March 28, 2014

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Series: #1
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★ (3.5)

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

When I first read this book, it was soaring with the spirit of femininity. The main protagonist, Cassia Reyes is blazing with it. In a Society that's controlled, full of rules and regulations in belief of achieving a perfect lifestyle, Cassia becomes a little rebellious here - All because of one slight malfunction in her Matching card

It's so hard to review this book without having to say any spoilers. It's your typical perfect-boy-loves-perfect-girl-until-perfect-girl-meets-mysterious-boy-and-decidedly-falls-for-him kind of flick but added with hints of your average sci-fi and dystopian themes. Xander has been described as a handsome teen usually being fallen for by the other girls their age, and is Cassia's bestfriend and unexpectedly (though cliche-ingly) her match. Cassia then meets Ky, an Aberration and a childhood acquaintance. She gets curious of what Ky's past was so her curiosity leads her to know Ky better. And I'm probably not the only one, but I kind of found it similar to The Hunger Games series with its characters and setting.

All I can say is that I really smell the scent of a Peeta-Katniss-Gale kind of love triangle here! And the further you read the book, the further you'll hate the Society. (Similar to how you'll hate/have hated the Capitol). The way the Society was run wasn't that all original, but I guess it was somehow interesting.

I've also been hearing a lot of mixed reviews on this book, and somehow I'm in between because I've found a lot of good points and bad points of it. I kind of hated how undecisive Cassia was, regarding her feelings and whatnot. Though I've got to admit that the scenes between Cassia and Ky and Cassia and Xander were pretty sweet, so that's a plus.

 I also hated how strict the Society was just so the plot could continue. I felt that during the first half of the book it was so slow paced, like everyday Cassia would just do, talk, and wonder about the same things over and over again; and then in the latter half of the book everything was happening so fast that they started to be messy.

Matched was a fun read but then again I didn't enjoy a few aspects of it. I'm still however looking forward to reading its sequel, Crossed.

March 19, 2014

Blog Announcement: Back from the longer-than-expected hiatus!

Hi! It's been so long since I actually visited the blogger atmosphere. There's been a lot of things that has been going on lately and I'm so glad I'm over all of it. Here are few of the things that I've been doing:

  • Went on a book warehouse sale and brought home 5 books for 4/5 of the prices (which I'll be posting reviews of soon enough)
  • Finished novels on my iPad (which I'll be posting reviews of later on as well)
  • Visited my college to confirm my slot  and look for dorms even though my classes doesn't start until 11th of August
  • Cleared myself from school
  • Practiced (and still are) for graduation rites
And now I'm technically free from school since we only go to school for around 5 hours a day. I'll be here now to post reviews and meme's and other fun stuff. Thanks a lot :)

February 23, 2014

Blog Announcement: Semi-hiatus!

Hello to all of you! You guys may have noticed that I haven't been posting as much reviews this week. Since being a book blog requires much activity and interaction, I'm here to tell you that I will not be posting as much. I have around 4 projects to submit within this week and I have exams the following week. I know it's kind of hard to admit that I can't handle all of this, but I have my own life as well. After all those hardships I'll be free because I'll be graduating (Yay!) from High School and I'll be having a 5-month summer vacation because my University won't start classes until August. Hope everyone could understand.

I'll still be around lurking and checking up on things. See you in less than 16 days!

February 21, 2014

Feature and Follow Hop #2

This week's question: What was the last book that made you cry?

These are the books that made me cry recently. Allegiant by Veronica Roth; and my answer to every single blog hop, If I Stay and Where She Went, both by Gayle Forman just because that series is really amazing.

Links are in the sidebar (:

February 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

From The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
  1.  I love being a reader because I get to learn a lot of stuff. I love learning but I hate studying. (Yes there's a fine line.) Through reading, I get to know stuff that I wouldn't usually learn about.
  2. I love being a reader because it's addicting. It's my favorite past time as well. :)
  3. I love being a reader because I get to see different lives, cultures, and things I wouldn't get to see here in the Philippines. Because of that, I do believe that I have a wide understanding on things.
  4. I love being a reader because I get to expand my principles.
  5. I love being a reader because of the different places I'm able to visit.
  6. I love being a blogger because it keeps me occupied! :) I love being busy but I love being lazy, so I think this blogging thing is perfect for me.
  7. I love being a blogger because I get to meet a lot of people with the same interests. I get to relate myself to other people as well!
  8. I love being a blogger because of the books I get to know and read! Because of this opportunity, I get to be exposed to books that interest me.
  9. I love being a blogger because I get to write and rant about the books I read. I'm a school journalist for feature articles and photos, so I find it enjoying when I get to continue my work out of school. It keeps me in practice as well.
  10. I love being a blogger because I get to be myself. :)
What about your top ten reasons? Share your thoughts with me!

