane as an ARC way before it came out, I loved it so much that I said I would read anything that these three authors come up with. And because of that, I didn’t even read the synopsis for My Plain Jane before requesting it and diving into it. Maybe it’s because of that, or maybe it’s because of my high expectations, but I found My Plain Jane to be lackluster and boring.

My Plain Jane is sort of a retelling of Jane Eyre, except in this story, we see that Charlotte Brontë and Jane Eyre are actually friends. It also showed how Charlotte came to write the book, and how things did not exactly happen as how Charlotte told it.

There were some things here and there that piqued my interest, but compared to the whole story arc, these are only bits and pieces. For the most part, I didn’t really feel that invested in the story. I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether the bringing in of ghosts made the story interesting or feel a bit juvenile. I really just felt kind of meh about the whole thing. I will still read the next book, but I just didn’t like this.

2.5 dragging and disappointing stars

Review: Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas {4.0}

 

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Title:
 Catwoman: Soulstealer
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling
Publisher: Random House Books for young Readers
Publication Date:  August 7th, 2018
Pages: 384 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars

When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.

Catwoman: Soulstealer is the first book I finished in 2019, and I take a lot of pleasure in that fact. Sarah J. Maas has always been one of my favorite authors and I long ago vowed to read any book she publishes. I also read Batman: Nightwalker, which is why I was super excited about this one.

If you guys know me, you would probably know that I did not grow up with superheroes. In fact, I don’t know much about them. And then I read Batman: Nightwalker, and I started getting interested, until I binge-watched the entire Marvel universe movies. I still don’t know a lot about DC, so I don’t know back stories and all that. So fair warning, this review is from the perspective of a person who doesn’t know anything at all, and may or may not have pestered her brother to inform her about such things.

When I first picked up Catwoman: Soulstealer, I didn’t know if I would like it or not. I had such high expectations because of Batman: Nightwalker but this one was slow in the beginning. I enjoyed being transported into the world, but not much exciting was happening yet. And then I got to about 50% and things started become so exciting that I forgot to put the book down. Towards the end, I was wiping tears from my eyes and my heart felt full.

Catwoman: Soulstealer centers on Selina Kyle, who disguised herself as socialite Holly Vanderhees. She goes to Gotham to wreak havoc, while Luke Fox – Batwing – tries to anticipate and stop her. I like how this novel centered on Catwoman being a villain instead of the superhero portion. I like how this story gave dimension to her character and how she formed amazing bonds within the novel. It’s amazing how human villains can be when we look into their backstories. I really liked the way everything tied together and unfolded.

Catwoman: Soulstealer is not a fast-paced action novel in my opinion, which was what I was expecting. This novel gave just the right amount of action, but it focuses more on the humanizing part, as well as the wit. It was also humorous in some parts, and I may or may not have been caught grinning like a fool on the airplane. This novel is well-rounded and exciting, and I really enjoyed it.

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers {4.0}

 

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Title:
 Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date:  September 8th, 2018
Pages: 311 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

If you know me, you probably know that this is not my type of read. I don’t like reading about crime, gory stuff, or things that make me overly uncomfortable. However, curiosity got the better of me with this one as it was hyped so much that I just had to know what everyone was talking about. It did make me uncomfortable, it did make me read about things I don’t normally like reading about, but it also made me understand all the hype surrounding it.

Booktubers recommended to listen to the audiobook of this instead of reading the paperback, so I did. I learned that it has a cast of about 30 voice actors, and that just validated how amazing it could be. And it was. While I did not love this book as much as other people did, I still liked it.

This book is not one to be enjoyed. This book is to be understood and put to heart. Sadie is not a fun book to read, but it is an important and necessary one. It fucked me up and it bothered me, but it opened up my eyes. Sadie is one of the most infuriating characters ever, but she’s one of the realest ones as well.

I honestly don’t know how to give a proper review of this book because I still can’t wrap my head around the story until now so this is my best attempt. All I can say is if you can, listen to it on audiobook, and get ready to be mind fucked. Oh, and the hype is totally worth it!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand {3.0}

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Title: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 22nd, 2018
Pages: Kindle, 512 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

I first heard about Furyborn while watching a book haul on Youtube, and once I heard what it was about, I knew that I had to read it immediately. Once I got a copy, I immediately started reading, and I must say, the first chapter was so captivating that I knew this was going to be a great novel. However, I had some issues with reading this book, and although I really am interested in the story, I couldn’t give it more than 3 stars because of those issues.

