Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Release Date: April 2, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Find On: Goodreads and Amazon.

Quick Review:

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Detailed Review:

There’s this lump in my throat every. single. time. I read this book.

Tears start prickling in my eyes and all I want to do is bawl up and cry until I can't cry anymore tears.

I first got a copy of this book in July (2013) after hearing that there would be a movie coming out later this year.

Believe it or not, it took me 5 months to read this book.

But it wasn’t because this book was dead-boring or because I didn’t have the time to.

It was quite the opposite actually.

I literally could not read this book because… well… I guess it was because I just knew this would be one of those books.

The ones that make you want to curl up in a ball and do nothing for days afterwards because you’re too sad to.

I guess I wanted to deal with the aftermath of this book on my own. When I had the time to.

First published in 2009, “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman is different. I’ve never read a book quite like this one.

… And I like that.

It also poses a very good question: What would you do if you had to choose?

For me, the main character is refreshing. It feels like she could be my best friend. I relate to her not because of the tragedy in her life or anything of that sort. It probably sounds incredibly stupid but I’ve always had a soft spot for main characters that play classical music – be it the cello or the piano. It just happens.

I guess it’s because I’m a pianist and all that jazz.

Stupid, right?

There’s this suddenness about how everything falls apart so quickly. It’s like those moments you hear about all the time – where if you blinked, you would have missed it.

I can’t imagine going through what Mia did.

I guess I’m lucky that way. I hope I never will.

One minute, everything is going magnificently – the whole world is at your feet and the next… your whole world has been flipped upside down.

”You wouldn’t expect the radio to work afterward. But it does.

The car is eviscerated. The impact of a four-ton pickup truck going sixty miles an hour plowing straight into the passenger side had the force of an atom bomb. It tore off the doors, sent the front-side passenger seat through the driver’s-side window. It flipped the chassis, bouncing it across the road and ripped the engine apart as if it were no stronger than a spider web. It tossed wheels and hubcaps deep into the forest. It ignited bits of the gas tank, so that now tiny flames lap at the wet road.

And there was so much noise. A symphony of grinding, a chorus of popping, an aria of exploding, and finally, the sad clapping of hard metal cutting into soft trees. Then it went quiet, except for this: Beethoven’s Cello Sonata no. 3, still playing. The car radio somehow still is attached to a battery and so Beethoven is broadcasting into the once-again tranquil February morning.

At first I figure everything is fine. For one, I can still hear the Beethoven. Then there’s the fact that I am standing here in a ditch on the side of the road. When I look down, the jean skirt, cardigan sweater, and the black boots I put on this morning all look the same as they did when we left the house.” 

Oh, but the fragility of life.

It is the reality of things.

The sad, bitter, harsh and incredibly cruel reality of things.

The author has this way with words. He’s so descriptive, but not overly so. He has that natural balance that so many of us could spend a lifetime trying to perfect, but without talent, we would probably never quite get there.

If you had to choose between living and dying what would you choose?

For many of us, the answer seems simple.

“I’d want to live, duh.”

But it isn’t always.

Imagine having lost your loved ones, your blood relatives, the people you have known your entire life.

Would you still choose life?

I know this sounds crazy stupid but I wouldn’t.

Dying is easy… It’s living that’s hard.

I’ll be honest. Brutally and totally honest.

My family means the world to me.

My friends do too.

I probably don’t tell them this enough but they are the most amazing people in the whole entire world.

And I feel blessed to have them in my life.

I would take a bullet for my family and my friends.

They are the support system that keeps my head above the water when I think I’m about to drown.

And to lose even part of that support system?

To lose my family?

I think I’d fall apart.

This is one of those books that make you cry and laugh. I've read this book over a hundred times and I swear, after I finish reading this, I hold onto my family so much tighter and remind myself just how blessed I am.

If you haven't read the book, you definitely should and you should also check out the trailer and consider going to see the movie when it comes out in August.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

Your Reviewer:
The New Kid On The Block,
Linda AKA Inno.

Friday, June 27, 2014

ARC Review: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

Title: The Stepsister's Tale
Author: Tracy Barrett
Release Date: 24th June 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Find on: Goodreads

Quick Review: What really happened after the clock struck midnight?

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

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

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

Detailed Review: <<I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest feedback>>

What if the stepsisters had not been ugly, and were the ones doing all the housework? What if they had no desire to marry the prince and want a normal life? What if the wicked stepmother wasn't wicked, but merely delusional? What if there was no fairy godmother?

