Heart Bones and Without Merit by Colleen Hoover: Book Review // I lost my way in this Co-Ho edition

Title: Heart Bones
Author: Colleen Hoover
Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Slightly warm
Page Count and Format: 338 pages, Ebook
Published: August 19th 2020 by Hoover Ink, Inc.
Source: Purchased
Trigger Alert: Death, addiction

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Life and a dismal last name are the only two things Beyah Grim’s parents ever gave her. After carving her path all on her own, Beyah is well on her way to bigger and better things, thanks to no one but herself.

With only two short months separating her from the future she’s built and the past she desperately wants to leave behind, an unexpected death leaves Beyah with no place to go during the interim. Forced to reach out to her last resort, Beyah has to spend the remainder of her summer on a peninsula in Texas with a father she barely knows. Beyah’s plan is to keep her head down and let the summer slip by seamlessly, but her new neighbour Samson throws a wrench in that plan.

Samson and Beyah have nothing in common on the surface.

She comes from a life of poverty and neglect; he comes from a family of wealth and privilege. But one thing they do have in common is that they’re both drawn to sad things. Which means they’re drawn to each other. With an almost immediate connection too intense for them to continue denying, Beyah and Samson agree to stay in the shallow end of a summer fling. What Beyah doesn’t realize is that a rip current is coming, and it’s about to drag her heart out to sea.


Heart Bones is a story about hope and faith.

Beyah Grim’s life is literally grim with an addict mother who suddenly passes away and a father with whom she barely has any contact. Beyah keeps her mother’s death a secret while she calls her father who readily agrees to make her a part of his life.

Beyah was epically hesitant with her father and his family. Which was pretty normal according to me after all she has been through. Her father, on the other hand, is extremely rich and the new lifestyle comes as a pretty big shock to her. Although there were ups and downs, the family dynamics of the book touched my heart. I was glad to see no cliched evil stepmother or stepsister. Instead, we were given a family who was willing to try their best to include Beyah in their life.

Samson is introduced as the playboy by Beyah’s step-sister who bytheway is pretty awesome. Like Beyah, I thought she was going to be portrayed as one of those mean girls, but her being compassionate, smart and kind. When it came to Samson, I was hesitant as well, however as the book proceeded, I fell in love with him, just like Beyah. He is a layered character who sometimes frustrated me but also made me root for him.

The plot twist is another thing I did not see coming. As usual. However, Beyah’s understanding and faith warmed my heart. The ending just brought a HUGE smile to my face. The hope, ohmygod the hope this book made me feel. This book was worth the 3 AM reads so definitely recommend it.


Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Slightly warm
Page Count and Format: 385 pages, Ebook
Published: October 3rd 2017 by Atria Books
Source: Purchased
Trigger Alert: Addiction, attempted suicide, physical and mental abuse, cheating 

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.


The blurb speaks out the truth. The Voss family is terrifically not normal. Not at all.

It felt weird reading this book since the family dynamics were so messed up. Such a contrast to Heart Bones, that I felt out of place reading this. My mind was a mess. Merit is the epitome of the rebel kid. She has so much anger and frustration which is evident in her every action. I didn’t like her siblings much, I understand the lack of relationship among them but leaving her out of everything did not feel right, not when she hasn’t done anything.  ALSO, Merit’s father lives with his new wife while his ex-wife lives in the basement?! Like how is that relatively possible? The chaos does not stop.

Sagan was weird. NO, every character in this book was. He kisses Merit by thinking she is her identical twin, and later he just gives some justification which I honestly cannot remember right now, but it was based on- we were always friends. Um, okay, if you say so. Though I was glad he stood by her side when no one else was.

The biggest issue I faced within the book was that I didn’t quite understand what was going on. The story felt stuck along with the characters and I was bored. Then all of a SUDDEN, everything comes crashing down with the plot twist. The things which did not make sense in the beginning finally begins to clear up from this point onwards. I honestly sped read the pages since nothing was happening before this and everything was happening at once. The abuse came to light which broke my heart. However, I was relieved to see how the aftermath of the consequence and every else was wrapped up. Although I was not a fan of the characters, I was thrown aback by the plot which held my attention after the big revelations. 

This book focused on quite a few heavy issues, however, portraying them all at once did not play to the advantage of this book. This book is not thankfully not heavy on romance since it’s the last thing you need. Second chances and hope are the key messages to take away from this book, however, it might not be everybody’s cup of tea.



Hey guys? Have you read these two books or either? Do you read Co-Ho’s books? If yes, which one is your favourite? Any recommendations? 

CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY BY PATRICK NESS: BOOK REVIEW // A MERCIFUL ADVENTURE?

