Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi {2.5}

Title: Riders

 

Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Riders #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February16th, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 384
My Rating: 2.5 Stars
Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

 

I read Veronica Rossi’s first series based on impulse. The author was coming to the Philippines, so I bought the first book to be signed. Little did I expect that I would be completely sucked in by the story. So when I learned that she was coming up with a new series, I was really, really excited! It didn’t matter what the story was about, it didn’t matter that there was no synopsis yet; I just wanted to get my hands on it immediately.
All those said, I felt like Riders was a disappointment. Maybe it’s because of my expectations, or maybe I just really didn’t like the writing style in this one. Riders is told by a character being interrogated in the present, so he has to narrate the whole story to the inquisitor. That said, this book is full of narratives and a lot of unnecessary thoughts from the main character. Because of that, this felt like a short story dragged to have 300+ pages.
Writing style aside, I think that the story is pretty amazing. It’s actually very interesting, and it definitely takes on a unique spin to the story. I believe that each of the characters were really able to embody the characteristics of the aspect they were representing. If only this didn’t feel draggy, I’m pretty sure that I would have loved this book.
Overall, I was just disappointed because I felt like it dragged on and on with lots of excessive narrative. It didn’t have the same effect on me as Under the Never Sky had, and I don’t think I will be continuing with this series.
2.5 excessively-dragging stars

Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera {4.5}


Title: Ruined

Author: Amy Tintera
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Pages: 355 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake. 
Thank you, Amy Tintera, for giving me a new fantasy series that I can excited about! Ah, this book is wonderful, and it kind of hurts that I won’t get to read the second book anytime soon. Amy Tintera created a world that is easy to love, no matter how complicated the politics may be. As you guys may know, I am not much of a fantasy fan, so it always takes me by surprise whenever I really, really enjoy a fantasy novel. And Ruined? Well, Ruined did amazing in the books of a not-so-fantasy-fan. Ruined is told in a dual POV, which I just love so much, so that was definitely an added bonus. 
In Ruina, people are valued for the powers they possess. However, Emelina, a member of the royal family, is regarded as useless because of her lack of powers. When the King of Lera waged a war against Ruina, killed her parents and took her sister hostage, Em pretends to be Princess Mary of Vallos in order to execute a complicated plan to avenge her family and save her sister. As Princess Mary, Em had to marry Prince Casimir of Lera, where she realized that Prince Cas is not what she expected at all.
One of my absolute favorite things about this book is the blood-pumping action that made it hard to resist to keep turning the pages. My heart was literally pounding because of the action-packed chapters, and I’ve never been more excited while reading a book! I felt everything as though I were the main characters, and that’s just one of the most amazing things ever. Although this book is action-packed, Tintera still managed to make this one well-paced. 
And the romance! The romance just made me feel so giddy. I’m a hopeless romantic, and I just love reading about romances like these. I feel like they’re full of tension, which just makes everything all the more exciting. Em and Cas slowly started seeing more of who the other truly is, and that process of liking each other despite not expecting to do so just makes me happy. 
Ah, Ruined truly is an amazing book, and I just cannot wait for the next books in the series! This is definitely a book that I would recommend. Oh, just please let me have the second book already!
4.5 surprisingly-amazing stars. 

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas {5.0}

 
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin

 

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children Books
Publication Date:  May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 699 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
I’ve been delaying reading this for months now because I was writing my undergraduate thesis and I knew that this is the type of book that you don’t put down. I was right. When I started reading this a few days ago, I was worried because I hadn’t read a big book in a long time, and I was on a mini-reading slump, but after reading this book, I am finally free of that reading slump!
This book is as intense, exciting, mind-blowing and emotion-capturing as I expected it to be, and I have no complaints whatsoever, only praises! The story arc is as complicated and simple as I hoped it would be – meaning complicated enough that it would capture my attention and keep me from putting the book down, and simple enough that it’s not hard to keep up with.
There’s so many things in this book that can be discussed, but I’ll try to keep this short. First, this book made me realize how much I feel sorry for Tamlin, but I’m glad that things were clear regarding his character towards the end of the book. He was portrayed at first as someone who is very kind, then cruel, and then eventually towards the end you just kind of see him as a whole person, and not just his parts, and for that I really liked this book.
Second, I really loved the roles the rest of Feyre’s family played in this novel, with Nesta, Elain and even their father. I love how their characters not exactly transformed, but grew to encompass so much more. I love how they helped each other and how their characters were still true to who they were in book one.
Third, as always, I loved the sense of family in Rhy’s court, and how they embraced the new additions to their family. Rhys and Feyre were both hard-headed as always, but every one of them were loyal to the core. Eventually, the new additions also adapted this attitude that solidified them as a whole.
Fourth, I loved all the interactions between the High Lords of the courts, from fighting each other, scheming, to eventually working with each other despite their differences. I loved the politics behind which courts would most likely help, and the histories between all the families.
Fifth, I loved the last war scene, which went on for a while. I was literally crying and screaming, which I didn’t really expect would happen. There were so many things that happened and my heart felt happy, sad, heavy, triumphant all in a span of a few minutes, and I wonder how I survived.
Finally, I loved how everything wrapped up together into a perfect 600-page novel that I would never tire recommending to all bookworms out there. This series came to a close in a nice manner, and I’m glad that book 4 is a spin-off rather than a continuation.