I present to you, The Stepsister's Tale, an enchanting re-telling of Cinderella. In this book, the author gives this little children's fairytale a whole new twist as we see the story from the older stepsister, Jane's point of view.

The story does follow the original storyline but there was one twist in the end that put this story in a whole new light. New characters also spring to life, including the people of the woods, Hannah Herb-Woman and her family and the upper-class ladies and gentlemen. 

I loved this version much more than the original, because of its complexities. You see the darker sides of the story, and the reversal of roles between Cinderella and the stepsisters. 

Originally, I did feel like murdering Isabella (Cinderella) because she was just a spoiled girl and I couldn't stand her hysterics when she couldn't get what she wanted. But in the end, she did change for the better so the urge was gone by then.

The stepfather was worse. I felt like punching him most of the time, because he loved his daughter too much and is willing to spend money on her, but not to pay the people who had repaired the roof for Halsey Hall.

Maude did get to me at times like she did to Jane when she became childish, but she was a much more likeable character than Isabella. I love how she always shows support to Jane and when it comes to herbs and medicine, she's the expert.

Jane, the main character, was one of my favourite characters. She was independent and is selfless, so much so that she almost risked her relationship with her love interest so her mother wouldn't become upset.

Maybe the stepfather wasn't the worse. I think it was the mother. Would you think you were a lady if you still lived in a mansion where there were mice living in it and the roof had holes in it? Nope. But I forgive her, because who wouldn't want their old life back? I was so relieved when she woke up from her trance and decided that being a lady didn't matter. (Hint: happy endings exist)

The prince in this book is darker than the normal fairytale. He has a short-temper and loves to gamble. And why had he wanted to marry Cinderella? (Read the gambling part again and remember how rich Ella's father was) Who said they wanted to marry a prince again?

What I'm trying to tell you is that the characters were well-developed, to the point when you are about to scream at the book and you are ready to hit one of the characters. It transports you into the book's world, until you can imagine that you're one of the characters. It's as if the characters are portals into the book. That, is what I call, magic. All the characters were so full of originality; had so much life in them, even the minor ones.

Jane's love interest, Will (I can't believe the author named him after my favourite character from TID!!!) was just... OMG. People at that time wouldn't have called him hot (I would have), but the chemistry between the both of them, it's just so swoon-inducing. It was just so nice when their relationship became more friendly and then BOOM the romance, so unexpected but just so good.

And then the author broke my heart. This led have me to the conclusion, that all romance books will always have heart-breaking parts, including this one. 

But like all fairytales, it still had a happy ending. It was more of a sad, nostalgic type of ending, but a happy ending nonetheless. At least Jane and Will were together!

I can't wait to see if the author will have anymore fairytale re-tellings planned but I'd love to read them in the future!!!

Brief Review: Barrett has got magic in her fingertips. She twists a famous children's fairytale into something more complex and more haunting. There's a happy ending, but there are no good princes, no riches or finery, no godmother; this gives the story a darker atmosphere but makes a compelling read. The Stepsister's Tale is a re-telling done right!!!

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'


 Speaking of happy endings, here's a quote on one (I just had to pick Rainbow Rowell! She said it best!):

Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for---Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Your Reviewer:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

TGIF- Feature & Follow Friday #206

FEATURE & FOLLOW FRIDAY is a blog hop that is designed to provide as much exposure towards other bloggers as well as yourself, and to expand following. It's hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, each whom feature a chosen blog for a week, it's also an interesting way to get to know one another bloggers.

What are your favourite books of 2014 so far?

*Sorry for doing last week's question, I realised I made a mistake and posted this week's question for last week's post, so please excuse my mistake.

If you'd like to see what my answer was for this week's question, click HERE.

Well, I've recently read Rain by Amanda Sun and it was just awesome. It's left a huge impact on me due to its rich Japanese mythology and culture. One of the best contemporaries I've read so far this year would be Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett. That one proved to be quite emotional. Thriller-wise, would be the Fugitive series by Melissa Pearl and Sekret by Lindsay Smith. Both got my blood racing and heart pounding!

ARC Review: Dark Magic by Renee Travis

Title: Dark Magic
Author: Renee Travis
Release Date: 1st July 2014
Publisher: -
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewWhat if witches were real? What if they had a Monarchy in the United States under our government? What if they lived next door, raised their kids and went to work...just like you? What if they were....out of the broom closet?