February 15, 2014

Book Review: It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Title: It's Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Series: #2
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Teen
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 Stars)

It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.
Click here to read:  The Summer I Turned Pretty Review (Prequel/#1, Summer Series)

So first thing's first, I'm hooked to this series. I've finished the series within 24 hours (I know, total nerd right?) but just because it was a really good one. I'm going to start with its good points - it's not the same with the first book, but you'll probably find similar details that will make you love this book as much as you loved the first one.

Belly has been experiencing a different summer than her usual one. In this book,  she's been spending a boring and worthless summer with her best friend Taylor. Belly's family has not made plans to go back to Cousins Island ever since Susannah died. Everything changed because of that. Her mother has been in a different state, as well as Conrad and Jeremiah. Everyone has grown up and had their own separate lives. But then Belly hears from Jeremiah that Conrad has been missing for a few days and that he needs her help. Of course, Belly would do anything for Conrad, and especially for Susannah.

I loved this book because aside from the usual flashbacks we get to see flashbacks and narratives from Jeremiah's point of view. Here we see much more of him, and that he's 100x better than the Jeremiah we've known from The Summer I Turned Pretty. That way the story didn't just revolve around Belly and her unending love for Conrad, but it's actually about Cousins Island, the summer house and the spirit of summer. As much as I loved the first book, here you can actually 'feel' summer. The salty water, the scorching rays, the boys, the people, the secrets, and the bonds you've created and will create.

I loved how we kind of got a glimpse of all the characters. Their true personalities, the things they've hid from the first book, and such. It made me feel connected to the story so much more. But I feel like there's a lot more this book could add to itself, but sometimes I feel like it's perfect the way it is. In some parts it has a slow storyline, especially with the flashbacks in between, but you'll get to the point of seeing that the flashbacks support the previous or succeeding chapter. Hence, the 4.5 stars. 

For me it's a book full of emotions and it can really touch your heart once you've gotten to the sense of it. It's captivating, heart-breaking, and enticing. I recommend It's Not Summer Without You to the lovers of the first book, and to the ones who haven't heard of the series yet.

February 10, 2014

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Series #: 1
Genre: YA/Contemporary/Teen
Rating: ★★★★

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han is amazing in its own way. So the story begins in the summer, introducing Belly or Isabel's family on their way to their Summer house in Cousin's Island. Cousin's is where Belly and her family has spent most of their summers. The house is owned by her mother's best friend, Suzannah, who has two gorgeous sons named Conrad and Jeremiah; with Belly having been in love with Conrad ever since she was 10.

As much as I don't want to post any spoilers, I think The Summer I Turned Pretty is one of the most memorable books I've ever read. It's on the right side of clichè and the right side of awful. There's just books that are too clichè making it too awful, but Jenny Han made TSITP perfect. I love how Belly's just the average girl. She's 15, turning 16, she's going through this social anxiety phase, she has a jerk of an older brother, she's a bit experimental, she doesn't find heels and mini skirts comfortable, and she doesn't even have a lot of friends.

It's your typical teen story. There are fights, crushes, loves, first time's, parties, dressing up, everything that the current generation teen experiences. I think that Jenny Han wrote The Summer I Turned Pretty ordinarily while making it extraordinary to its readers. Some of you might find it too cheesy or too idealistic, but I saw the side where it is pretty realistic, that it does tackle some kind of shallow teenage issues. How pasts can create presents, how much over-thinking can influence anything.

I recommend it to anyone who loves to read contemporary in the perspective of a teenage girl. I think this book is worth a shot. Hopefully you will, too. If ever you enjoy it, read its sequels!

February 7, 2014

Feature and Follow Hop #1

If you could read a book for the “first time” again, which book would it be? Why?

Maybe I'd choose If I Stay (and its sequel) because it's just an amazing book. By the time I've read it, I was at a salon getting my hair fixed and I kept holding off my tears because I obviously did not want to cry in front of a bunch of hairdressers and customers.

