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

 

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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! 🙂

Review: PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han {4.0}

Title: PS I Still Love You
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Pages: Paperback, 337
My Rating: 4 Stars

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

P.S. I Still Love You continues right where To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ended, and I’m glad. This was a quick and short read. I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first book, but all the elements that I loved from the first book are still present – the cute romance, the family bond, being there for others, and the harsh realities of life. 

I expected a lot from this book, and while it’s not a 5-star read, I still enjoyed it thoroughly, given my high expectations. There were still lots of amazing quotes, and the feels were definitely there! I was annoyed at how I was constantly feeling like something wrong was about to happen, which prevented me from enjoying the story as much as I should have. Although, when I read the ending, I finally got why it was so.

I really loved Kitty in this book. Sure, she’s kinda annoying in that kid way sometimes, but most of the time, she’s actually right. She’s wise beyond her years and she knows much more than I knew when I was 9 or 10. In this book, I saw that she’s equal parts Margo and Lara Jean.

Another favorite character is Stormy. I really enjoyed the chapters where she was present. She’s strong, independent, quirky, isn’t afraid of saying things, and she imparts some great knowledge, albeit being a bit sexist. She’s really different from any other grandma I’ve read of or known, and it’s enjoyable reading about her.

The ending of this book was not the kind of happy ending that I was expecting, but I am appeased by it. I still felt all the feels, and I felt really connected with Lara Jean. As always, Jenny Han’s writing was just amazing! Definitely a must-read!

4 a-must-read stars

ARC Review: Busted by Gina Ciocci {3.5}

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Title: Busted
Author: Gina Ciocca
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date:  January 1st, 2018
Pages: 288
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

It has been a long, loooooong time since I last finished reading a book in one day, and Busted was the one that finally cracked me after a while, even with responsibilities the whole afternoon. Busted was written in such a way that it was addicting and hard to put down, and I couldn’t stop even when my brain nagged at me to do homework. I’m not a fan of mysteries, but the hint of a little mystery in this book was just perfect to make the book addicting.

Busted is a short and quick read, and I loved how invested I was in the story. My absolute favorite things about this book are the friendship and family dynamics. For the friendship, I loved how Marisa and Charlie could talk to each other honestly, to the point that Marisa called out Charlie for being judgemental, and Charlie apologizing instead of getting mad like most people would be. I just loved how they could talk everything out with respect, and not with the tone of blame. For the family, I loved how Charlie could freely talk to her mother about things, and how her brother is actually an accomplice instead of the enemy.

On the other hand, I felt like sometimes the story seemed to lack direction and objective because it was just snaking its way through everything without a clear path. Sometimes it felt like reading in circles. It also dragged on a little bit for some of the parts. I don’t know why I felt this way towards the book, and I really can’t explain it in words, but that was what was on my mind while reading it.

The major issue I have with this book is the lack of connection with any of the characters. This is the reason why, although I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t give it a rating higher than 3.5 stars. I just didn’t feel anything for the characters, and I absolutely dislike the love interest. For me, TJ is sketchy af, and I just didn’t really feel that he liked Charlie honestly. Maybe in the start but then towards the end it seemed like he didn’t care about Charlie, and even supported her flirting with another guy. Shouldn’t he be at least a teeny tiny bit jealous or protective? I don’t know, I just didn’t like him overall.

To wrap things up, I really enjoyed this quick and addicting read, although I couldn’t give it a higher rating because I didn’t really connect with any of the characters.

3.5 couldn’t-connect stars