Kalma is a witch; not a normal witch, an immortal witch, with power over death. She is also a Princess and a middle child, which causes her no end of frustration. Wanting to feel like she is doing something with her life, Kalma embarks on a journey where she must solve the mystery of missing Death Witch children. With the help of her colorful sisters and a Servant of Death, she gets more than she bargained for, and her life and the life of her people will never be the same.

Detailed Review: Being a self-published book, I didn't expect this book to be perfect. There would still be mistakes, so I lowered my expectations considerably to fit in this book.

Having done so, I started reading. I was instantly transported into a world full of magic, romance and sisterhood. It was hard to not be sucked into it; the magic already started in the first chapter. Yes, there were mistakes, but they hardly stopped the flow of the story, which was surprisingly smooth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the parts I enjoyed the most was the romance between Tuoni and Kalma. When I read those parts, my heartbeat actually accelerated because I was just swooning over them. Tuoni was just pure hotness and even though he was over 200 years old (yes he is) I wouldn't mind him being my Servant of Death if I was a Death Witch.

Still, I loved Kalma's sisters. They were so supportive of her. Cerri was so so cute and bubbly it's so hard to not smile when she spoke. Morrigan was the combustible sister (she is a fire witch so I mean it in the literal sense). Isis was the sister who is always hungry for knowledge and is the second eldest. Inanna was the eldest, she was the most motherlike and being a spirit witch also the most understanding. Kalma is the middle sister, so you would expect her to always feel trapped and being a Death Witch proves to be more of a curse than a blessing (except for Tuoni).

Death Witches are hated by almost everyone because they are associated with death and they have power over something beautiful and ugly at the same time. But... it would be cool to raise the dead just for once.

People always say for twists to be interesting, you have to murder your characters. Travis did it, literally. I won't spoil it for you, but it goes along the lines of Allegiant... If you've read it. *wink* And that twist was what it was meant to be and in the end it still turned out perfect. This isn't the only twist; there are more wonderful ones waiting to be discovered.

There is a sequel to this book, hence the cliffhanger at the end, which is itself a twist. I don't think I should say more. I'm basically ranting about this book and I might just end up spoiling the book for you.

And I have read another book from this author, so I wasn't expecting any less from her. She met my expectations perfectly.

To read more about the author's other book, check out my review for it HERE.

Brief Review: If you love witches, romance or hot guys, you should definitely add this book to your TBR pile! Renee Travis weaves a story of sisterly love together with magic and adventure that mesmerises readers. This book is a promising start to a splendid series. I would expect more climax and pace in the sequel, although Dark Magic doesn't really disappoint either.

Final Rating: 4/5 'Really Liked It!'


To address the sisterly love between Kalma and her sisters:

Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other--- Carol Saline

Your Reviewer:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

This week's pre-publication 'can't-wait-to-read' selection is:

Title: Falls the Shadow
Author: Stefanie Gaither
Release Date: 16th September 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster BFYR
Find on: Goodreads

When Cate Benson was twelve, her sister died. 

Two hours after the funeral, they picked up Violet’s replacement, and it was like nothing had ever happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to grant their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth. So this new Violet has the same smile. The same laugh. That same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all the same memories as the girl she replaced. 

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school. 

Or at least, that’s what the paparazzi and crazy anti-cloning protesters want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that, though. She’s used to standing up for her sister too, and she’s determined to prove her innocence now—at whatever the cost. But the deeper she digs for the truth, the further Cate's carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, unveiling a world filled with copies and lies, where nothing and no one—not even her sister— is completely what they seem. 

In a pulse pounding debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

I feel like this is almost a cross between a contemporary and a science fiction novel. It just gives off that vibe. But seriously, this book does give me the creeps, even the cover itself is enough to do the trick. The cover just relates to the story so well. It's enough to give off that vibe. That won't stop me from wanting to read this book though.

What do you think of this week's pick? What are you waiting on this week? Comment below!

Review: Behind The Scenes by Kathryn White

Title: Behind The Scenes
Author: Kathryn White
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: March 31st 2013
Find on: GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

Book Description: Catlin Ryan is determined to escape her dreary life in a beachside caravan park. Abandoned by her alcoholic mother, she dreams of a life on the stage and is prepared to work hard to get it. So when she is offered a starring role on her favourite television series, Catlin does not think twice about taking it.

But fame comes with a set of new challenges, long hours, spoiled and demanding colleagues, the paparazzi, some wild parties and Tom, the bitter director who seems to hate her. Then there is the reunion with her father, a brooding retired police officer, who offers her board and lodgings inside a house that is haunted with dark family secrets. Who is Catlin Ryan, really? Why does she keep remembering things that she knows never really happened? Can Catlin reconcile with her past and keep her family secrets out of the tabloids, or is the world destined to know what goes on behind the scenes?