It was a heartwarming book and I just couldn't get the story off my mind. Whenever I see commercials on the television or things I'd hear in the radio or somewhere, sometimes I'd get to a point where I'd be thinking, "I remember Mia and Adam.", "I remember If I Stay." It just was something you'd remember that well. Well for me at least. I think it was an amazing work done by an amazing author, and if I ever have more time in the future, I'd like to read it again even though I already completely know how the story goes. 

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February 4, 2014

Book Blogger Hop #1

When you receive new books in the mail, do the older ones get moved to the bottom of your list or do go strictly "by the book" and keep your list with older books first and then the new ones?

To be honest it just depends on my mood. I've got like dozens of books on my iBooks shelf and I still hadn't decided on what to read next. I'm on the first few chapters of Matched but I've decided to start and finish the Summer series instead. So it kinda depends on the whole feel of the book/s, and how I feel as well. I'm don't have a specific order in what comes first (unless it's a series, of course...), and I love treating things in general as equals. :)

February 3, 2014

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Series #: 1
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This is one of my favorite covers of all time. I honestly bought this because of the cover (and of course the back cover synopsis...) because who wouldn't get attracted to frilly gowns and pretty colors?!

So I agree with the thought that it's like Hunger Games (without all the gore) and the Bachelor mashed together in one book. It's set in a futuristic time, where Illea (previously North America) is divided into eight Castes (one being the highest), and all girls between the ages of 16-20 are given application forms to join the Selection (similar to the Hunger Games, except the Selection is not mandatory), a competition to search for the next queen of Illea. And of course, we have the ever so stubborn protagonist who doesn't believe in the whole process, America Singer, from the fifth caste. She was basically forced into entering the competition by her family and secret boyfriend.

What I didn't like about The Selection is that you'd love-hate-hate America. She's just so indecisive, and trust me, she's a sweetheart, but sometimes there's this part of her that would make you pull your hair out of your head. It's like, "GIRL DO YOU REALLY WANT THIS OR NOT BECAUSE I COULD REALLY FILL IN YOUR PLACE AND MAKE MAXON FALL IN LOVE WITH ME INSTEAD" most of the time. The writing was a bit off and I kind of noticed that sometimes it wasn't that consistent regarding the use  of the words (e.g the presence of the repetitiveness of the vocabulary) and the story itself, but I guess it had a good plot. I seriously think the plot was amazing.

What I liked about this book is it's so original. You don't get to see books like this everyday, don't you? It's about everything a common girl hopes for - but it's nothing like the Carrie Diaries or The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, it's all crowns, handsome boys, royalties, grand palaces, banquets, and extravagant gowns and dresses. But there's also this side of the book that kind of deals with action, and somehow it teaches the girls not only to be soft and feminine queens, but a queen who can handle these situations when it actually arises. (And in my point of view, I think all girls should possess that quality, not just the women in the line of royalty in the present and/or in the future.)

Because of this, I did not only love the series but I loved Kiera Cass as well! She's so witty and amazing in all aspects.  I enjoyed it, and I think it's worth a shot. You guys should try it. (It makes you feel all tingly inside because of all the sweet Maxon-America scenes!)

P.S. I'm definitely on Team Maxon.
P.P.S. You guys should also try reading the novellas (The Prince and The Guard; POV's of Maxon and Aspen respectively). I think those support the story a lot and can make you change your views of the story/book.

January 31, 2014

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Series #: 1
Genre: YA/Dystopian/Science Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

First of all I must say that this is one unique story. I first knew about this at Tumblr, and when I got to a bookstore, I bought it without even thinking otherwise. The first few sentences kind of already captured me, so I didn't really put it down for the next 5 hours or so. 

Brief Explanation about 'Divergence' and its Synopsis above... (NO MAJOR SPOILERS!)
So in Divergent, we have sixteen year-old Beatrice Prior. So when people turn sixteen, they have to undergo some kind of aptitude test that will show what one faction they belong to and then evaluate their choices. Chicago has this kind of annual ceremony that's participated by the people evaluated by the test. This ceremony is to chose a new faction. Whether they feel they don't belong in their current faction, they could switch. The decision is entirely theirs, but of course, the test is created to help narrow the choices of the teenagers. But when Tris had her aptitude test, the result showed three equal results, that she was compatible with Erudite, Abnegation, and Dauntless. This means she is divergent, a kind of 'race' wherein people have different mentalities and abilities rather than those who aren't. From the root word 'diverse', divergent means that these people switch their thinkings rapidly, as opposed to those who aren't divergent. Since their government is designed to train people to build a better nation or community, they believe that divergence will only ruin the proposal of a better country. That's why when Tris got her results, her proctor warned her that the government wishes to eradicate the Divergent. Tris kept this secret as well because she's afraid that this could be the very reason of her death. 

