Dewey Readathon #3

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.

I’m still so unsure of my list yet, but I’ll list down 5 books and try to read at least 2-3 books throughout the readathon. I know I can read 3 but I have school this time, so I have to balance my time between reading and homework.

If you’ve read any of the books on my list below, please tell me what you think of it! 🙂 The readathon starts at 8:00pm on October 21 here in the Philippines.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
0/380 pages
0/352 pages
Keep the Faith by Ana Tejano
0/210 pages
Remember Me Always by Renee Collins
0/322 pages
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
0/328 pages


Hour 4:

Hour 10:

Hour 11:

Hour 16:

Hour 22:

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Audiobook Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber {4.0}

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Pages: Paperback, 407
My Rating: 4 Stars

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

When I first heard of Caraval, there was already a lot of hype surrounding it. I didn’t get why people were so excited, because this book made me think of The Night Circus, which was really dragging for me. I mean, they both promise amazing performances and lavish worlds, and I thought that this book might be excessively descriptive of the world. Turns out, I was very, very wrong. I’m really glad that I gave Caraval a chance, because I would have missed out on a fantastic story.

Caraval is not my typical read, what with all the deception and excitement that happens in the story, but I loved it nonetheless. Truth be told, I don’t really know how to review this book because so many things happened within just 400 pages, and I still can’t wrap my head around everything that happened. But what I can say is that it had my heart pumping, my head guessing and my whole being anxious. It kept me on my toes, and it has that addicting feel to it that I just couldn’t stop listening to it even though I was supposed to be reading other books.

Caraval is so far from what I expected it to be, and I’m just glad that I caved into the hype, because the hype is totally worth it. The world and the characters are so complex, and the mystery is really intriguing. There’s just too much more to find out about this world, and I cannot wait for the next book!

———————————————–

The Narrator: The narrator is truly amazing. I think that she played a part in my loving this book. She really had so much emotion in her voice, and I love how she portrayed the voices of each character differently. I would love to listen to more audiobooks narrated by her. I think my only problem was the long “No”s from Scarlet. I don’t know, they sounded weird to me, like I just wanted to fast forward the audio so I wouldn’t have to hear it. But other than that, she really did an amazing job.

worth the hype stars

Mini Review: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett {3.0}


Title: The Stepsister’s Tale
Author: Tracy Barrett
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 24th, 2014
Pages: Kindle, 272 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family-especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate…

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett’s stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.

When I first started reading The Stepsister’s Tale, I was actually very invested in the story. As a fan of fairy tale retellings, it’s always interesting to be able to read from the villain’s perspective. But as I read on, I found the book to be too long because it was full or narratives, which I never seem to enjoy. In addition to that, I actually read Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman, which is a Snow White retelling from the Evil Queen’s perspective.

The main difference of that book and this one is in Snow, Glass, Apples, it showed the misrepresentation of the story, but it also showed that the events were still true. The Evil Queen really tried to poison Snow White, but she had her reasons. In The Stepsister’s Tale, the author made it so that the stepsisters were absolutely kind, and everything was Cinderella’s fault. In this sense, there was a role reversal. I think I would have liked it more if the characters weren’t made to be so absolutely good or so absolutely bad.

I would have to admit though, that Tracy Bennett’s imagining of the novel is very much commendable. It seems like a simple enough plot, but if I were tasked to think of something like this, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to do it. The idea is really great, and I always enjoy reading from another perspective, but I think it could still be improved.

amazing-interpretation stars

Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco {3.5}

Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date:  March 7th, 2017
Pages: 411
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

The Bone Witch is one of those books with an amazing cover and a very intriguing synopsis, so when I received this for review, I was really ecstatic! I immediately wanted to read it, but I also didn’t want to read it that soon because I knew that the release date is still so far away. Finally, I decided to read it without regard for the release date, and I’m glad I did!

What I Liked:
1. The Concept
I feel like the concept for The Bone Witch is such a unique one. There are a lot of fantasy books out there, but I believe that none of them are like this book. It’s about Asha (magic-wielders) who use different types of elements to their advantage. And there there’s the Bone Asha – people who can people from the dead. Although there are many books with magic wielders out there, none have magic wielders who are also entertainers. Also, this book has dragons! Isn’t that just something to be excited about?

2. How Interesting It Is
As I said above, the concept is very unique, thus it’s also very intriguing. There were so many things that happened in the book, and there were conspiracies buried underneath all that glamour. Hushed whispers and secrets fill this book, and I couldn’t help but be captivated.

3. The Setting
Well, not exactly the setting, but how the setting in the book was described so vividly. I can imagine everything, from the asha-ka, to what the ashas were wearing, to how the asha performed dances. I feel like I had been inside the world of the author and that’s not a feat that can be accomplished by many authors.

4. The Narrative Style
The Bone Witch is told in a way that is in flashbacks. The main character is actually telling the story of everything to a story teller. To be honest, I was surprised that I liked this. In the other books that I’ve read, I’ve always hated it when the narrative was done this way. However, with this book, it just added to the intrigue of the story, and I felt like it made me want to read more.