 

mind-blowing stars

Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Title: Before We Were Strangers
Author: Renee Carlino
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Pages: 320 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M

“Once there was you and me
We were lovers
We were friends
Before life changed
Before we were strangers
Do you still think of me?”

I’ve had Before We Were Strangers for quite a while, and I’ve been wanting to read the book for so long now, but for some reason I have been putting it off. I remember being completely captivated by the synopsis of this one, and I immediately ordered a copy off The Book Depository because I haven’t seen a copy in the bookstores here in the Philippines. To be honest, when I started reading this the other day, I was debating whether or not this book was worth it. I was thrown off guard because I thought that this was going to be centering around adults around the age of 20-25, because the genre is new adult after all. However, I got two perspectives, starting with an already working male main character who was already divorced once, followed by their perspective set years ago back in college. It was not what I signed up for, and I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it because of that. However, as I read on, I felt more and more connected to the story, and I began to love it.

“The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and-now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is if we embrace the now.”

I’m not sure about this, but I think most of the story takes place when Matt and Grace were still in college years back. It shows how they became friends, and how their friendship developed into something more. Although it seemed like there was always something between them, Grace didn’t want a serious relationship then. It gave us a glimpse of how Matt’s photography career began, and how Grace developed her skills with the Cello. Separated by Matt’s leaving for a job in another country and some misunderstanding, the two never saw each other again. At present, Matt still works for National Geographic with his ex-wife and his boss as his best friend. Then, one day, Matt sees Grace on the train, so he created a post on Missed Connections, which created the bridge for them to meet at the present again.

“It was like the universe was teasing us; we saw each other just a second too late.”

My goodness, this book ripped my heart out to sheds! Although it has been more than a week since I read this book, I can still feel the hurt whenever I remember what transpired in the novel. There was a lot of deceit, hurt, misunderstanding, mistrust, and of course, love. It wouldn’t be complete without love, wouldn’t it? I really connected with the characters and the story, and although it was kind of predictable, it still ripped my heart to shreds. I felt like I could relate to the characters, although I wasn’t sure why. I was really able to put myself in their positions, and experience the story as they were experiencing it. My tears didn’t even care that people would judge me. It just continued to flow, because the emotions that this book made me feel were just too much.

“Life was passing me by at high speed as I sat back with my feet up, rejecting change, ignoring the world, shrugging off anything that threatened to have meaning of relevance.”

I really loved how the story turned out to be. It was kind of slow in the parts when they were in college, but the present point of view makes up for it in excitement. I love how the story was still kind of realistic, in how people just don’t forgive easily just because they love someone; especially because they love someone. I think the ending was a great way to tie things up, but of course I still can’t help but wish for more. Perhaps a companion novel from another character’s perspective?

“That’s why my mother always said we memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.” 

Anyway, I really, really loved this story overall, and I would definitely recommend it! I really connected to the story, and there were so many amazing quotes in the novel as well. The emotions were just a shot straight through the heart for me, and although it hurt like hell, it felt amazing to feel all those along with the characters as well.

4.5 ughdssdfs stars. 

Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson



Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2015
Pages: Paperback, 429
My Rating: 4 Stars

From the author of The Sky Is Every­where, a radiant novel that will leave you laughing and crying – all at once. For fans of John Green, Gayle Forman and Lauren Oliver. Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world. 