I love/d the characters in this book as well as their stories. It feels like every character is crafted finely to create this well-written book. When you read this book, you'd probably get a sense of having an inner Tris deep inside you. We could also get a sense that maybe in a few years or generations, we could have this kind of controlled world. It really is possible. 

It's not entirely similar to THG (The Hunger Games), as most people say. It's something new in the realm of YA fiction and is really interesting. It's a compelling story about strength, love, hope, faith, and secrecy. If you want to spice up your YA selection, then add this to your reading list! I highly recommend this :) Hope you would enjoy/have enjoyed reading this as much as I did.

January 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist

Theme: Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

1. A love-hate relationship with the protagonist. I love how this kind of main characters make me read through the end. This kind of characters usually make me stop and think for a while.

2. Something set in the 80's-90's. I was born in 1998, so I'm not quite sure how society and the lives really were back then. Of course I had an idea, but not completely concrete. I think that would be beautiful :)

3. The protagonist dies. I'm not brutal or anything, but wouldn't you like to realize that not everything ends up in a happy fairytale ending? 

4. Real-life problems of people (specifically teens) amd eye-openers. Teenagers are usually the most misunderstood in society. They're victims, offenders, problematic, emotional, obsessive, but others only see that as immature and an 'act of age' -- It's fair enough to give what teens are truly experiencing a chance to be seen by the rest of the world. And wouldn't we enjoy reading something that we could relate to? :) I find books interesting if they show things to people -- problems, events, ideas, proposals, etc. 

5. TEAR-JERKERS! Who wouldn't love a book that'll make you tear up even for a little bit?

6. An interesting, unexpected plot. It could be anything, really. Something that's unusual that it could make you stick to reading it.

7. Adventures. Who doesn't love a adventure-packed book?

8. Lessons. I think a book wouldn't be complete without it having something for the reader to think about. A moral lesson could teach somebody something, it could also be somebody's principle, or somebody's motto to success.

9. Enough of the perfect girl and the perfect guy tandem. Let's have something more unexpected! There are already enough of this. We know enough that this is far from reality. :(

10. Set in the future. As much as I love contemporary books I also love YA Sci-fi/Fiction. I think they're pretty interesting. :) 

What about yours? Feel free to share some thoughts in the comments below! :)

January 19, 2014

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both of them legions of faithful fans.

 I would like to initially say that Will Grayson, Will Grayson is more than what I have expected. Favorite John Green book as of now (Maybe because David Levithan co-wrote it), actually. So as you may have noticed by the repetitive title, there are two Will Grayson's in the story. Different people, different attitudes, different lifestyles.

In each chapter, the point of views switch from Will Grayson, who is a perfectly socially-anxious boy (created by John Green) who doesn't like any of the people's attention and a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance, to will grayson (purposely written in lowercase; created by David Levithan), a boy who we would describe as emotional (or emo), deep, dark, secretive, and quiet.

One night in Chicago, in the midst of the most unexpected events, the two Will Grayson's meet. This is where their lives start to intersect. The two learn how to forgive, forget, be strong, appreciate, and be their own person. Through these wondrous series of events, you'll see what people regard as their problem and how they address them. I think it's such a nice idea how shallow the problems in the book are, but they actually are the problems of most people in real life.

I loved how Levithan and Green made you be in the story. Like how you would love all the protagonists (the two Will Grayson's, Tiny, Jane, etc.) and hate all the antagonists (Maura, Maura, Maura -- and no, Maura is not a repetitive character in the story). There's a wide variety of remarkably impossible-yet-could-be-true encounters and aspects in this amazing book. That's what I found entertaining -- it's so impossible, that you actually visualize the scenes and can see it happening in real life, in the most unexpected circumstances. It's a humorous, invigorating, and close to what's happening and could be happening in our society.

I highly recommend this to fans of previous John Green/David Levithan books and see for yourself how you'd react to this. Maybe it's not for everyone, but I certainly found it entertaining enough that it could receive 5 stars.

