Review | Legendary

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Title: Legendary
Series Details: Caraval #2
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 451

Blurb from Goodreads:

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.

My Thoughts-01

When you enter the world of Caraval you’re signing up for magic, deception, and romance that would sweep you off your feet. I’m pleased to announce that Legendary didn’t fail to deliver all that. It took a while to build up the magic and the mystery around the whole new setting of Caraval. I, too, was bored during the first half of the book. But soon as Tella got into the thick of things, the story proceeded in a faster pace, the magic bloomed, the villains grew more and more threatening, and my curiosity won’t stop banging my brain willing it to read more.

“Every good story needs a villain.”
“But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”

Read More »

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Review | I Believe in a Thing Called Love

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Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Series Details: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336

Blurb from Goodreads:

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

My Thoughts-01

I’ll be honest and go straight to saying I wasn’t thoroughly shipping Desi and Luca. I wasn’t rooting for them. Nor was I convinced by the romance. But damn if this book wasn’t funny! It’s light-hearted and hilarious like most K-drama series I’ve watched. This is actually the first book I’ve read that involves K-drama and so I find this unique in that way. It reminds me of those days when I would stay awake binge-watching these Korean series while everyone else in the house is snoring. That was before I became a full-on bookworm.

Desi Lee is an over-achiever. She is quite successful in everything she puts her mind into but there’s one thing she fails terribly at—getting a boyfriend. It’s kind of cute watching Desi try to put an end to her “flailures” by making a K-Drama based guideline on how to get the boy. But I hated how she took it very seriously to the point that she became controlling and manipulative. I understand that in most Korean dramas the heroines were always put in extreme situations, does extreme measures to survive, which leads to the heroes taking notice of them. But does Desi really have to put her life and someone else’s life in harm’s way for the sake of romance? Not once but three times! If I was Desi’s love interest, the things she did would have sent me in the opposite direction and never come back. Because that was just sick.

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Review | The Fill-In Boyfriend

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Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 05, 2015
Series Details: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 346

Blurb from Goodreads:

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

My Thoughts-01

One thing is clear—this book’s main ingredients are pretty clichéd. I’d bet you all have read something similar to this before. I can’t say the plot was very creative. There were some holes in it. The circumstances that our characters are in aren’t really something I haven’t seen somewhere else either. Kasie West’s writing is impeccable though. And that is what hooked me in. It works its own magic, giving thousands of tiny teeth and hooks to these tropes. So when you’re reading, you don’t think much about the predictable premise, and instead, it makes you focus on how adorable and fun and sweet and cute the story is.

Behind all the clichés there’s a lot more depth that I wasn’t expecting from this book. It all came as a nice surprise to me. More than just romance, it also takes on common teenage issues, unhealthy friendships, and family relationships. It’s about knowing who you are, learning the effects of telling lies. It shows the significance of friendship and the influence of friends, and it presents a picture of how social media can impact on a person’s life. West deals with all that without sounding preachy and instead brought it in a fun and relatable way.
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Review | Shatter Me

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Title: Shatter Me
Series: Shatter Me #1
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Imprint: Harper
Release Date: October 02, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 338

Blurb from Goodreads:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

My Thoughts-01

Me before reading this book: Ooh such gorgeous cover, such an intriguing blurb, and an engaging excerpt! This is going to be great! I’m buying this. Actually, I’m buying the three books from this series!

Me while reading this book: Guys, can we stop with the kissing and start with the actual story? Where is the effing plot? I need something to happen. And soon.

Me after reading this book: Well, fuck. I just wasted my money on three books!

I’ll be honest. This was bad awful. Everything is a terrible mess from the writing to the characters to the plot. It was horribly executed. So yeah, I had a problem with a lot of things in this book I hate pretty much everything in this book.

First, where is the effing plot? Aside from the kissing and the blushing, what else happened? None really. Juliette was in an asylum. Warner sent people to take Juliette out of the asylum. Juliette escaped from Warner. Juliette joined a group of people who, like her, has strange abilities—and who also sounds like a pathetic version of X-Men, honestly. And that’s about everything there is in this book. The rest were just Juliette’s metaphoric descriptions of everything—Adam’s eyes, her blushing cheeks, her beating heart, the effing rain…Read More »

Review | The Wedding Date

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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

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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 | Reaper by A. Zavarelli

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Title: Reaper
Series: Boston Underworld #2
Author: A. Zavarelli
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Release Date: June 03, 2016
Genre: Adult, Romance
Pages: 260

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sasha.

He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal.
An Irish mobster.
Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package.
But there’s also something off about him.
He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions.
Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word.
But we share a secret, he and I.
And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have a problem killing me too.

Ronan.

I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again.
When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too.
But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows.
Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay.
I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her.
The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.

My Thoughts-01

Time for another steamy read! I’ve decided to continue on the Boston Underworld series because I’m in the mood for dangerous mafia stories and dark, lethal, broody, and sexy Irish guys. Reaper is a lot darker than it’s predecessor, Crow. And a lot more brutal, I think, as our hero—Ronan—is the mafia’s appointed reaper. His job is to torture and kill people for information or torture and kill people for betraying the mafia. Either way there’s a lot of maiming and violence in this book, given it’s theme. And most of it is very graphic that there were particular scenes that I find a bit jarring.

This book could pass as standalone but I would still recommend reading Crow beforehand. We already knew Ronan from the first book as Lachlan’s right hand and Sasha as one of the strippers at a club owned by Lachlan’s group. And we knew that there’s this strong unspoken romantic pull between them even then. Well, this book lets us know them in a deeper level. We saw just how broken these two were and how they found the light in each other. Read More »

Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 380

Blurb from Goodreads:

The rom-com that everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts-01

Let me summarize my experience with this book in a few words. This book was like looking at a fancy cake you’ve been waiting to devour for days. And when you finally get to eat it, you find that the cake’s base was tasteless and the frosting was too sweet that it makes you want to gag. But you eat it anyway because you effing paid for it!

I could end my review right there but I was way too disappointed with this book that I couldn’t just keep quiet. I thought this was going to be an amazing read—like, off the charts kind of amazing—given its catchy premise and all those four and five star ratings. But my feelings for this book quickly changed from intrigued to disinterested until I finally don’t care.

The representation of some of the Indian traditions was the only thing that’s noteworthy about this book and one that I really appreciate. We don’t usually get Indian leads in this genre so this book was somewhat refreshing in a way. I may have huge issues here but I love how the author used this book as a platform where she introduced Indian culture to the world through its readers. Not only that, this also promotes their language as the characters sometimes switches from English to their native tongue. I can see how proud the author is of her roots! Read More »

Review | The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

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Title: The Lovely Reckless
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Imprint
Release Date: October 04, 2016
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 374

Blurb from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

My Thoughts-01

Last year I remember this book flooding my Goodreads feed and attached to it were amazing five star ratings. So I promised myself not to let this just pass me by. This is the first time I’m reading anything from Kami Garcia. Maybe I should have picked her other works first before picking this up. Because this, I didn’t fully enjoyed. There was nothing special in this book, sadly. If anything, this felt like a collection of all clichés known to this kind of genre.

The street racing idea was a refreshing touch though. It’s something I don’t usually see in YA books and I enjoyed reading about it. But the rest of the book was so average for me. The storyline was pretty common and basic. I’ve seen it used a hundred times in a hundred different books. It simply lacked the substance that could make it stand-out. Read More »