 

What I Didn’t Like:
1. The long, excessive narratives: As I said, I really like the story that this novel tells, but I just found the narratives to be quite boring. I often found myself skimming the pages until conversations would come up because the book is a long one. I still want to read the next book, but I just hope that the 2nd book would be more concise so it would be less boring.
2. The main characters: The main characters were both insufferable, although I must say I grew to like Eliana more towards the end of the novel. I couldn’t say the same thing for Rielle though. She’s so arrogant and prideful, and sometimes I just want to shake her awake because dude, can you see the situation you are in? Do you think this is the time to boast around your skills just because you have them? Gosh! And with Eliana, at first I couldn’t get a grip on her personality because she switches from one decision to another completely opposite decision, without thinking of how it will affect others, and within a few pages. She was confusing as heck, and it was hard to keep up with her.
3. The alternating POVs: I really, really hated the way in which the chapters ended. I feel like it just takes me out of the story, instead of deepen my interest in it. The chapters cut the POV right as I was getting interested, and because of that I kind of forgot my interest after the next chapter. It was also confusing at first, because it was hard to keep up with what was going on. I kind of wished that this was two separate books instead of one.
4. It was confusing despite the number of pages: Speaking of confusion, this book was confusing as heck! So many things happened, and yet I have no answers. I just read a 500-page novel, and I only have the tiniest clue about what this really is about. Although this book did a good job in setting the tone for the following novels, I just felt like there were still far too many questions left unanswered.

 

What I Liked:
1. The side characters: I really enjoyed the characters of Remy and Ludivine. They add a nice element to the story, and the innocence coming from them both is really just something else. I always like it whenever they appear in the story. Sometimes I like Audric and Navi as well, although other times I just want to knock Audric in the head because he can be so clueless at times.
2. The story: Although I complain about how slow the plot moves, I really am interested and invested in how the story will go. I’m genuinely interested because it seems like such a unique story. Even though I did not love this one, I see myself still continuing on with the series because I just feel the potential. I mean, angels are bad in this novel, and there are prophecies, kingdoms to save, and so many secrets yet to uncover. I honestly can’t wait for the next book!
3. The gripping start: Honestly, the first chapter was what really drew me in. I loved how action-packed and ominous it was. It’s what got me excited for this book, and it’s also what’s still hooking me to the series, even though I didn’t love it. If we’re basing it on Rielle’s chapters, the first one was actually in the future, after everything has already happened. Honestly, I’m more interested in the after of that first chapter than the before, so I just want to find out more about what happened.

 

Overall, this book is a unique story that I truly am interested in, but I just couldn’t rate it higher because the plot was moving too slow for me, it was confusing at times, and I felt like there are still so many questions left unanswered. That said, I still can’t wait for the second book because I just want to find out more about this world!
interesting-but-slow stars

 

Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen {2.5}

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Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Viking Book for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 27th, 2002
Pages: Paperback, 345
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?


I don’t know if it’s because of my reading slump, or because I have outgrown romances like these, but I found this book to be lackluster and just simply boring. This is my first Sarah Dessen book (shameful, I know), and I have heard many great things about her books, so maybe it’s because I expected too much. Needless to say, I am pretty disappointed in this one.


This Lullaby seemed like a book that I would enjoy, since I have enjoyed similar books in the past. However, for a romance novel, I felt like this one lacks in the romance department. The book fast forwards how Remy and Dexter got together, and it doesn’t show romance while they were together. The only time that I actually felt the romance was towards the last part of the novel, and even that was subpar. What, Remy just suddenly thought that she should go talk to Dexter, and that was it? Honestly, I just didn’t care for the romance aspect of this novel, which is problematic because it’s a pretty great chunk of the novel.


I really liked the friendship aspect of this book for their camaraderie, but I didn’t like how it felt like they were fine at times and at other times trying to upstage each other or something. It felt like they were more like frenemies rather than friends who truly want to support each other. I didn’t get their dynamics, and it felt awkward to me.


I really like the family aspects, especially Remy’s relationship with her brother. However, I found it weird when they fought over Jennifer Anne and then just suddenly returned to normal. This whole novel just feels like a lot of things are in fast-forward mode, and I felt like I didn’t catch up well enough. I also really liked how Remy’s relationship with her mother became towards the end. It’s not far-fetched, but there definitely was some improvement.


Overall, I just didn’t really connect with Remy, the friendship, nor the romance. I also didn’t care for Dexter very much. I guess the only thing I liked about this novel is the family aspect, that’s why I gave it 2.5 stars.

