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


 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?



#NightwalkerPH Blog Tour: Batman Nightwalker {5 stars}


 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.


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
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}



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

ARC Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye {2.0}

Title: The Crown’s Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown’s Game #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 399
My Rating: 2 Stars

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

I had a hard time deciding what rating to give this book because while I didn’t really enjoy it, I didn’t really hate it either. However, upon thinking about it, I realized that I have no desire to read the next book, so I decided to just give this book 2 stars. I know a lot of people loved this book, and I really wanted to love this book because of the amazing concept, but it turns out that I am yet again the black sheep.

What I Liked:
1. The premise of this book is very interesting: Set in Russia, the two enchanters born of that time (1800’s) were to enter in the Crown’s Game to duel each other until one dies and the other becomes the Grand Enchanter of Russia. I mean, it has magic and it’s set in Russia! I really was interested in that plot, and I felt like it would be a really unique book.

2. The vivid descriptions: In the game, the enchanters were tasked to please Pasha for his birthday celebration, so the enchanters created a lot of beautiful things such as fountains, magical boxes that would create masquerade gowns, islands, etc. The author did a really great job of describing these, and I felt like I was able to see those things clearly.

3. The writing: Not that it was anything special, but I felt like the writing was good. I had no problems with the pacing and choice of words. And as mentioned above, the author is really good in descriptions without being too overbearing with words.

What I Didn’t Like:
1. Multiple POVs: I don’t usually have problems with multiple POVs, especially when the book is in the third person perspective, but I was just annoyed in the execution of it in this book. At first I thought there was already this set amount of narrators, but throughout the book, new ones just keep popping out. I would prefer it if from the start, I knew which people would get to narrate the novel, because I was just confused at times why there were new ones popping out, even neat the end of the book.

2. Love Square?: I don’t really like love triangles, but this novel has a love square! It was infuriating because I was really looking forward to the magic element of the novel, but at some point the focus became the romance. And can I just say how predictable it is that Vika and Nikolai would fall in love with each other? I think I would have preferred it if it became Vika + Pasha and Nikolai + Renata, just for the sake of being different for once.

3. Bland: I don’t know, this book just wasn’t interesting enough for me. I was really looking forward to reading this book the longest times, but it fell short of my expectations. In my opinion, it lacks the excitement that I wanted it to have, so I didn’t really mind if I was interrupted or anything.

bland-bland-bland stars

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson {5.0}

Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sandeson
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date:  September 24th, 2013
Pages: 386 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
I almost gave up on this book, but thankfully, I didn’t. I have started reading Steelheart numerous times already, but like The Book Thief, I have never gotten past 2-3 chapters until today. And oh my goodness, this book took me by surprise! Why the heck did I not read this book, or any other Brandon Sanderson book sooner?! Ugh, I’m so frustrated with myself, and I just freaking need the next book already!
Steelheart is one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. The concept of the book is one of the most unique ones I’ve encountered in YA. I’ve never seen a book about supervillains before, and this immediately caught my attention. In this book, the main character is a human who want to defeat a supervillain with superpowers. Long gone was the time they believed that there would be good Epics rather than bad. 
The excitement and the action in the book was just addicting. This book definitely has that can’t-put-down factor. Tt has been a long time since I have read a book like that, which is why this book is all the more precious to me. As I was reading, my heart was definitely pounding, and I even reacted physically, not just in my head. That, for me, is a great indicator of how amazing a book is because I typically don’t like showing my reactions to other people. And I was reading in public, mind you. 
This book is a paradox for me because while there were a few times that it caught me off guard, it felt kind of predictable to me as well. But I won’t be deducting any stars for that because this book deserves no less than 5 stars. There were tiny moments when this book made me go :O, but mostly I was able to guess things before they even happened. Why couldn’t I deduct a star? Simply because the fact that the book is predictable doesn’t deduct from the excitement. Even though I guessed some of the things that would happen, it still totally made my heart pound with excitement.
Oh my goodness, I have so many questions about this book. I have read the sneak peek for the second book at the end of this book, and I kind of regret it because it just makes me want to read the second book more. There are still a lot of loose ends that would have to be answered throughout the series, and I cannot wait! Whereas the first book took some time for the action to take off, the second book immediately starts with one. Ugh, I need to get my hands on that book! 
Overall, this book is completely amazing! If you guys are tired of the cheesy romances in most YA fantasy novels, try this one for a kickass main character and minor romance. Endless recommendations for this one, seriously. Now I’m off to cry because I still don’t have the next book yet. On the flip side, I have other Brandon Sanderson novels on my bookshelf..

why-the-heck-didn’t-i-read-this-sooner?! stars

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas {4.0}

Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Chilren’s Books
Publication Date: September 26th, 2016
Pages: Paperback, 693
My Rating: 4 Stars


The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

This is actually not the first time I have started Empire of Storms. The first time I started it was immediately after its release, but I found that it couldn’t hold me attention and I couldn’t get past a hundred pages so I put off reading it until now. Honestly, I was scared because I love SJM and this is one of my favorites series of all time, and if I didn’t like this book, that would forever tarnish the series. Thankfully, that didn’t happen; however, I didn’t love this book as much as I loved the rest of the books on the series.

Sarah J. Maas writes the fifth book in her novel with the same excitement and element of surprise as how she wrote the other books in the series. The plot is amazing and intricately woven, the characters are badass, and the events are either blood-pumping or heart-stopping. What this book lacked, however, was the hold of my attention. It took me a long time to finish because it didn’t fully grip me, and there wasn’t much that happened that I loved. But with this book, I came to realize something, and that’s what I’m gonna talk about in this review.

Sarah J. Maas crafts her characters in such a way that they are not perfect. Take Aelin, our main protagonist, for example. She is the main character, yet a lot of people, including myself, think she’s an arrogant b*tch. And yes, she may be that, but I love her nonetheless because she protects those she cares about with all her heart. She shows the world how cruel she is, she keeps a strong facade of arrogance and fearlessness, so her companions wouldn’t have to worry about anything. And yes, she may be arrogant at times, but a protagonist who is perfect is boring. SJM portrays a good balance of good and bad in every single one of the characters, and it just makes them all the more real to me. Because that’s how life is – filled with both positives and negatives.

Aedion, Aelin’s cousin, is not perfect as well. Albeit being an amazing warrior and completely ready to help his cousin, he couldn’t help but doubt her at times. His temper is bad as well. Lysandra is very smart and will follow Aelin to the ends of whatever world, but she has her demons that she has to face. Lorcan is so, so evil that he’s so easy to hate, but he was easy to warm up to as well. Every single one of the characters possess something that made me want to scream at each one of the throughout the novel, and I loved it. Because it makes them human, and it makes them all the more relatable to. This is something that I don’t often see in YA fantasy, and I’m glad that SJM did it.

Overall, I didn’t love this book as much as I loved all the other books from the series, but I did stumble upon an amazing realization that changed the way I viewed the series, as well as each of the characters, as a whole. Of course, even though this isn’ a favorite, I still couldn’t wait to read the next book because oh goodness, there’s still so much to be learned about the world and the plot. I can’t wait for book 6!

a-new-perspective stars