January 14, 2014

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

I absolutely loved this book. First off, it's about Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who we'd see as normal by first look, but actually has (or had) some issues that she couldn't handle on her own. Hannah here, committed suicide and no one really knew why. But little do people know that before she ended her life, she created 13 cassette tapes that has her reasons.

The book is from the point of view of Clay. He receives these 13 video tapes from an unknown sender, and puts it on to listen to it. I was moved by how he couldn't take hearing it at first. It gave me the sense that Clay must have really cared for Hannah, but didn't show it enough.

After listening, Clay sends them out anonymously to the next person. He grew, as well. Because of listening to Hannah's story, Clay learns to stop being quiet. Quiet in terms of being afraid, that is.

Today, sadly, many people are victims of depression, bullying, hurt, and countless people have already committed suicide because for them, it's the only choice; and I loved how Jay Asher wrote a story about how the little things that we do could affect people differently. I could say it changed me. I learned to simply just respect people and being just someone to talk to, in general. I make it a point that everyone who talks to me will have clearer thoughts by the end of our conversation. It could go a long way, you know.

It's really something. It's mostly about what teenagers, or anyone could be or have been experiencing and how blind the world is. And sometimes all they really need is someone to talk to, but sometimes we don't see how they need our help. And sometimes, it takes them just enough to realize that maybe they're not worth it. I think this book is reaching out to us as well, similarly to how Hannah tried to reach out but didn't succeed.

This is a wonderful book, and even better if you listen to Hannah's audiotapes on youtube. It's a huge eye-opener, sometimes we think we already know, but we have much more to learn about. It could really change your perspective on things and I think that it's worth your time reading it.

January 11, 2014

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Rating: ★★ (2.5 Stars)
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.
What I didn't like...
 Honestly, I didn't really enjoy this book. At first, I thought this was a book about going to Alaska or something. But it's actually a story that revolves around Miles/Pudge and his shallow perspective.  I felt that it was just too plain and too much. You'd see the plot in teen-sitcoms, like Ned's De-classified School Survival Guide or something from MTV. You'd have the occasional douchebags, the super-strict teacher that will kick you out from the school if you do something wrong (and acts all dumb about it too), yet all the students continue to do everything against the rules, and you have the theme of fitting-in.

Whole book in 5 sentences: *spoiler, of course*
Miles, a boy who supposedly remembers famous people's last words (as usual, a hidden genius in every John Green protagonist) and is in search of this "great perhaps",  enters a boarding school and gets welcomed by a group of rebellious and supposedly cool friends, thus garnering him his nickname, Pudge. Their circle of friends and this rich, snotty, douche-baggy, jerky group from their school unbelievably have this immature prank fest, because one of the snotty group's friends got kicked out, and they try to outdo each other with these pranks that the Eagle never gets a hold of. 

Alaska, the girl from the group tries to set Pudge off with another girl, but then it doesn't go so well. He falls head over heels for Alaska Young, a wild, rebellious, thrill-seeking, 'hot' girl, yet Alaska has a boyfriend, but they still make out. One night, Alaska just leaves without a reason and then they just announce it that she's dead. That of course, leaves Pudge hanging, and then he still loves her and tries to make up for it leaving a line like, "I'll always love you, present tense." 

And another, I don't get the point of this book showing its readers that teenagers like to do drugs, smoke joints, have sex, make out with 8 other people in a week, drink, do illegal things, etc. That's shallow, to be categorizing every teenager out there has those things on their to-do lists.

What I liked...
I still believe that to every unpleasant side there is a better side. I think that Miles found his own great perhaps in the whole experience. The great perhaps is not a place, though. I believe it's a point in life or maybe even a state or condition. Maybe he found bliss in Alaska, or in analyzing Alaska herself. I also think that he didn't foresee this great perhaps, that even though many see Alaska bizarrely, he found himself to love her for who she really is. Maybe that's that.

The writing is great, I'll tell you that. I love John Green's choice of words, as always. But the plot just seemed uninteresting for me. Or maybe, this book isn't just for me. I'm not saying that it's not worth a read, this is just how I perceive the book. I might still re-read it and absorb a couple of new perspectives myself.