Title(s): The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking trilogy
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-fi, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Format: Paperback
Published: Candlewick Press
Source: Purchased
Trigger Warning: Violence, war, death (of loved ones)

Blurb (from Goodreads):

The Knife of Never Letting Go (book 1)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. 

The Ask and the Answer (book 2)

We were in the square, in the square where I’d run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her – But there weren’t no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men…

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…

Monsters of Men (book 3)

As a world-ending war surges to life around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.


The Choas Walking trilogy was on my 2020 Accountability list. This series has been sitting on my shelves for quite a few years and I finally wanted to cross them off my list. I knew this was a good series from all the glowing reviews on Goodreads, I just honestly didn’t expect to enjoy it this much since I had grown out of the dystopian genre.

An engaging & investing plot

One of the biggest advantages of this series is that it has a good balance between the plot and the characters. Neither was too heavy. The book starts off with introducing our main protagonist Todd Hewitt who is the only boy in town (a blink away from becoming a man when he turns 13). and Prentisstown is where the adventure begins.

From the very beginning, there’s this lurking feeling that something’s wrong.

Well, what do you expect? The town has no woman. Literally NONE. They have all died in the Spackle war (as told in the first book).

Here comes another interesting aspect. The Spackles. The alien race who were the actual residents of the “New World” which they have colonised. Their history and backstory were really intriguing. As the book proceeds, a lot of new info pops up. It never feels like an info dump, rather it pulls the story forward. I really loved the worldbuilding, from Prentisstown to New Haven, everything just keeps getting better.

The best part of the book is the story is constantly moving. With the characters and there is no dull moment.

Then there’s war. And BOOM (which was brutal, tragic but also epic!!). 

So yes, it was not a merciful adventure at all. 🙃

The NOISE

The noise is the showstopper of the book.

All the men have “the Noise”. It’s constant chaos and the writing style prominently depicts that.

The Noise virus affects every man in the “New World”, so basically, there is zero privacy since everybody can hear everybody’s thoughts. Image how horrifying that would be in real life. Just thinking about it gives me the creeps.

Likeable characters

Ohmygosh, the characters!

There’s a lot of them. However, I could remember each of them because each of them was distinctly fleshed out.

Some characters you want to kill, brutally. Some you wanna hug them to death.

Okay, so I literally love Todd to death. He is a stubborn kid who believes everything will be okay when he turns 13. But then, he meets Viola.

Todd was told there was no woman left on “New World.” Viola is literally the first girl Todd actually sees. Then his world takes a massive 180-degree turn. I am a huge romance fan. Like, I want a bit of romance in my every read but I really didn’t mind the lack of romance in this series although there’s a teeny tiny bit in the last one. I really, really enjoyed the character development of both Todd and Viola. I rooted for them from the beginning and they grow up so much throughout the whole series.

Then there’s Ben and Cillian, Todd’s gay dads who you immediately fall in love with. However, Mayor Prentis and Mistree Coyle are the two characters to look out for. I just literally wanted to strangle them both, they are super awesome characters. 🙃 You just have to listen to them talking, it makes your blood boil.

I did really hate Prentis Jr at the beginning, but he became a grey character for me in the end. Also, a special shoutout goes to Manche, I loved that dog to death.

If you haven’t read this series, please do. It makes you are riding a hurricane.

The writing style

The central factor of the book. There’s a thing about Ness’s writing style which captures you from the very beginning. It was the same when I read A Monster Calls. PLUS, the way the “Noise” was represented, I um, loved it. VERY MUCH.

Recommend it?

Yes!

Also, who’s excited about the movie? 

I am excited to see Tom Holland as Todd, although he doesn’t look a bit like 13. Actor age-wise, it’s the same for almost every book to movie adaption but this one, may I can compromise happily 🙂 I heard the movie’s coming this year (hopefully)!


So, I was thinking about adding a K-pop song at the end of each review that matched the vibe of the book. 😀

I mean, you guys can give it a try once, maybe? You don’t know, you may end up falling into this blackhole (MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAA…)

Okay, so for the Chaos Walking trilogy, I felt it matched a lot with BTS’s ON. Although this song takes a lot of inspiration from various movies, the journey shown in the MV definitely matched Todd and Viola’s one. So here goes:


So guys, have you read this series? Are you excited about the movieee?

Also, didya listen? 😛

Review: Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare // Why did it have to end?

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices, book 3
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Slightly warm
Page Count and Format: 912 pages, Paperback
Published: December 4th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Source: Purchased
Trigger Alert: Death, Betrayal, Violence

Blurb (from Goodreads):

*SPOILERS*

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.


I finally finished this trilogy! That means I can cross The Dark Artifices from my accountability list! Yayie! 😀 I reread this entire series and it has been a great boost up for my slump. I am completely out of my reading slump and I have to say, it is such a relief!!