I’ll Give You the Sun is a book with a lot of hype surrounding it. I wanted to read it so badly for so long that I even went ahead and ordered the UK version on The Book Depository because I saw that it had amazing paint splatters inside. It was so overhyped at some point that I had really high expectations for it. Then began the reading process, and honestly, I didn’t like this book at first. I was slow to start and I didn’t get what all the hype was about. I actually kind of felt cheated because everyone was raving about it and I just didn’t get it! I didn’t get the point of the book, and I didn’t get what was going on. However, it was only after I finished the whole book that I began to appreciate how truly amazing and hype-worthy this book is.

I’ll Give You the Sun is told in two perspectives – Noah from the past, and Jude during the present. It alternates chapters between two people and two timelines. I have to admit that at first it was a bit confusing but you can just get used to is as you go along. It explores themes of family, friendship, first loves, bullying, LGBT, adultery, self-growth and self-love. It has a simple enough story, but the book was able to touch the surface of many different subjects.

I think what really took me off guard after reading this book is how things are never what they seem. We often judge people by their covers, and oh, how mistaken we are, if this book is to be any basis. The characters in this book held grudges against each other, not knowing what the other did to protect them. They were quick to cast judgements and hate, but if they just let down their prides and talk it out, they would learn that only love lies underneath their actions. This made me think of how often I am quick to cast judgement on those around me, especially on my own family, and it made me realize that maybe we just don’t communicate enough for us to understand each other enough.

Although I thought this book centers on romance, fair warning, it does not. Romance is but a small part of this book, which is mainly why I thought there was nothing happening at first. I thought this was going to be centered on romance, but apparently, I was wrong. It actually has elements on romance in it, but it’s not the main focus of the story. Noah and Jude both found their romances, and of course those parts made me swoon as well.

I don’t think I can get into much detail about this book without spoiling anything, so I’ll cut my review short. I feel like the things I want to mention will be, one way or another, considered spoilers by some because it will give a hint to where the story is going. Anyway, I really liked this book, and I really recommend it to anyone who is interested. Just be warned that this book does not center on romance, and remember to give the book a chance until you finish it before you judge if you like it or not. Happy reading!

4 eye-opening stars

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga


Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
Pages: 133
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

“Sometimes I wonder if my heart is a black holes – it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.”

Ah, how do I write a review about this one? I read this book three days ago, and my mind still can’t form a coherent review to explain all the feelings I had while reading this book, and all the feelings that I still feel whenever I remember the book. However, after closing the book, I had an odd sense that I was supposed to read this book in that exact moment, and it was just an amazing experience. 

“We all want to believe that every day is different, that every day we change, but really, it seems that certain things are coded into us from the very beginning.”

Afraid that they wouldn’t be able to go through with their own respective suicides, Aysel and Roman made a pact to do it together on April 7th. However, as Aysel spends more time with Roman, she sees the world as she has only seen when she was a child, and more and more each day, she hesitates to go through with their agreement. The question is, will she be able to convince Roman to stay with her?

“I want to keep feeling everything. Even the painful, awful, terrible things. Because feeling things is what let’s us know that we’re alive. And I want to be alive.”

Reading this book definitely requires you to be open-minded about both depression and suicide. A big chunk of this book talks about suicide planning, and if that’s something that you cannot stomach, then you better avoid this book. However, if that theme is fine for you, then this book is an amazing book that you have to read ASAP. 

“Because loving you saved me. It’s made me see myself differently, see the world differently. I owe you everything for that.”

Oh, the feelings that this book made me feel! I just felt so connected to the main character that I still have heavy feelings whenever I think of this book. This one definitely took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. My Heart and Other Black Holes showed me that there can be unexpected happiness right around the corner; you just have to hang in there long enough to see it. 

“I wonder if that’s how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out. I don’t want it to win.”

My Heart and Other Black Holes is a book that I put off reading for a while now because of the heavy topic, but now that I’ve read it, I can’t help but tell everyone else to read it. Even though I still can’t form coherent thoughts about all the things that this book made me feel and think of, I still hope that you guys can give this book a chance. As early as this April, I am certain that this would be one of my most memorable reads of 2016. 

“I wonder if joy has a potential energy. Or if there is a potential energy that leads to joy, like a happiness serum that lingers in people’s stomachs and slowly bubbles up to create the sensation we know as happiness.”

4.5 memorable stars. 

Review: The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

Title: The One Thing
Author: Marci Lyn Curtis
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date:  September 8th, 2015
Pages: 336 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars

Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met.Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future… before she loses everything she has grown to love.