Detailed Review: <<review copy provided by the author herself>>

I wasn't quite sure about what I should write as I am not into well, contemporary fiction. But I will do my best. 

I think the story was bending more to New Adult rather than Young Adult...relatively it was not as entertaining for me. But of course this doesn't mean that the book is not good. I mean, other people have their own opinions whereas I didn't really like it. 

The story was fine; it had a good outline about what the worst life style was. I really liked Catlin's humorous nature where she critiqued her not-so beautiful life with her so called fiancĂ©e Johnny. Catlin really had a long run where she uniquely thought about her runaway mother. 

Kathryn White (the author) wrote a really good book in terms of projecting Catlin's hatred towards her previous life in a dumpster and how significantly the story took a turn into the glamorous life of the main character. 

The main char of the story didn't strike me but I think there's more connection which definitely tells us about how Catlin's life story became as it is today. Secretly I wished there was more excitement in the story (more action) haha but of course the story is already targeting a more serious audience? Well, for one, I'm not so sure about this story... 

Putting aside that, the writing was really detailed but impactful. It wasn't the writing that made me bored but the story itself or perhaps the genre that's been shown. The writing of the author was quite fast-paced and it did have some exciting scenes but other times it felt really dead

I probably sound harsh about Behind The Scenes but if I have to say so myself...

I didn't feel the "oophm" that most YA books guaranteed. OK, perhaps this book isn't even in the genre for YA but it was noted down. 

Brief Review: New Adult...not for me. I had to say Behind The Scenes was not really my forte and rather it had a good run. But the narration of Catlin Ryan was quite individually fulfilling and it definitely covered the holes in which made the story slightly dull. 

My Rating: 2/5  "It's OK"

Your Reviewer:

Monday, June 23, 2014

ARC Review: Rain by Amanda Sun

Title: Rain (The Paper Gods #2)
Author: Amanda Sun
Release Date: 24th June 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Find on: Goodreads, Amazon

Quick Review: American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

Detailed Review: I have that urge to re-read this book again. And I just finished reading it a few hours ago.

Have you ever had a book that made a huge impact on you and you can's stop thinking about it? Rain was one of these books. 

The characters themselves, the culture, the story, the setting. Everything begs to be re-lived again. And it was so hard to move on from Rain.

Maybe it was the characters, the romance between Tomo and Katie. I couldn't help but shiver most of the time when Tomo and Katie were together. And there was just that one time when I felt my heart break into two when they were almost torn from each other. 

Katie is one of the best heroines out there, living out of her comfort zone, and not backing down even when she's scared. She has a fighting spirit. And that's what kept her alive throughout the book. Not only does she have Tomo and his powers to worry about, she has to worry about being sent to international school as her vocabulary didn't meet expectations. But still, she worked hard and did everything she could to solve the problems.

Rain had the best character development, especially for Jun and Shiori. In this book, you see Jun's true colours when he loses control of his powers and reveals who he truly is. Shiori showed a huge change of character. We get to know her more in Rain as she starts making more appearances in the book. There's more to her soft and delicate appearance than she lets on. To be honest, I disliked her in this book (she was so MEAN to Katie I felt like killing her, and there was just one part where I got a feeling of satisfaction because she honestly deserved it).

Maybe it was the rich culture that pulled me in. I love Japan. I've been there twice and I loved it there. Japan is everything from fun to amazing to heaven. Reading Ink right before jumping into Rain only immersed me deeper into Japan's rich tradition and mythology. This book may even be one of the factors that make me love Japan even more. Besides, you get to learn Japanese while reading Rain. Kendo also makes my heart pound and blood heat because even when it doesn't seem like it, it plays a huge part in this book.

Maybe it was the story itself. It was made of so many layers. The top layer covered many more layers underneath, mostly secrets. Secrets about Jun's past and his true identity. Secrets about Tomo's loss of control over his powers. Secrets about Katie's ink. And you wouldn't want to miss a single thing about them.

But overall, I loved Rain as much as I loved Ink. It's definitely a great read if you want to read books in a different setting and culture. We read diverse books, right? 

If you missed my review on Ink, click HERE.

For our interview with the author, click HERE.