January 9, 2014

Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Title: Where She Went
Author: Gayle Forman
Series #: 2
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★ (a hundred more if possible)
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
First of all I want to say how strong the If I Stay series is. I loved its first book -- If I Stay, and now I absolutely adore Where She Went. Well, basically, you can read the series in any order at all. But I suggest sticking to the chronological pacing. ☺

In this second book, we are reading from Adam's point of view. And, you guessed it, Adam's now a big-time rock star with an even-bigger girlfriend in terms of show business. But he still is, truly, madly, and deeply in love with Mia, and he thinks that there's is no one out there who could replace her.

And I both hate and love Adam and Mia. On Adam,  Well, all of his sadness, anger, hurt, and pain from Mia were the roots of his success, the cause of Shooting Star's hit albums, yet he couldn't even bring himself to tell Mia what he truly feels. Well, true, I believe that it's not that easy at all, but it's been eating him alive for the past three years. What I love about him, well, is that he couldn't just hurt Mia, in any way, even if he would wanted to, because that's what those three years did to him. He held on too much to something his heart desires but his brain tries to forget. He even feels sad whenever Mia cries. On Mia, gurl, why didn't you explain earlier? Maybe things could have gone better than they were. MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN MARRIED BY THIS BOOK YOU KNOW. (But I guess Where She Went wouldn't have such an amazing plot if that happened.) (P.S. You'll understand when you read it!)

And to top it all, I loved the writing, how Gayle Forman would make us anticipate and speculate about what happened then, and what will happen now, now that Mia and Adam are basically taking a tour around New York City. I also loved how I could feel each moment as much as the characters did. (Thus the crying I've been trying to hide)

Okay, to settle things, I did cry in both of the two books, okay. It's just so amazing in all ways possible. It feels true; Like Mia and Adam wrote the story themselves. *Again, praising Gayle Forman for that* Where She Went is a compelling love story about reconciliation, the hope of mending the broken pieces, and starting over.

And it's just amazing, how everything comes to life, like all the cliché love quotes are actually true -- for example, "if you two are really meant for each other, then fate will bring you closer." or something like that. Kidding aside, I can't explain how much this series touched me. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a wonderful read.

January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014

So I've decided to participate in a meme called Top Ten Tuesday. 

From The Broke and the Bookish
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
The theme of this week's Top Ten Tuesday is, Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014. I'm going to post most of my book/blog-related resolutions and some of my personal goals as well.
  1.  To learn to appreciate more books and embrace other genres. I'd like to try and see if I would enjoy reading books out of the YA category. I believe there are a lot more of good books our there, I'd just have to open myself to them.
  2. To work hard on my blog. Well, I'm just starting with Paint on the Pages. Not just in terms of statistics and technical aspects, but also in the quality of the posts I create.
  3. To be a better reviewer.  In the future, I'd like to see myself having a more profound sense of understanding with the plots and morals of a novel.
  4. To be active. I think participation is important in this community. I don't only want to build a good reputation among my readers, but I'd like to have a good interaction with most of them. 
  5. To save a lot of money. This doesn't only aim for buying books, but personally, too. I'm starting college after I graduate this year and I'd really like to see some independence from me. And, more funds = more books! (And clothes! And money in general!)
  6. To stick to a schedule. I'd like to balance myself between my blog and my studies. Of course I want to be focused on both, but it seems that for the current time, I should be more focused on the latter. I don't want to abandon both, either. It's just a matter of time management, and I believe I could do it.
  7. To be unafraid. I'm usually afraid of talking to other people (blog-wise) because I'm afraid they'd be weirded out or think negatively of me and/or my blog. Guess I just need a little confidence! 
  8. To meet more book bloggers! I love seeing YA book blogs! If possible, I'd always want someone
  9. To expand my blog's stats. I know this may sound selfish, but hey, to be successful, of course you'd need a few readers. Of course this isn't a goal to be famous, but to be able to share my thoughts to other book-loving people and have them share their thoughts as well.
  10. I want to see myself successful. Self-explanatory. Maybe not just in the book blogging community but also in real life, with my studies and such. (I'm going to college soon!)

January 4, 2014

Books and Iced Coffee's 2014 Everything YA Reading Challenge

Books and Iced Coffee has decided to host a challenge and I flipped when I saw it! A YA READING CHALLENGE, EVERYBODY!!!!! Do I need to express my love for YA and for this challenge?