THIS BOOK IS THE DEFINITION OF ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE.

A lot happened, like really a lot but oh god, I am in love with this book and the characters. This book was huge, more than 900 pages but I don’t think there was a single dull moment. I was thoroughly engaged.

Something or the other kept happening. Julian and Emma’s parabatai bond was slowly destroying them, their love for each other. Everything was a mess. It was a good book. I could not go to sleep because of it. Such joy. 🙂

It would not be sufficient to say how much I love Julian and Emma. Especially Jules. His character keeps developing and Cassandra Clare has done a tremendously good job in fleshing out all the characters.

The Blackthorn family is one of the topmost reason to read this book! My heart went out to all of them. Each of them was going through heartbreak and they had to grow up before the normal time period. And Emma was like a protector of them all.

I was apprehensive about Mark in bok 1 and I think I quite hated Kieran, especially because of the whipping incident. BUT, my feelings have completely done a 360-degree flip. Like, ohmygoodness, these two needs to bundled up and kept safe. And who is the candidate who can do this? Cristina!! I wish the world had more Cristinas. She is kind, wise and everything. *spoiler start* No wonder, Mark and Kieran fell head over heels for her. I was pretty surprised by the polyamorous representation, one because I haven’t read about it much, second, I was not completely aware of how this relationship worked. But this representation definitely made me aware and I was soooo happy for those three!! *spoiler end*

Mark was such a great brother. He really picked up the saddle. And Julian, I cannot stop gushing about him. Aside from being the world’s greatest brother and almost pro at single parenting, his ability to handle people and plotting and scheming mind was goddayum.

With this one, I have realised one thing, I like politics (only fantasy tho…I mean bookish stuff) and this book had so many themes and sub-themes (honestly, how does Cassandra Clare maintain this amount of coherency while writing her books?), politics was a consistent one. I was so soo irritated with the Cohort and especially Zara. (Who doesn’t want to strangle her?) They never learn their lesson BUT BUT Julian’s ploy, the big battle (although the giant stuff was sudden, not weird at all!), it was epic!

The climax was so satisfying in this book. In many books, the ultimate war sequence is over before it starts. However, in this book, it was elaborate and so many things were going on. I LOVED, LOVED IT!!

I LOVE CROSSOVERS!! I have always loved them, I remember when I was a kid and they had these crossover power-rangers episodes and I used to freak out with happiness. I feel the same happiness every time Clary (Maybe unpopular opinion but I love Clary to death!) and the rest of the gang along with Jem and Tessa shows up!

I have to say, I want more of the Fae world. Every time the gang went to the fae, things got more interesting and honestly, the fae not being able to lie yet their twisty words gets me every time. *spoiler start* Although the name of the book indicates Annabel, I felt her part of the story was cut short? Like, there was scope, but it randomly ended? *spoiler end* Also, Kit!!!! That smol little precious boy, oh my my, I hope we get to read more of him soooon. (Also his friendship with Ty…)

Also, what’s with the prologue? O_o Do l have to live with the anxiety that the prologue gave me? Overall, this book was everything! And I need more… 

Recommend it?

OHMYGODYAAAS!


So guys, have you finished this trilogy? What are your overall thoughts?

Which Cassandra Clare book series is your favourite?

Review: Nimona and The Gods Lie // The only Manga Edition I possess (kind of!)

Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Standalone
Genre: Fantasy, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count & Format: 272 pages, Paperback
Published: May 12th 2015 by Harper Collins
Source: Borrowed
Trigger alert: Fire, mentions of betrayal

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.


Nimona is my very first venture into graphic novels. My friend bought this in the book fair and I remember reserving my spot for borrowing this book! 🙂

Here are some of my reasons why you should pick up this book!

  • The characters!

First of all Nimona, our protagonist is a badass chicka. On top of that, she is a shapeshifter with amazing fighting skills. She is full of humour and a bit, how should I phrase it… spontaneously edgy. Her character will keep you entertained from the very first page until the end. The book starts with Nimona pledging her apprenticeship to Blackheart, in a very comical manner, must I say!

Nimona, de Noelle Stevenson | Resenha - Eu, Astronauta Eu, Astronauta

Balister Blackheart reminded me a bit of Dr Heinz Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. xD Weird reference, but Blackheart felt like a responsible and mature villain. The kind of villain you end up rooting for. The relationship between Blackheart and Nimona is another cherishable factor of this story!

Review – 'Nimona' by Noelle Stevenson – Dundee Comics Creative Space

Ambrosius Goldenloin, (please take a moment to appreciate the name XD) “the hero” felt a bit shady at first but as the book proceeded we get to see two sides of the story making it more interesting.