What I Didn’t Like:
1. It Was Dragging
The Bone Witch has a very interesting concept, but it has a tendency to drag at some parts. I found myself skipping some narratives. It also took me a long time to finish the book because of these parts.

2. The Lack of Information
This complaint is coming from the selfish part of me, and not really a big issue. I just feel like I need to know more about what the main character is planning for the future because I hate being kept in the dark. I feel like there’s still too many mysteries, and I can’t predict the direction the next book would go because of the vagueness of it all.

That said, I enjoyed reading The Bone Witch, but at the same time I felt like it was too dragging and felt like too little information was given. I really want to know what happens next though!

3.5 dragging but interesting stars

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli {3.0}

 

Title: The Last Namsara
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2017
Pages: Kindle, 132 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

 

Ugh, I’m so conflicted about this book, but I’ll try my best to write a review. The Last Namsara was a book that excited me because dragons!! It reminded me of my childhood, where I read Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, and I immediately jumped at the chance to read this book. However, it wasn’t quite what I expected. Here are the main points.

What I liked:
1. The old stories: In between some chapters, the old stories regarding the namsara, the iskari, the old god, and the dragons are told. The manner in which these stories were told is so captivating and mesmerizing, and it sort of lulls you in some kind of a trance where you just want to devour them. The lengths and word choices are perfect, and I really loved how everything flows.

2. The intricately woven plot: The plot was so intricate and clearly well-thought of for it to be able to unravel in the manner that it did. There were so many secrets, and they were revealed in a manner that was intriguing. There were also some twists and turns that although weren’t exactly surprising, unfolded in an amazing manner.

3. The dragons, of course: I just really loved how there were dragons in the story, and how the dragons seemed to have emotions as well, even though they don’t really speak.

4. The romance: The romance in this story was a slow burn one, which for something that so many people like, exists in only a few YA novels. The romance unfolded in slow manner, and it really made me feel all the feels! So props to Ciccarelli for that!

5. The last 10-20% of the book: The last 10% or 20% of the book was fast-paced, exciting, blood pumping, and completely captivating. At that point, I couldn’t put the book down anymore, and I just devoured everything as quickly as possible, while still absorbing every word written in the novel. It was exhilirating, and I could only wish that the first part of the book was exciting as the end.

 

What I disliked:
1. Entitled main character: For the most part of the novel, the main character felt so entitled and above everyone, and she had quite an attitude for people who are not her family. She scoffed down on people, and treated some badly, especially the slaves. However, I’m glad that this was a bit resolved in the end.

2. Dragging: This is my main issue with the book. The beginning and middle parts of the book were so slow-paced, and very, very dragging. I wish at least half of the book were as exciting as the last part, then I have no doubt that it would be one of my favorite books. Sadly, it didn’t deliver.

I’m still not sure if I want to read the next book or not. The last few chapters kind of made me want to read what the results of the characters’ actions are, but I just couldn’t get through another book that might be as dragging as this one. It took me a long time to finished this book, although I am glad that I didn’t give up on it.

3 did-not-deliver stars

Dress Up That Cover #74: The Secret of a Heart Note

  Dress Up That Cover is a new feature where I create an outfit based merely on the cover, not the story nor what the characters would wear. Colors of the outfit will all be taken from the cover design, so the books may be ones that I haven’t read yet. All sets will be created via Polyvore.

ARC Review: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber {4.0}

Author: Katherine Webber
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: March 4th, 2017
Pages: Paperback, 338
My Rating: 4 Stars

Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights in this sweeping, warm, arrestingly original novel about family, poverty, and hope.

Wing Jones, like everyone else in her town, has worshipped her older brother, Marcus, for as long as she can remember. Good-looking, popular, and the star of the football team, Marcus is everything his sister is not.

Until the night everything changes when Marcus, drunk at the wheel after a party, kills two people and barely survives himself. With Marcus now in a coma, Wing is crushed, confused, and angry. She is tormented at school for Marcus’s mistake, haunted at home by her mother and grandmothers’ grief. In addition to all this, Wing is scared that the bank is going to repossess her home because her family can’t afford Marcus’s mounting medical bills.

Every night, unable to sleep, Wing finds herself sneaking out to go to the school’s empty track. When Aaron, Marcus’s best friend, sees her running one night, he recognizes that her speed, skill, and agility could get her spot on the track team. And better still, an opportunity at a coveted sponsorship from a major athletic gear company. Wing can’t pass up the opportunity to train with her longtime crush and to help her struggling family, but can she handle being thrust out of Marcus’s shadow and into the spotlight?

While I was reading the first few chapters of The Heartbeats of Wing Jones, I thought I would not like the story. I thought it was weird because I am sure that this is supposed to be a contemporary novel, so I didn’t get what was up with the dragon and the lioness. To be honest, I still don’t get it after I closed the book, but I must tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. This is the first book I’ve read in a sitting for a long, long time, and that says a lot about how much I enjoyed this book.