Brief Review: Amanda Sun, you are an amazing writer and storyteller. You have left a huge impact on me with your words and I can't begin to express my love for you for writing Rain. I can't tell you how often I think of Japan now after reading your book. Well-developed characters, complex storyline, a beautiful country with a rich culture is what makes this book as good as it was. I couldn't have asked for a better sequel to such an awesome book.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

Your Reviewer:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review: Dangerous Reflections by Shay West

Title: Dangerous Reflections
Author: Shay West
Release Date: 23rd June 2014
Publisher: -
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewAlexis Davenport wants to go home. She hates her new school, her mother for moving her away from her friends, and her father for walking out.

To make matters worse, Alex is haunted by images of strange girls reflected in her mirror. It’s bad enough juggling homework, a relentless bully, boys, and a deadbeat dad; now, she must save the world from an evil presence hell-bent on changing the past – and our futures. Who knew her A+ in history was going to be this important?

Detailed Review: I'm not into time-travel books. However, I have read a few. The best one I've read so far has got to be All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill.

To be honest, the title didn't even give off the fact that this would be about time travel. But this did nothing to change my opinion of the book.

That completely changed after I read Dangerous Reflections. I feel that from reading this one book has taught me more than I could ever learn in two years of history. Ok, that may be an exaggeration but you get what I mean. This book rivals All Our Yesterdays with it's smooth writing, sudden changes of direction in the story and realistic characters.

Surprisingly I could feel a connection with the characters even though the book was written in third person. Usually I'm unable to find a sense of connection to the main character when this type of writing is used but somehow with this book, it was... different. 

I didn't just like the aspect of time-travel in the book, I also liked the aspect of high school. The author doesn't just create problems in the past, she creates problems in Alex's life as well. She has a deadbeat dad, financial situation, a bully and a crush who treats her like garbage to deal with, not counting the times when she has to travel back in time to save the lives of people she doesn't know, which could affect the future and cause severe repercussions. 

I just love how the author could fit so much action into one chapter and then move on into 'normal' mode in the next. Normal as in high school. And even high school isn't pleasant except the fact that she has friends and one of them knows about her gift for time travel (it was an accident). 

The antagonists in the story were really well-planned. The Master definitely was creepy and Drifter wasn't really nice either. Not with those cold, soulless eyes... They, like Alex, have the ability to travel through time. But they have a different agenda. They want to change the past and what's stopping them is Alex.

I thought that Alex had lots of courage to face the challenges her gift threw at her- which was to not let Drifter change the past. She also has to deal with high school problems and her financial situation. Her perseverance in these matters are to be admired because really if the lines blurred between reality and fantasy, which do you believe? Yet, she moves on and meets those challenges head-on. Her love for her family and friends were also great as it actually contrasts her to Master and Drifter and makes her out to be someone caring and soulful, unlike them. Her talent for acting, later discovered in the book has not only helped her gain popularity in school, it has also helped her survive in life-and-death situations when she's on her time-travel expeditions. Her thirst for history never fails her either. Now I can preach to my friends and family how important History is. I guess I just found the best reason *winks*

And time-travelling through a mirror? That's just cool.

Moving on, there's just one part in the book that leaves me curious... (I really don't want to spoil it for you so I'll keep my mouth shut) BUT it was to do with her father. Just saying. I'll leave your imagination to do the thinking. It's actually one of the twists in there.

There were many twists. Some small, some big, but as effective.

The author uses a type of technique; I don't even know if she used it on purpose or if it came out naturally for her. If you looked at the story as a whole, it may seem like quite a simple story about a girl who can time-travel and has problems in school and at home. But if you broke it down, it's actually more complex than you think. I really like this type of writing.

Brief Review: I honestly love how the author not only brings in the challenges of having the ability to time-travel, but also the difficulties of growing up in this book. Teen crushes, bullies, high school, you name it. West's writing skills were top-notch in this book. Her simplicity only made this book more complicated than it actually seemed. And if you want some history lessons, this book makes the best teacher; it's never boring!

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

Your Reviewer:

Friday, June 20, 2014

TGIF- Feature and Follow Friday #205

FEATURE & FOLLOW FRIDAY is a blog hop that is designed to provide as much exposure towards other bloggers as well as yourself, and to expand following. It's hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read, each whom feature a chosen blog for a week, it's also an interesting way to get to know one another bloggers.
 QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Post a photo of your favorite coffee mug (or mugs if you can’t choose just one).

I don't drink coffee really... It's mainly water, Milo or sometimes tea. But here's the mug I've been using all this time. The chip at the side there came from knocking it against the wall I think...