  • The plot

The plot is definitely engaging. One side we have Nimona trying to wreak havoc, then Blackheart trying to babysit Nimona instead of villain-ing. And then there’s the tension with Ambrosius, a hint of bromance which I definitely wanted more of! And the disability representation! The root evil of the story is depicted pretty much from the start so there’s no surprise there but it’s the execution that keeps you engaged. Also, there’s a tiny plot twist at the end which made me root for Nimona and the story even more!

  • The pace

The overall pace of the story is pretty steady. What I can say, the story does not provide scope to be bored. You just keep on turning the pages and it’s a quick read.

  • The Art

One word. It’s awesome. The quirkiness and humour are transparent through and through.

Recommend it?

Yaaas!


Title: The Gods Lie
Author: Kaori Ozaki
Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count & Format: 216 pages, Paperback
Published: September 20th 2013 by Vertical Comics
Source: Borrowed
Trigger alert: Death, secrets, child neglect

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Natsuru Nanao, a 6th grader who lives alone with his mother, strikes up an unlikely friendship with the reserved and driven Rio Suzumura. Natsuru plays hookey from soccer camp that summer, and instead of telling the truth to his mother, he spends all his time with Rio and her kid brother at their rickety house, where a dark secret threatens to upend their fragile happiness.


The tone of this book is a complete 180 degree from Nimona but it’s good in a different sort of way. This was very first Japanese manga, so I was unaware that you had to read the book from backwards. I was warned, no worries there but I just wanted to say that I found it fascinating! xD

The story revolves around Natsuru and Rio, two people of two different threads find them together in unpredictable circumstances.

We have Natsuru who lives with her mother. On the other hand, we have Rio who lives with her younger brother after the death of her grandfather, in the hope that her father would return soon. Rio has a pretty big secret and she takes care of her brother all alone. The reflection of burden and maturity is reflected in her character. It is only with the presence of Natsuru that she seems to smile.

Weathering With You—Trailer – Cinema Anime

The story starts with the mention of summer vacation where Natsuru is supposed to go to a soccer camp which he does not. Instead, he chooses the spend the whole summer with Rio and her brother. And the fregging cute kitten they rescued might I add! A beautiful summer romance develops between the two which definitely makes you want to root for the characters.

However,  the story is told in a short period and therefore, the pace is mildly quick. Natsuru’s struggle to change the reality of Rio, his ability to empathise shows his maturity at such a young age. It brings a smile on the face of the reader although the ending is quite bittersweet. It quite broke my heart. And with the beautiful art, it’s hard not to get totally immersed with the journey of our main characters.

Recommend it?

Yes!


So guys, have you read any of these two mangas?

If yes, what were the aspects you liked the most?

Have you read any other mangas so far? Recommendations?

REVIEW: HEIR OF FURY BY JINA S. BAZZAR // CLOSING THE FOSCH FILES

Title: Heir of Fury
Author:  Jina S. Bazzar
Series: The Roxanne Fosch Files, book 3
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Format: Ebook
Published: April 29th 2020 by Shadow City
Source: I received an eARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Three years has passed since Roxanne left. She’s obeyed and fulfilled Remo’s every wish.His latest command, however, will send her back to Earth. Aware her presence Earth-side is furthering Remo’s plans, Roxanne delves into an impossible chase against time, the preternatural community, and herself.But she might already be too late, and Roxanne experiences firsthand that when desperate people are pressed against a rock, they’re willing to commit just about anything. 


Okay, so… I loved this trilogy. I really did but somehow I was underwhelmed by the conclusion.

We see the consequences of the decisions made by Roxanne in book 2 that led to her present condition. She has become more ruthless and although she is unable to take direct action against Remo, her only goal is to stop him somehow from destroying everyone she loves alongside her world.

This book had a whole lot of action and impending doom kept me on my toes!

However, the pace was a problem for me in this book. I felt it was too slow-paced for almost entirely the book except for the last part of the book. Most of the information was necessary for understanding a lot of aspects of how the world functions in this trilogy. The thing is, it felt like too much info-dumpy in some cases which kinda made me lose interest. I think it was one of the reasons it took me some time to finish the book. Also, I felt that the whole book was a bit stretched and the ending too soon.

Despite this, kudos to world-building! I definitely loved how the author intricately built up these two different worlds.

Roxanna with her new powers is unstoppable, she tries her level best to save her near and dear. Zantry, Mwara and Vicky, I loved each and every one of them. And my heart broke for the characters who did not make it till the end.

Overall, this book was a fun read despite the hindrances and worth a read!

Recommend it?

Yes.


I guess not many people remember moi. I do hope everybody is doing okay and staying safe?