The Heartbeats of Wing Jones is unlike any story I’ve ever read. It combines family, love, racism, sports, and self-discovery into a books that’s only a few hundred pages. It centers on Wing Jones, who has always lived in the shadows of her older brother Marcus, a football star. But everything changes when Marcus gets into a drunk driving accident that kills two people. Marcus himself is in the hospital, barely surviving. Then Wing discovers that she can run, and run she does. She joins the track team and proves to everyone that she can shine as well as her brother.

I don’t usually like books that center on sports because I tend to be clueless about them, but this one caught me by surprise. I really liked how sports played a huge role in the story, and how the main character grew by joining a sports team. I loved the journey Wing took in order to make everyone accept her, and to finally accept herself for who she is – quirks and all. The self-discovery and self-acceptance the main character went through was phenomenal, and it was definitely what made me love this book so much.

The family dynamics is unique. When Marcus got into the accident that landed him in the hospital, Wing’s family became consisted of only women. Two grandmothers, her mother, and Wing. Although there was not a “man of the house,” all four women worked hard in their own ways to help the family in the time of grief and financial instability. Although they may be stubborn, they do care very much for each other. The family also consisted of a number of races. Wing is a mix of being American, Asian and Black, and it really sends across a message of breaking racial barriers.

Overall, this book is surprisingly amazing and deeply enjoyable. I do recommend it to anyone who is interested. I swear, this book will not be like any other book that you have read.

4 deeply enjoyable stars

Review: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine {4.0}

Title: The Impostor Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderly Books
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
Pages: Paperback, 432
My Rating: 4 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.


Oh, man! I can’t believe I haven’t read a Sarah Fine book before because The Impostor Queen is absolutely stunning! I have been suffering from a reading slump since December, and this book effectively pulled me out of that slump. For that, I would forever be thankful.

Elli was prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule, but when her Valtia dies and she finally takes the throne, no magic comes to her. After a series of tests executed by the high priests, it was confirmed that she has no magic at all. She barely escaped with her life to the outlands, where the banished people lives. There, she learns more about the prophecy, and the role that she has to play.

I am not much of a fan of fantasy novels because I gravitate towards contemporary, but if I read fantasy books, these are the kinds of books that I love to read. It’s light, yet the world and plot building are impeccable. Sarah Fine is a phenomenal author who knows how to find the perfect balance, and I loved her book for it. It wasn’t like some other fantasy books where it’s slow to start and then it’s so full of excitement in the last few chapters. This one was balanced, and that made it more commendable and not at all boring at the first few chapters.

It’s been a while since I last read a book with magic, and I have to say that I absolutely loved it in this book! The kind of magic in this novel is very unique, and it really satisfied me. The world was just so interesting and engaging that I was always on my seat, eating up the story and being excited about the events. I also loved the manner in which the events unfolded, and just the general direction of where the story went. This very unique books just really piqued my interest.

Gosh, I really can’t wait to read the next book! Too bad I would have to wait such a long time for it! Oh, man, I feel like I’m being punished for reading this book so early. I recommend this for those looking for not-so-heavy fantasy books. 

4 new-author-up-my-radar stars

September Wrap Up

 

After two terms of doing my undergraduate thesis in AB Psychology on LGBT and conversion therapy, I am officially back to blogging! It’s sad when I saw that I’ve only read 20 books so far (compared to the 100 books I’ve read every year before), so I’m trying to catch up with that as well.

I also made some changes on the design of the blog in terms of the blog header and the graphics I use for each post. What do you guys think about the changed I made?

(The old Header)(New header and blog graphics)

Finally, I shifted from Blogger to WordPress! What do you guys think? I’m now http://www.divergentgryffindorblog.wordpress.com instead of http://www.divergentgryffindor.blogspot.com, yay!

 

 
What book should I read first, though?
Thank you, Netgalley and Edelweiss for these!
Thank you, Macmillan Audio for these audiobooks!
 Thank you, JM and PRH Global for making me a part of the blog tour!
Bought from the Manila International Book Fair at a much discounted price!

 

 

  1. Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton  ★★★★ – Get a glimpse of what it’s like to be in the head of someone with schizophrenia.
  2. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi  ★★ – Not really worth the hype, in my opinion.
  3. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera  ★★★★★ – Please enlighten yourselves and read this perfect novel by Adam Silvera!
  4. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas  ★★★★★ – Every bit as explosive as I expected, and still managed to top my expectations to garner 5 stars!
  5. Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows  ★★★ – I found myself disliking how much the girl pitied herself, and how the emphasis was on the physical appearance
  6. Ruined by Amy Tintera  ★★★★ – I was so surprised at how amazing this is, and it looks like I have another series to look forward to.
  7. Hunted by Meagan Spooner  ★★★★ – Beauty and the Beast was never retold with this much emotion before, featuring a headstrong Belle who actually uses her brain. Must-read!
  8. Top Ten by Katie Cotugno  ★★★ – Started out annoying but ended just okay. Kinda meh.

 

  1. Dress Up That Cover #72: Not If I See You First
  2. Dress Up That Cover #73: We Are Okay
  3. EVENT RECAP: Manila Internation Book Bair (#MIBF)