Bout of Books 22

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

With Bout of Books 22 being the week before my classes officially begin for the third term this school year, I really want to read at least 7 books, or one book per day of the readathon. I have a ton of books that I still need/want to read, and this is the perfect excuse to semi shut myself off from the rest of world to read. Here are the books I want to read for the week:

  1. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  2. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  5. Geekerella by Ashley Piston
  6. Long Way Home by Katie McGarry
  7. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
  8. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
  10. Gemina by Amy Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

 

Dewey Readathon Round 4

What is Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon? For 24 hours, we read books, post to our blogs, Twitters, Tumblrs, Goodreads and MORE about our reading, and visit other readers’ homes online. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day. It happens twice a year, in April and in October.

YA contemporary is my absolute favorite genre, but I am ashamed to say that I have only read 1 Sarah Dessen book, and that was just last week! I recently purchased 5 Dessen books so I can binge-read, so this is the perfect opportunity to do so. If anyone wants to buddy read any of the books listed below, feel free to hit me up. 🙂

But before that, there’s a book I really want to finish first, and it’s The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. I didn’t really like Everything, Everything (not the book, not the movie either), but since everyone seem to love this one, I want to give it a try. What do you guys think?

  1. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (344/344 pages)
  2. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (90%/100%)
  3. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (422/422 pages)
  4. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (0/416 pages)
  5. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (0/374 pages)

Blog Tour: Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi {4.0}

 

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Title:
 Down and Across
Author: Arvin Ahmadi
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  February 6th, 2018
Pages: 336 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

Scott has a hard time with sticking to his decisions. He starts things, such as his internship, but doesn’t see those things through to the end. When his parents leave to go to Iran to look after his ill grandfather, Scott decides that instead of going to his internship, he’s going to find Cecily Mallard, the great psychology professor who specialized on grit, the psychology of success. There, he meets Fiora, crossword enthusiast, and Trent, political aspirant. These two help him in his journey towards getting grittier, as well as getting more experiences in life in general.

Down and Across was blurbed by some of my favorite authors – Jasmine Warga and Adam Silvera – so I had high hopes from this one. I’m glad to say that despite the high standards I’ve set on this book before even reading it, that it did not disappoint. Not by one bit.

I connected with Scott so much because I related to him in so many ways. Born of Chinese immigrant parents, my parents are also strict and want me to focus on studies. They often forbid me to go out by myself, and growing up, I felt like I was missing so much because of it. I also felt street-stupid (the opposite of street-smart? Haha!) because of staying at home so much. In the last two years of high school, much like Scott, I had no direction in life. I didn’t know what I wanted to take up after high school, while most of my friends already knew where they were headed. Because of these factors, I became all the more invested in Scott’s story – how he would learn and redeem himself throughout the 300 or so pages of the book.

This book showed me that self-discovery and growth happens at all ages, and with people from all walks of life, may they be students or professionals. One of my favorite scenes in this novel was how Professor Mallard broke down, and how Scott actually motivated her once more after her father’s death. It showed that even one breaks down at times, but it’s in how we pick ourselves up once more that shows true grit. This book also showed me that with the right push, people can get on their way once more and find themselves.

The journey, growth, and self-discovery of Scott in this novel made him into a very dynamic character that grew to be one filled with potential. He learned so many things throughout this novel, and I’m so proud of him because he learned all these by experiencing various ups and downs in the novel. I’m so proud of him for finally figuring his life out, and for standing up to his beliefs. Most of all, I love this novel because it made Scott feel like a real person I know, so much so that I feel nothing but pride for him.

Down and Across surprised me with how much I liked it, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to read it! It’s this amazing story that I’m sure people of all ages could relate to, because everyone gets lost from time to time, right?

A GIVEAWAY

#NightwalkerPH Blog Tour: Batman Nightwalker {5 stars}

 


Title:
 Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2)
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  January 2, 2018
Pages: 272 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

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Honestly, I didn’t expect to love Batman as much as I did because I didn’t grow up with superhero stories. I get confused by them and I mix all their histories together, but Batman was just simply amazing. The book brought up so many perspectives, and it clearly outlines how Batman became the man that he became. More than just a superhero story, it’s a story of love, family, friendship, and how everything is grey, not black and white.

With an intricately-woven plot, amazing execution and well-paced unfolding of the story, Marie Lu definitely knew how to write Bruce’s story to captivate her audience. She made Bruce more humane through this novel, and I could totally connect this story to how Bruce became Batman. This book is nothing short of perfection, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to read it! And you definitely must!

5 unexpected stars
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Okay so for my extra content, I decided to make some bookmarks with quotes from the novel. I’m not an expert in Photoshop, but I tried my best, haha! If any of you want a copy of any of the images, I’m happy to send them to you guys via email! 🙂