But… do tell me what books have you been reading in the lockdown?

Review: Heir of Doom by Jina S. Bazzar // Divulging into the Fosch Files

Title: Heir of Doom
Author:  Jina S. Bazzar
Series: The Roxanne Fosch Files, book 2
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count & Format: 374 pages, Ebook
Published: February 20th 2019 by Creativia
Source: I received an eARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

She no longer has to run and hide, but other problems have surfaced. Her clan has other plans for her, and even the combined might of the hunters might not be able to save her.

To survive, Roxanne will have to choose between being labeled a traitor and cast out as a rogue – or join hands with the darker powers to save her life, and the lives of her friends.

To achieve her goals, she’ll have to risk her life. But can she control the powers she’s still learning to use, and fears so much?


Heir of Doom was packed with action and it definitely kept me engaged throughout the read. Book 2 continues with Roxanne’s journey as she has joined the hunters and is training to become one of them. But her mixed-breed status of being half human and half preternatural lead to her being discriminated against in every context.

And dayum. It was tragic to see Roxanne getting no better treatment. Nobody trusted her outside and the scenario was pretty much similar with the hunters as well. In book 1 she gets kidnapped and experimented by the scientists and although her situation changes after the escape and joining the hunters, she does not get the deserved respect. She only has a countable number of trustworthy people among the hunters and none of them had the high power to actually do anything that would benefit. I would say, it was a reflection of real-life politics, of what actually happens most of the time. It really, really made me angry and sad at the same time. Nonetheless, I loved her fierce personality and her consistent urge to improve!

The first part of the book was a bit slow which gradually changed in the second part and for the better. But I would say, the pacing did not affect me much since all the new characters and the hunting part, definitely made it more interesting. I had a love-hate relationship with the fae characters and the introduction of Mwara sparked my interest since she was the actual daughter of her “evil” step-mother. But most of all, I absolutely adored Frizz!!

The plot twist was a shocker! I did not expect that to happen when the truth about her lineage was revealed. Also, a lot of questions get answered in this book and obviously, there was Remo! Tada! Our beloved villain. The twist after twist that ensured made me gawk which also kinda made me wanna tear through book 3 immediately. And sadly I had to wait…

Recommend it?

Yes.


Hello hello! Anybody remember moi?

It’s been a year. I tend to disappear but well… *awkwardly waves*

How is everybody, especially how are you guys dealing with the COVID-19 situation? Share with me and I’ll try my best to not disappear again. 

 

Review: Cinder & Ella and Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram // My personal favourite contemporary retelling of Cinderella!

Title: Cinder & Ella and Happily Ever After
Author: Kelly Oram
Series: Cinder & Ella duology
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Format: 254 & 342 pages resp., Ebook
Published: October 2016 & April 11th 2017 by Bluefields respectively
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Cinder & Ella

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

Happily Ever After

The end of one story is often the beginning of another. Hollywood heartthrob Brian Oliver and his Cinderella princess Ellamara Rodriguez have finally found love outside the digital world. But leaving their anonymity behind creates a whole new set of obstacles for the nation’s new favorite sweethearts. With the stress of Brian’s fame, Ella’s disapproving family, and the pressures of a new relationship weighing down on them, the It Couple quickly begins to wonder if they can hold on to their newfound joy, or if maybe happily ever after is only a fairy tale.


I read Cinder & Ella for the first time in 2016 but never got the chance to write a review despite utterly falling in love with it. Lo, behold! Kelly announced its sequel in 2017 but well I finally got to it this year. I also had a sudden craving to reread the first book, therefore I didn’t give up the chance to binge read it and holy hell, it was fun! When you reread a book after a long time, there is a kind of excitement to go back into the familiar world. At the same time, you wonder if you are going to love it as much as you did before. Thankfully, my experience was quite good, I would say even better than the first! I won’t lie, this book set my standards so high, I wasn’t fully able to love Geekerella or similar books like that because I had already read this. This book was albeit cheeeeesy and fluffy but well it earned a special place in my heart. Well anyhooo, onto the review…

Cinder and Ella had virtually met through Ella’s blog where she posts hilarious books and movie reviews. Cinder a.k.a Brian is a teenage heartthrob who longs for something real. Despite reading “not so awesome” comments about his acting skills in her blog, they strike up an unusual friendship. They also share their love for the Druid Prince Chronicles where Brain is actually playing the role of Cinder. Although they have never met, they share a lot of bond and harbour mutual feelings. However, before anything begins, Ella faces a big accident where she almost becomes a cripple. Losing her mother and sending to live with her dad and her step-family is a cherry on top. The only shining light in the darkness is Brain with whom she gets to reconnects with after a year.

