Review | The Wedding Date


Title: The Wedding Date
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Imprint: Headline Eternal
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320

Blurb from Goodreads:

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew Nichols is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is not something Alexa Monroe would normally do. But Drew’s proposal proves hard to resist.

After their wedding date turns into a whole weekend of fun in San Francisco, Drew and Alexa return to their all-consuming careers – his in LA and hers in Berkeley. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about each other…

It could be the long-distance dating disaster of the century – or Drew and Alexa could be just a flight away from what each of them truly wants.

My Thoughts-01

For a romance book, this wasn’t very romantic. At first it was really cute—because I love meet cutes, and hot “stuck-together-in-an-enclosed-space” stories, and even some good fake-dating tropes, cliché as they may sound. Sue me. All the nice things in this book is in its first quarter. Sadly, it all ended there. A good three quarters of this was painfully flat, forced, uneventful, and immature. I was bored out of my wits.

Everything started on a nice note for me. Drew and Alexa were both intriguing characters thrust into a pretty interesting situation— they were stuck together in the elevator. Shortly after that, they agreed to pose as a dating couple at a wedding. And I honestly find it cute and exciting. But then the wedding is over and everything just stopped being interesting. Everything I read after that was of Drew and Alexa having sex, eating, sleeping, one of them flying back home. Then one of them would fly to visit the other on weekends. Then back to having sex, eating, taking a shower… You can skip a chapter and not miss anything important to the story.Read More »


Review | To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 355

Blurb from Goodreads:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

My Thoughts-01

I gotta say, this book was surprisingly good and way more fun than I expected. And that’s something coming from someone who isn’t even a big fan of this genre. I admit I only picked this up because after all the dark vibes from my previous read (The Young Elites), I needed something cheerful and fluffy to chase the gloom away. It turns out that this was the perfect book for the job. And now I’m so invested I’m ready to keep reading this series all the way to its final installment.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before doesn’t stray away from your typical teen romance. There were lots of clichés floating around—popular heartthrob meets miss innocent goody two shoes, high school dramas, the gossips and rumors to stir things. Don’t even get me started with the “my parents aren’t home so let’s party all night” scenes. And oh, the fake boyfriend trope.

No, no, don’t run away just yet. The thing is, Jenny Han brilliantly turned those clichés into something fun and enjoyable.Read More »

Review | The Midnight Star

The Midnight Star
Title: The Midnight Star
Series: The Young Elites #3
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 314

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

My Thoughts-01

I’ll be honest. After all the emotions that The Young Elites and The Rose Society made me feel—the heartbreaks, the surprising twists, and heart-pounding action—this conclusion seems a little less intense. And it stalled a bit—the first hundred pages were painfully uneventful. We still have the dark and the gritty atmosphere but somehow this one gives a different feel from the first two books in the series. It’s totally not the conclusion that I imagined would happen but I think Marie Lu did well in this. She tied everything neatly, leaving no loose ends behind, giving the series a proper closure. The Midnight Star may not be as awesome as the first two books but it’s still awesome.Read More »

Review | The Handmaid’s Tale


Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Vintage Classics
Release Date: October 07, 2010
First Published: 1985
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adult, Classic
Pages: 324

Blurb from Goodreads:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America explores a world in which oppression of women, and repression of the truth, have become justified.

My Thoughts-01

The future is a harrowing nightmare in Margaret Atwood’s chilling yet compelling masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale. In this book, Atwood painted a future that you surely wouldn’t wish to be in. A future wherein women are only valued for their ability to give birth. So as a woman, and a mother, this has totally been a hard one to read. And disturbing. And scary. Just imagine being stripped off of everything you have—from your possessions, your freedom, your rights, down to your name! Imagine being put entirely in the “care” of men that you aren’t even allowed to walk the streets without their permission. It’s infuriating and frightening, this book. But what’s most terrifying about this extraordinary work of fiction is the possibility of it happening in reality.

A rat in a maze is free to go anywhere, as long as it stays inside the maze.

Here we see a country, Gilead, under a totalitarian government run by despotic rulers and religious extremists. Obviously, nothing good came out of that combination. And we witness the injustices and the atrocities of this regime through the eyes of our main character, Offred. Read More »

Review | The Rose Society

The Rose Society
Title: The Rose Society
Series: The Young Elites #2
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 398

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

My Thoughts-01

Hands down! Hands. Down. I did anticipate a darker sequel after how things ended in The Young Elites. But I haven’t expected it to be this dark and this intense. The first book effectively built and arranged a good foundation for Adelina’s dark transformation in this installment—creating darkness so thick and heavy around her story. It’s also very interesting to see old characters play a bigger role in this book as well as new additions who has all sorts of intriguing things to put in the table. And yes, motives too!

Someday, when I am nothing but dust and wind, what tale will they tell about me?