Sign up + Details

Challenge Guidelines:
  1. Participants must create a shelf or a page to where they can list the books that they have read for the year. 
  2. Book must meet any of the sub- genres of the young adult category, whether it’s paranormal, romance, drama, contemporary, horror, etc. 
  3. Must be longer than 100 pages.
  4. The year of when the book was published does not matter. As long as you have read the book in 2014, it will be accepted. 
  5. TO THOSE WHO HAVE A BLOG, feel free to post up a review of each book that you have read for the challenge and provide a link please?? I would love to read it :) 
  6. All formats are acceptable (paperback, ARC, ebook, etc.)
Reading list:
  1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
Thank you, Books and Iced Coffee for this very wonderful challenge! ☺

Read. Sleep. Repeat.'s 2014 Series Challenge

I love series as much as I hate them (the endless cliffhangers and the amount of money that you spend--ugh), but still, series make up half of my books.

Read. Sleep. Repeat. has created a Series Challenge for 2014. It's a good way to discover and finish the series that I've unwillingly neglected for the past years.

Sign up + Details

Challenge Guidelines:
  1. You have to FINISH the series
  2. If the series isn’t complete yet, or will not be completed before December 1st, 2014 read up to the most recent book in said series.
  3. Novellas count, but are optional.
  4. HAVE fun
  5. If you decide to break up with a series after book one, it does not count!
  6. You do not have to START the series in 2014, you just have to FINISH it in 2014
  7. Series that you started prior to 2014 are fine as long as you FINISH the series in 2014
  8. The series has to have at least 2 books out prior to December 1st, 2014
  9. Proof that you finished the book is required. It could be a full review, a mini review, or a rating with a few lines.
  10. DNF’s do not count. PERIOD.

[Hopefully to be achieved] Reading List: 
  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (as dumb as it may sound, yes, I still haven't finished reading this) [4/7]
  2. The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass [2/3]
  3. Matched trilogy by Ally Condie [0/3]
  4. Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver [0/3]
  5. Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins [0/3]
  6. Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi [0/3]
  7. Under the Never Sky trilogy by Shannon Messenger [0/3]
  8. The Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin [0/3]
I don't really hope winning this challenge, because I know it's almost impossible, but it's worth a shot. And besides, there's really a lot of great series out there waiting to be bought/read.

Thank you for this wonderful challenge, Read. Sleep. Repeat.! ☺

Bookmark To Blog's 2014 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge

Bookmark to Blog's Kim has decided to host a motif challenge for this year. The task is to read a book under the category that she has assigned to each month. I think it's a wonderful challenge and it's something that I could use to expand my blog and myself to books. ☺

Sign up + Details

Jan- Around the World
Choose a book to read that takes place in a country different than the one you live in or choose a book written by an author that is from a country different than your own.

Feb- Award Winner
Read a book that has won recognition or a literary award.  Here's a list of literary awards to help you get started on your search: Literary Awards.

Mar-  Fairy tales or Fairy Creatures
Read a fairy tale retelling or a book with fey/fairies in it.

Apr- Short & Sweet
Read a collection of short stories or anthologies.

May- Mystery, Murder, & Mayhem
Read a murder/mystery book, a book in which someone dies of mysterious causes, or a book in which a mystery must be solved.

June-  A Long Journey
Read a book in which the character(s) take a trip, go on a quest, or find themselves on a journey toward something, etc.

July- Assassins, Warriors, & Rebels
Read a book in which the main character is one of these things or fights against one of these things.

Aug- Alternate Reality
Read a book that's set in the future, on another planet, in another dimension, or in an unknown world. A Dystopian book will count this month as well.

Sep- Book to Movie
Read a book that has a movie based off of it. For an extra challenge, see the movie as well.

Oct- The Witching Hour
There's been a lot of zombies lately, but this year include a 'witchy' book in your scary reads- a book about a witch or a book that has witches in it.

Nov- An Oldie but a Goodie
Pick a book published before 2000 that you've always wanted to read, but just never got to. Or pick a book set in the past (before 2000).

Dec- That's a Wrap
Finish a series you've been meaning to finish or read the next book in a series you started but never finished.

January 3, 2014

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Title: If I Stay
Author: Gayle Forman
Page count: 262 pages
Series #: 1
Rating:  ★★★★★
Genre: YA/Contemporary

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.
Behold fans of Before I Fall! This is yet another book about death and self-discovery.