So… I fell in love with the story of Brian and Ella all over again. Ella’s pain and heartache all over made me ache for her again. Although Ella’s a pretty self-dependent person, her injury does not let feel that way. She is left nearly more than half burnt after the accident and hence is forced to live with her step-family. Mostly, the whole family starts up on the wrong foot which creates quite a few misunderstandings between the family members. But thing that I loved the most this duology is the relationship between the sisters. This relationship was particularly not rainbows and sunshine at first but I completely loved how it evolved as the series moved forward. However, the same cannot be said for the father. I mean… he tried to redeem himself but it just didn’t feel like he was trying 100%. I mean even if he did, he always said the wrong things at the wrong time and always questioned Ella instead of being just with her and supporting her.

On the other hand, Brian was a complete sweetheart. He was patient, supportive and loved Ella with his whole heart. However, while reading this for the second time, I basically realised he had no flaw. Neither did Ella. Not much. So yeah, although these characters were outstanding but sometimes they just felt a little too bland. Although I could resonate with Ella a lot since I react pretty much the same way she does in certain situations. Despite these flaws, I enjoyed their relationship right from the very start. Brain definitely had me swooooning! Oh, I also enjoyed the complexity of the situation since they have been online friends forever but in real life, only for a few weeks. I definitely enjoyed how the author handled this situation and it didn’t feel rushed at all. 

I noticed one thing about the dad department in this book. Mostly, both of them were douches and didn’t live up to my expectations. Okay, although Ella’s father was a not a complete douche but he still was… I mean if you get what I mean. In the first book, we get a glimpse of the limelight that Brian is always in due to his career as an actor. This was especially highlighted in the sequel as well since we get to see its impact on Ella. Although there were vulnerable moments, I was so glad to see them fighting for each other along with sharing equal love and respect.

Overall, Cinder & Ella and Happily Ever After were both an awesome read. It was a great duology with a filled with romance, comedy as well as heartwrenching emotions. This book made me laugh out loud on various occasions and even made me cry my eyes out. However, I am so glad I picked up this series, although it was on a whim. All the characters were uniquely distinguishable and I adored each and everyone (mostly) of them. This rhythm of this book was pretty steady and it followed a slowly yet simple writing style. Due to these certain factors, I was able to enjoy this series far more!

Recommend it?

Yes.


So guys, have you duology this yet? Or any other book by this author?

Review: Gemina & Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff // The ultimate recipe for space disaster and inter-galactic battle!

  

Title: Gemina & Obsidio
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files, book 2 & 3
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: 659 & 615 pages respectively, Hardcover
Published:  October 18th 2016 & March 13th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers respectively
Source: Purchased
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Gemina

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illumina continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair is struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Obsidio

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.


My ThoughtsThe Illuminae series was probably my most anticipated read for 2018 and I finally managed to complete that by 2018! This trilogy did not let me down and wow, it was such an explosive read. One of the facts that I loved about this trilogy is how the plot and characters interconnected with one another at the end. For me, I have always found it fascinating to see how the thread comes together at the end and this series does this quite accurately along with leaving a little hint of mystery at the end. Anyhooo, you can read my review of book 1, that is Illuminae here!

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”

*A bit spoilerish!*

In Gemina, we get to see the Hanna and Nik’s story. Their characters are literally polar opposites, the spoiled princess and well… the drug supplier? That sounds literally crazy if I just put it out like that that. LOL. Anyway, although Hanna seemed like a spoiled brat, she was a pretty badass chicka. Her ability for making awesomesauce strategies won me over in no seconds. Nik and Hanna’s constant banter was my favourite thing in this book apart from the visual-worthy action. It was a continuous treat and it was so much fun to read… apart from the bloody mess which was most of the book. The action in this book is so well defined, we even get a few comic-like pages which were absolutely awesome.

While I was reading a few reviews after finishing up with Gemina, someone said that the virus-thing was much more horrific than the alien thingy in this book. Although I was completely dedicated to these aliens… err, I mean that slimy stuff creeped me out but yes, the first book had its own charm with everything being new and sudden. (It was still scary!

In Obsidio, we get the final showdown between our beloved characters and evilish BeiTech! On top of that, we get Asha!! Kady’s cousin! Yohooo. Although Asha’s character was my least favourite was she was humanly fierce and I admired her for that. She desperately wanted to save her baby mouse, and the rest of Kerenza, well whatever was left of it. BiTech people were really, really plain trash. I kinda wanted to see a more detailed punishment for them at the end. The ending did feel a bit rushed, however, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Although there were some portions which scared the living hell out of me, at the same time, I couldn’t stop reading either!