When I read the synopsis for The One Thing, I was immediately captivated. I read a book about a main character who is blind before in Wattpad and I loved it, so of course I was anticipating this one. I was expecting this to be a bit depressing given the situation, but no. The main character is so snarky and her friend Ben is a ten-year-old smart ass. Gosh, I have so much love for this book, and I read this just at the right moment.

The journey that the main character took was fantastic.
She didn’t rely on anyone else but herself, and she changed mostly for herself too. Yes, Ben and other circumstances were catalysts, but she changed and snapped out of it because of her own realizations and not because she fell in love or was told to do so. This book took me to a roller coaster of emotions; I smiled, laugh, cried and bawled my eyes out. (And yes, I realized that I said cried and bawled my eyes out because those were the stages of my crying.) But what I loved about this book was that even though I cried my eyes out, it made me feel so happy and so full of life. It made me feel so inspired that I just wanted to jump up and start really living. The book was just so honest, so gritty, and so full of life.
“That’s the one thing about being blind: you see people as they really are.”
Romance was not a central part of this story. It was only on the side that Maggie and Mason’s romance bloomed, but oh my gosh, I still felt a rush of feels. This book is also filled with lots of amazing quotes, and now my copy is full of pink tabs because there were just a lot of amazing passages. I haven’t rated a contemporary book 5 stars in a long time, but this book is no doubt a solid 5! I couldn’t even put this book down while I was reading it, and when I absolutely had to, it was like the Choppin + Clarissa song in Maggie’s head – it’s constantly there on my mind.

I was a little sad that this book had to end, but I realized that for me, the story will never end because I will bring it with me in my heart wherever I go. This book is just full of meaning, emotions and life; it’s monumental. If you haven’t read the book yet, then what the heck are you waiting for? Hurry up and go buy yourself a copy! This is definitely a must-read.

aahhh-idsjfsoidghis! stars

Review: What Things Mean by Sophia Lee

Title: What Things Mean
Author: Sophia N. Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: May, 2015
Pages: 133
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

FOR OLIVE GUERRERO, DIFFERENT IS MORE THAN JUST A WORD.

What does it mean to be different? 14-year-old Olive is struggling to find out. Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-colored beauties who are all popular and Good At Sports. She closely resembles a father she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks, and no one wants to tell her why. She turns to books and other things in her quest to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.

A unique coming-of-age story unfolding through dictionary-style chapters, What Things Mean takes a closer look at the things that define a life, and the many ways in which we find meaning.

*Grand Prize Winner, Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014

I was sent a copy of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When Sophia Lee sent me an email regarding this book, I was immediately on board because I love supporting Filipino authors. I didn’t know if I would like the story, but it seemed pretty interesting to me. I felt excited to be reading a contemporary novel by a Filipino author. But then I read it and boom! It’s one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read and I would read anything that Sophia Lee writes in the future. 

“Maybe, that’s how it’s meant to be. Maybe we all have to let go of things, and people, in order to keep our balance. Maybe that’s the only way to keep moving forward.”

What Things Mean is written in a way that each chapter starts with definitions of a certain word that would be relevant in the chapter. It follows Olive, a fourteen-year-old girl who feels different from her family. Only she has dark skin and likes pickles in her family, and she thinks that her father might be the source of the difference. However, the thing is, no one in her family is willing to tell her about who he is. 

“Maybe she’s trying to understand how, in the space of a minute, something can turn from a thing that fulfills you entirely to something that empties you out.”

What Things Mean is written in such a beautiful way. There were so many notable quotes that I had a fear that I would ran out of sticky tabs (I put sticky tabs when I find a nice quote). Another amazing thing about this book is how I’ve never been in the situation of the main character, but I definitely felt everything that was narrated in the story. Tagos talaga sa puso, grabe! 

“Light always remains. The world turns, and days pass, and the sun warms the places that need it. Maybe that is how it is with everything else. Things go where they are needed, and when they do, we simply learn how to live without them.”

I really think that this is the type of book that should be made into book reports. I think that those in high school would really be able to appreciate this one because it’s easy to understand but at the same time it’s also very meaningful. Everyone is sure to find a quote or two that would be relevant in his/her life. Plus, this book is a quick read, although it’s also a book that’s meant to be savored and taken in slowly. 

“I was always going to be somewhere, stepping over some line. We all were – even if we didn’t want to admit it. There was only forward or backward, and an infinite line of changes either way.”