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Fueled by her avenging spirit and with betrayals, hate, and unpleasant memories in the mix, Adelina continues to fall deeper into the dark side leaving death and destruction in her wake. She finally comes to full power in this book. And while it’s intriguing to see what she would do to her wrongdoers now that she isn’t so powerless, it’s also achingly sad seeing her heart harden like that, turning her into someone so ruthless. It is extremely heartbreaking knowing that such thing wouldn’t have happened if only the world had been a little kinder to Adelina and to all the malfettos. Even with all her power, Adelina still has fears and I really felt it in her narratives.Read More »

Review | Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

Because You Love to Hate Me
Title: Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy
Authors: Ameriie (Editor), Renee Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon
BookTubers: Christine Riccio, Tina Burke, Samantha Lane, Sasha Alsberg, Sophia Lee, Zoe Herdt, Benjamin Alderson, Jesse George, Regan Perusse, Catriona Feeney, Raeleen Lemay, Whitney Atkinson, Steph Sinclair, Kat Kennedy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Anthology, Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
Pages: 339

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

My Thoughts-01

Dear Book,

You had me at the Introduction. I’ve always had soft spot for villains especially those with amazing backstories that tells us of their struggles before they became the characters we love to hate. I appreciate the way the Introduction highlights the importance of villains in a story. Being a lover of good “bad guy stories”, I immediately felt like this book was made especially for me.

I checked this book out for two reasons:

  1. The title alone promises darkness being the biggest component in this book. Thirteen stories told from the villain’s perspective!
  2. Three of my favorite authors are in it—Adam Silvera, Victoria Schwab, and Marissa Meyer. And they delivered! Awesomely. I must add.

The team-up of YA authors and popular BookTubers is something I haven’t seen done before so it really piqued my interest. The collaboration didn’t work for me though. Sadly. I feel like the BookTubers’ parts didn’t help with the stories. I appreciate the creativity in each of the prompts—the funny essays, the quizzes, the tips on how to be a good villain—but to me they didn’t feel necessary. I think it would’ve been nice if the space for the prompts were given to the authors instead, so there’s more room for the actual story.

Leave it to the heroes to save the world. Villains just want to rule it.

While the stories from my favorite authors really stood out in terms of wickedness, I wasn’t very impressed with the others. Perhaps I was expecting more evil. There were some that didn’t came out strong and villainous for me, some I find confusing, and others are retellings that sticks too closely to the original fairy tale so it felt flat and less creative. But there were also stories from authors that I haven’t heard of before that managed to captivate and surprise me. Since this is a mix of noes and yeses for me, I decided to do a breakdown review and rating for each story.Read More »

Review | The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites
Title: The Young Elites
Series: The Young Elites #1
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 07, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 355

Blurb from Goodreads:

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

My Thoughts-01

Here’s a confession. I don’t have a big shelf. So when a book doesn’t live up to my expectations I get rid of them by selling them off at half their original price. Why keep a book that I don’t intend to reread when I could pass it to others who might actually love it? But this book? This book has earned it’s place in my shelf and it’s definitely not leaving any time soon.

Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.

The Young Elites is one of the darkest book I’ve ever come across. There is a sense of honesty in the pain, the struggles, and the hate that emanates from the characters. It felt real and palpable. The plot held my attention all the way through. It’s very original and it rolled out in such a striking way—from the blood fever that killed thousands, to the idea of malfettos who are disowned by their families and hated by society because of the strange, inexplicable, powers they acquired after coming out of the blood-fever alive. Malfettos are seen as abomination and are unjustly executed because of it. But a few of them choose to fight back and they call themselves the Young Elites. Read More »

Review | One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Title: One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery & Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 361

Blurb from Goodreads:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts-01

What good is a mystery/thriller if you’re not suspecting your favorite character and pretty much everyone mentioned in the book? Brace yourselves YA and mystery fans because One of Us Is Lying is a book set to mess with your brain a little bit and have you guessing all the way to the very end. It’s a very well put together book with a well-constructed storyline and cleverly plotted mystery. I bet many readers won’t guess this right. I’ve had over a dozen speculations about whodunit and who’s the exceptionally skilled liar among the characters. Still, I wasn’t able to hit the bull’s eye in the end.

The mystery was quite intriguing. Four outstanding students quickly turned murder suspects after a fellow student, Simon Kelleher, died in front of them during detention. Simon was widely hated though—being the administrator of a gossip app that has already managed to ruin lives by sharing people’s deepest secrets to the public. Simon’s killer could be anyone from school. And despite being good students it turns out that Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate had secrets to keep and each had a potential motive for killing Simon. Well, I think the lesson from this story is—if you’re smart enough to develop an app, make it something helpful instead of something meant to bring people down so you don’t end up being so alone and hated by everyone to the point that they would wish you were dead.Read More »

Review | The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 513

Blurb from Goodreads:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Thoughts-01

Finally! Finally, a YA book I could shamelessly give my five star rating to! Because here’s a book that hits all the right notes. Everything came to me as a brilliant surprise. I guess it help that I didn’t read the blurb or any reviews before going into this book. I just checked its average rating and it was high enough that I decided to go for it. Which is a damn good decision, I think. There’s always an added magic to reading a book with completely no hint of what it offers. Just like the characters, I’m oblivious to what would happen next and somehow that gives a “part of the gang” vibes. Like I’m in this adventure with them and knowing only the things they knew. Of course I’m only speaking based on my experience but if you do want to go into this blind, stop reading this now because I’ll be gushing about this book in the next minutes.

Love may be a grand thing, but goddamn if it doesn’t take up more than its fair share of space inside a man.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is everything I could ask for in a historical fiction. It is adventure-filled. It is populated with very diverse characters. It talks about diverse subjects. There’s also a tiny speck of magic in it. And it is abso-bloody-lutely rib-tickling! This one is oozing with humor. The last time a book has made me laugh like this was My Lady Jane and it felt like ages ago. It doesn’t often happen that a book finds and tickles my funny bone but this one did! By far this is the best read I’ve had for 2017. This is the book to beat, YA! Read More »