But when it comes to scary, AIDAN takes home the price ladies and gentlemen. With the advancement of technology, the possibility of such things actually coming true made the situation more horrific. AIDAN gave me the chills!! And what’s up with it being so obsessed with Kady? My goodness… The level of creepiness I had to deal in this book.. yet it was the best! Okay, the moment I thought AIDAN has redeemed itself, he just goes on a murder spree. Again. *sighs* Yet without AIDAN nothing would have been possible either. AIDAN is such a character you love to hate, similarly hate to love. Weird. I know. But that’s what AIDAN is

If you loved the formatting of the first book, I am damn sure you loved these two as well. One of the things I love about series is how the characters all unite in the last book. This book was no different, albeit the circumstances were pretty rare. Anyhooo, the characterisation and development of the plot throughout this series is pretty phenomenal. The fast pace and the storytelling were engaging and on-point throughout the whole series. I am definitely looking forward to the second trilogy of these authors together! I have a feeling it’s not going to let down as well!

Recommend it?

Must-read!!


Let's Chat

So, guys have you read the Illuminae series? How was your experience with it? If you haven’t picked it up yet, are you excited to read it? Share your thoughts with me!

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han // Fluffy, cute and mushy!

  

Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Format: Ebook
Published: April 15th 2014 (book 1), May 26th 2015 (book 2), May 2nd 2017 (book 3) by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 

Blurb (from Goodreads):

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

P.S. I Still Love You

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.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next-door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy is one of the most hyped up series out there and I think it was one of the reasons I was afraid to go into this series wholeheartedly. On top of that, I did not exactly enjoy the first book of the Summer trilogy and hence my reluctance. I also think that I have kinda grown out of young-adult contemporary as I don’t find it relatable anymore. However, when the movie released and the hype re-started, I knew had to pick it up! And I am glad I did. This series was such an adorable and fluffy read!!

*A bit spoilerish!*

Lara Jean has a unique way of confessing to her crushes. She writes them letters instead of actually voicing her words. It’s her way of ending a love story from growing out her control. However, when her letters get revealed to her crushes, she takes the help of Peter who was also one of the crushes to tone down the rumours. However, things take a 90 degree turn when she finds herself falling for Peter Kavinsky. (I am addicted to uttering Kavinsky as Lara Jean was… dang!)

Character-centric plot

The plot of this book was whole-heartedly character-centric which paved the whole path of the novel. One of the most ground fact of this trilogy was the character-growth which we got to see as the novels proceeded. Of course, there was teenage angst and drama but it was pretty realistic which made me fall in love with the characters. This series had all the classic cliches, the mean ex-girlfriend, a soccer-team main lead and a geeky best friend. The thing is although this series had its ups and downs, it played the cliches perfectly to get the right combination of drama along with swoon-worthy romance. Apart from Peter and Lara Jean who dominated the series, the Song family, Josh as well as John Ambrose McClaren (This guy!!!! I loved him to bits!).

The first book follows all the letters of Lara Jean getting busted which leads up to making a pact with Peter to avoid the necessary embarrassment. Lara Jean takes this step, especially to avoid Josh who she has been in love with since forever, who also happens to be her elder sister’s recent ex-boyfriend. Josh is a character whom I liked in the beginning but he kinda faded away and completely disappeared in the 3rd book. I knew he had college and stuff and it kinda felt like Lara Jean and Josh’s so many years of relationship vanished, just like that (I wanted closure *sniffs*). Anyhooo, Peter and Lara Jean along with their romance grew to something so much bigger. Their fake relationship grew into something real without their knowledge which made things complicated. However, it was also the one thing to root for in this series!

Lara Jean… ah! Our main protagonist was so effing relatable! Of course, there were times I disagreed with her but most of the times but I couldn’t help but fall for her. Yes, she was a bit judgemental and anxious almost all the time, however, these flaws were the characteristics that made her, her. Although I won’t say this series had the best character-development Lara Jean seriously had some major transformation. She went from the shy girl to voicing out her words. Most importantly, I genuinely admired how she took the decision while choosing school even is she had to do long-distance!

Diversity

Hello! Dang! This book has it all! The Song girls are half Korean making them a biracial family. There were some unforgettable moments in the book, especially of Korean cuisine which I sooo wanted to try! And I was pretty green with envy with the mention of their visits to Seoul. Can they please, like, take me too?

The Song family

The family dynamics was one of the best aspects of this trilogy. The Song girls had lost their mother as a kid but Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty have been thick as thieves. They have always tried their best to maintain a beautiful relationship with their dad which I loved so much. The family focus of this series was not at all overbearing but equally balanced with the romance and drama. Although Lara Jean was the protagonist of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, Margot and Kitty played quite a vital role. I sometimes felt like Margot who was the elder sister was a stuck-up. But when I thought of myself in her shoes, I could understand where all the hesitancy and her strictness was coming from. Lara Jean was the middle one while Kitty was the smol bean. However, Kitty was quite mature for her age and there would not have been “books” if not for her (If you know what I mean… XD) And their father was such a sweetheart! He had such a wonderful relationship with his Song girls and they were his first priority!