I love this book to pieces, okay.  I think it's amazing how Gayle Forman created up this story. I mean, before the accident, we get a glimpse of how Mia's family is. How they're weird, funny, and caring. You get to sense how much they really love each other. That's how I cringed reading through the accident, how it was just so sudden. After I read that part, you could basically just sit in a corner and be scared for the rest of your life, because the future is unpredictable. That accident happened to Mia and her family, as much as it could happen to anyone else.

Another thing that I loved was how much I believed it. My head was practically filled with 'what if's' and huge theories that maybe if someone in Mia's situation could be in that state.

And of course, I couldn't have just left this review with 5 stars without a book boyfriend. Here we have Adam, the rocker-type of guy who'd take a job as a pizza delivery guy just to take you to a Yo-Yo Ma concert. And I absolutely loved how he shows his love to Mia, how he thinks she's perfect in every way, even though Mia constantly asks, "Why me?"

In this book, we join Mia as she reassesses her life, her lovelife, and her self. Is it really worthy to stay? Or would it be better to just ease the lives of everyone else worried about her?

I think all in all it was an amazing story about love, choices, hurt and loss. It's absolutely heart-breaking. But then again, you'd have to read it for yourself. This is highly recommended!

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Genre: Contemporary/Young Adult

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washedup child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

To be honest, upon reading the first few chapters of this book, I was determined to stop reading it and move on with another book in my shelf. It took me a year and three months to actually finish it. But there were a few things at least, that made me go through it. 

What I liked about this book was John Green's descriptions. He wrote about things very vividly, and you could always visualize them in your head. For example, a Pepto-Bismolly pink house; Another were the endless footnotes that were factual and interesting for me, contradicting to how Hassan sees them uninteresting; the plot points that you'd least expect; Those were, in my opinion, the aspects of this book that entertained me and kept me from hiding it at the back of my shelf.

One last thing, I like how John Green emphasized that Colin is a smartypants, as Lindsey calls him, a boy with no talent other than anagramming, typing, coming up with theories; a boy who has a lazy, overweight best and only friend; a boy who has this huge, constant obsession with dating girls named Katherine, to transform into someone who had discovered his own eureka moment in a series of events during a roadtrip. 

John Green made his readers realize that Colin's as normal as anyone. Insecure, maybe. Sensitive, maybe. That everyone has a problem. May it be someone who's a child prodigy, someone who's popular or not, someone who's obsessed with dating girls, and maybe someone who makes theorems to calculate the future relationships that he might have. Colin not only showed that, but the rest of the characters as well. I loved how at first Colin was just seeking for time to finish his theorem and leaving a unique mark for the next generations to see, to becoming someone who became connected to people, finding things in common, and that he finally felt part of a whole. And I love how Lindsey, Hassan, the whole place of Gutshot, the road trip, were just the things Colin needed to fill the hole in his gut created by the 19 Katherines he has dated.

I'd recommend this book who's in need of a good "spiritual awakening" as Hassan puts it, or a good laugh. This is another well done book by John Green.

January 2, 2014

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Rating:  ★★★★★
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

First of all, I've bought, already read and finished this book in 2012. I bought this because it had an interesting cover. But I must say, it still leaves a wonderful impression in my mind.
Moving on, we have our protagonist, who might not possess the protagonist "aura", Samantha Kingston. As the preview states, she has it all. She's the queen bee living by the blinding mist of popularity.

The story begins with Sam and her friends driving home from a party. All of a sudden, the car crashes, and we realize that Sam dies. She eventually wakes up in her room, and experiences the same day all over again. 

In reading the first few chapters, Lauren Oliver would really make you hate/dislike Sam. I mean, who would even like mean girls? She's this shallow, self-conceited, materialistic girl you'd see at most high schools. But throughout the story, you'll really see who Sam is, under all that fame and glamor. Because of that one week, she had developed into this warm, understanding, mature girl that we'd never expect from an it-girl. This is the quality that I've enjoyed most from the book. You'd think it's just a story to solve the mystery surrounding her sudden death, but it's actually a story to resolve herself. 

The characters were all supplementary to Sam's growth. In those seven repetitive days, she has strengthened and mended her bonds towards the people surrounding her. And of course, this book wouldn't be complete without having another fictional boyfriend - Kent, who also plays a huge role in the story. (You'll have to read the book! Haha)

All in all, it was a very lovely book. Lauren Oliver did an amazing job with this, and it's one of the reasons why I'm looking forward to reading the Delirium trilogy. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who would enjoy a YA/Contemporary novel. 



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