Another thing I enjoyed is reading about the Filipino culture within the pages. Every time I saw things like chocnut or adobo, I smiled because it’s rare that I get to read something that’s not literary fiction with references to Filipino culture. I’m actually not actually Filipino myself, but I was born and grew up here, so this is the culture that I know and love. 

“I know now that things are always more than what they mean. Things mean different things to people. People are the ones who give meaning to things.”

I really, really loved this book, more so than I first thought I would. This book deserves to be read by everyone, especially Filipino youth. It’s so meaningful yet concise at the same time, so there would be no room for boredom. I definitely recommend this! 
Thank you Sophia Lee and Scholastics for providing me a copy of this novel!

4.5 amazingly-written stars. 

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! Eeep!


Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publication Date: September 29th, 2015
Pages: 465
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.” 


Oh my goodness, why didn’t I read this book sooner? From the moment I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I wanted to read it. It screams of adventure and excitement, and indeed those were what I got. No wonder a lot of people are raving about this book! 

“You love trickery.”
“I love puzzles. Trickery is just my native tongue.” 

My favorite thing about Six of Crows is how it focuses on the plot rather than anything else – such as the characters or background or overly descriptive events – but still manages to let us know the characters and the world well. I don’t say this of many books, but I’m actually glad that this book didn’t focus on the romance aspect of each character; instead, they were just a side plot. In most cases, multiple POVs with that many characters don’t work for me, but with this one the plot still flowed seamlessly.

“Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet. And even if he is too poor to give you any of them, it won’t matter because he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.” 

I believe that Six of Crows is the type of book to be savored, instead of devoured. It’s something that’s meant to be read slowly, instead of quickly because of its intricately woven plot. The heist is a complicated and high-risk job, but with the skill set of the thieves and Kaz’s crazy plans, they entered the battlefield. And can I just say, I still don’t know if I love or hate Kaz‘s keeping things from the rest of the crew? He’s such a complex character, and I want to know more!

“We are all someone’s monster.” 


All the characters in this novel are very interesting, even those who didn’t have chapters for them. They were portrayed in such a manner that made me want to know all of them personally – even Rollins and Van Eck, actually. Kaz is of course the most complex character of all, but they all are equally complex, with a lot of secrets and tricks up their sleeves. I’m really interested in Jesper’s story, though!

“Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.” 

In the end, it has been bomb after bomb dropped, so I really cannot wait to read the next book! I can’t wait to see what happens next; what this band of criminals have up their sleeves. The book is enjoyable, exciting, exhilarating and entertaining, so obviously, it’s not hard to fall in love with it. This is my first Leigh Bardugo book, and I have to say that I am now a fan!

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.” 

4.5 exciting-and-exhilarating stars. 

DNF Review: Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman


Title: Empire of Dust
Author: Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
Pages: 432
My Rating:

In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands—but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat.

Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt.

The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon’s undoing.

And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome—and deadly—captor.

New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy to reimagine the world’s most brilliant ruler, Alexander the Great, in the second book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

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

This pains me so much because this is just not me, but dnf at 57%

I received a copy of Legacy of Kings last year and I was so happy to read it. I was really very interested in the story of Alexander the Great, especially his teenage years. I also really loved the fact that Eleanor Herman is a historian, so even though this has a dash of fantasy with it, the accounts would mostly be true to history. However, I didn’t really like it because there were too many POVs. As such, the whole story arc is just actually really short. At the end of the book, I was so unfulfilled because I felt like the events were still too few.

When I received a copy of Empire of Dust for review, I literally screamed with joy because I thought I would finally get the story that I so wanted to know more of. However, it turns out that I have the same problem with this one as I did the first book. Still, there are so many POVs and still, at 57%, there is nothing truly interesting going on. It still feels like I’m in the first few chapters of the book, instead of being past the middle.

One thing you guys should know about me is that I rarely dnf a book. I think the number of books I’ve dnf-ed in my entire life amounts to less than 10 books. However, it just so happens that I really have a lot of things on my plate now and this is just not cutting it. I’ve been reading this book for days and days already, and I just don’t have the patience right now to sit through it again (since it already happened in the first book).

I might get back to reading this one once I have more free time because honestly, this is a really interesting story. It’s very unique and it would be a waste not to know what happened. I think that this book truly has the potential to be amazing. It’s just that it’s at a much slower pace than I prefer.