Cheesy romance

Ah! The romance of Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky was epic! Actually, it was pretty simple yet unique due to which this series was such an engaging read. Peter had an on and off relationship with Gen who also used to be Lara Jean’s best friend once upon a time. However, this on and off thing paves the way for Peter towards Lara Jean. I loved how their relationship evolved. It was so cheesy yet so cuteeeeeeee! Oh my goodness, it was really so sweet I thought I was going to have diabetes!

We also had the classic love triangle which I actually enjoyed! (I know right? Me? I enjoyed a love-triangle! XD) John Ambrose McClaren was so precious. I definitely fell for the 2nd lead and there were times I thought he was the perfect one for Lara Jean. Although I was all in for Peter, John Ambrose McClaren definitely gave a tough competition. Peter, on the other hand, was a jokester and kinda tried to maintain a strong facade, however, he was a complete softy. He was so effing cute. My god! He and Lara Jean were the complete opposites, however, somehow they were the perfect fit.

Overall

This trilogy was a fluffy and fun read. I enjoyed it thoroughly and although a few parts might have slowed me down but I was glad I was able to binge read this trilogy. It made me realise how much, book binging is fun!  The writing was simple yet maintained an uninterrupted flow and the pace was mostly steady throughout the series. Apart from these, I also loved the fact, how this book ended with a positive note while hinting towards the many more adventures of the future.

Recommend it?

Yes!


So guys, what did you think about this trilogy? Have you read it yet? What is your favourite book in the series?

Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao // A combo of refreshing and realistic

Title: American Panda
Author: Gloria Chao
Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Cool
Page Count and Format: 320 pages, Ebook
Published: February 6th, 2018 by Simon Pulse
Source: Purchased
My Rating:

Blurb (from Goodreads):

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfil the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

From debut author Gloria Chao comes to a hilarious, heartfelt tale of how unlike the panda, life isn’t always so black and white.


My Thoughts

American Panda was such a heartfelt read! There were some aspects I could really relate and Mei is bae! ❤

She is an early college student aiming for a doctorate degree when all she wants to do in dance. But she doesn’t have the heart to tell her parents about it as her brother already walked on their family. She develops a crush on Darren Takahashi who is actually Japanese. Another no go from their parents who only want Mei to marry someone of their choice who is also specifically Taiwanese. A breaking point comes into Mei’s life when she is forced to make a choice about how to live her life, according to her own will or her parent’s.

The plot of this book was refreshing and relatable. American Panda is a more of a character-centric novel which focuses on the life of Mei. Mei is a hard working above average students who are working towards a career path to be a doctor. Apart from being a germophobe, she manages to fall asleep in the core subject of medicine, a.k.a biology. She goes by the rule of her parents as she does not want to disappoint them at all cost. A chance encounter with his brother changes her aspect of living life. Her opinion finally clashes when she sees her brother’s life through her own eyes rather than their parents’ words.

“If I lied, the real me would disappear.” 

Her rebellion starts in a slow process but it takes a turn as she experiences a whole new world. Her crush towards Darren slowly intensifies. Mei actually tried to do everything possible to do that she had been taught. She really tried but the heart wants what it wants. Of course, Darren is by her side but she gathers the courage to stand up for herself. And on boy, she does! The most surprising as well as beautiful moment was Mei’s reuinon with her mom. I wish her dad felt the same but well things take time. Sometimes the broken pieces can be mend together and sometimes it’s just better left alone. Mei felt like whole different person when she danced. She truly felt like herself. I can totally get this point. All parents want their children to have a stable career but that doesn’t only come from money. Happiness is the other factor which goes hand in hand.

“I couldn’t go through life as a shadow.” 

Overall, American Panda was a beautiful lesson that one should learn about both sides of the coin before judging. The plot was fresh and kept me engaged. Although I couldn’t identify it but I felt something was missing but the characters made up for it. This book was not only diverse but also shone light on various cultural aspects. The pace was kinda slow and steady in different portions of the book an the words flowed smoothly. I will definitely be anticipating her next book.


Sooo guys, have you read this one? If yes, what are your thoughts on it? And if that’s still a no, are you think of picking it up anytime soon?

Also, yeeeeeah. I have no excuse of abandoning my beloved blog for so long. I am just too lazy and tired after coming back from work. But that’s a lame excuse. I am tryiiiiiiiing guys! Hopefully September will show its magic!