What's your favourite coffee mug? Comment below!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ARC Review: Fever by Melissa Pearl

Title: Fever (A Songbird Novel)
Author: Melissa Pearl
Release Date: 15th June 2014
Publisher: -
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewSinging in the shower takes on a whole new meaning in Melissa Pearl's first Contemporary Romance. 

Ella Simmons does not want to move across the country. But she is, because her boyfriend has persuaded her to join him at UChicago to finish out her college education. Never able to tell him no, she hops on a plane and makes the trek from LA expecting to adjust to life like she's often forced to, but things are not that simple when she hears a luscious voice singing over her shower wall. His deep, sexy tenor makes her weak in the knees, spreading fire through her limbs and making her question everything about her life and relationship.

Can one voice really have that much of an impact?

Cole Reynolds is on his way out. In his final year at UChicao, the only this he wants to do is finish school and get on with this life. But the sweet voice that interrupts his morning shower turns his world upside down. Compelled to find his shower songbird, he begins a search across campus. The only thing to distract him from this goal is his roommate's gorgeous girlfriend who's just arrived from LA - Ella Simmons.

Relationships are put to the ultimate test as future dreams are questioned and friendships are thrown on the line for love

Detailed Review:  This is Melissa Pearl's FIRST contemporary romance? And it's already THIS good? Wow. As I told you before, she's definitely got talent.

How do I describe this book? The most obvious word would be amazing, but I feel that that isn't enough to even express how I feel about Fever. Heart-breaking, swoon-worthy, emotional, joyful and frustrating would be further added to the list.

And now I shall explain why I would describe the book using those adjectives.

Amazing: The word itself speaks volumes. Need I say more?

Heart-breaking: Imagine not being able to be with the person you love. That pretty much sums it up.

Swoon-worthy: The romance. Full stop. 

Emotional: You're happy one moment, sad the next, annoyed at times, and crying at the end.

Frustrating: Those times when Cole said he had to find 'shower bird' because he had to get away from Ella; he didn't even guess it was actually her. Same for Ella.

Is it possible to add twists to a contemporary  romance? According to this book, the answer is yes. You may think that the author will only have a limited amount of twists to write, but she makes the impossible possible.

There would be a total of 3 major twists, one of them being the ending. That was maybe one of the most beautiful endings I've ever seem. The absence of a cliffhanger just made it even more beautiful. 

The characters were really really really good. They each had originality and were individually unique. Ella may seem weak and submissive at first when she was only following David's plan and had none of her own, not even revealing her passion to sing to him. But in the end she mustered the strength to tell him the truth. I feel that it doesn't matter when she tells him everything, as long as she does it. It was brave of her to finally confront David.

David was quite a good character as well. He is portrayed as smart, studious, handsome but he just doesn't fit in well with Ella. I could already see it when Ella first met David in the book. He seemed a little selfish as times, disregarding Ella's allergy to gluten. So really, both of them didn't fit.

Now Cole and Ella, they were magic. They were perfectly right for each other. Who wouldn't want Cole? He's hot (bad boy alert!), caring, selfless and he can sing. When those two were together, I could literally feel the sparks flying from their relationship on my face. I felt tingly all over while reading the parts when they were together. I almost wished I was Ella.

I wouldn't have asked for better best friends than Logan and Jody. Jody's sunny nature can cheer you up instantly and Morgan's motherly nature will warm your heart to the core.

Another aspect I loved about this book, was THE MUSIC. I love music, it's what keeps me sane besides books. To actually read so much about music in this book is the best thing because it helps me connect to the book and its characters even more. Through music, this book has left an imprint on my heart and soul. Music means so much to me. as much as it means to the author and the characters. I couldn't have asked for a better playlist for this book. It was just awesome.

*There will be another book in the series, featuring one of Ella's best friends, Morgan!

Brief Review: So overall, Fever made me feverous (excuse the pun). It's a great read for those who love romance and if you want to swoon over it all day, Ella and Cole are the perfect couple to swoon over! And... if you are a true jazz lover, sway to the music while reading this book!

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'

Your Reviewer:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Rain by Amanda Sun

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication 'can't-wait-to-read' selection is:

Title: Rain (Paper Gods #2)
Author: Amanda Sun
Release Date: 24th June 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Find on: Goodreads

American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

Less than one week before Rain is released! I requested for an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley and thankfully I got approved. I can't wait to read it! I really love the setting since I believe thant e need more diverse books like this! The use of ink in the cover totally matches the story and setting and I honestly love it! I'll be rereading Ink before jumping straight into Rain! 

What are you waiting on this week? Comment below!