Review | Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

cover-for-everything-everythingTitle: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Imprint: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
Release Date: September 01, 2015
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 310

Blurb from Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts-01

I have high expectations from Everything, Everything. First, those high ratings and awesome reviews. Then there’s that eye candy cover. Followed by a unique and catchy premise! This book wasn’t bad but I wasn’t over the moon with it either. I think the idea was great and having a protagonist with SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency)—an illness that I didn’t know anything about—makes it an even more intriguing read for me. The ending felt like a cop-out though, and I wasn’t very satisfied with it.

“Life is a gift. Don’t forget to live it.”

Yoon’s writing was lovable as ever. It has the same charm and smooth flow that I saw and loved in The Sun Is Also A Star. Hers is the kind of writing style that will make you fly through the pages without even noticing that you did. The short chapters really worked for me. It felt like the book is giving us a story using only a few words but without losing the weight of the message that it’s trying to convey—that love is a wonderful thing that could ignite hope, but at the same time, it could also drive a person to do stupid things. Read More »

Review | History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Press, Inc.
Imprint: Soho Teen
Release Date: January 17, 2017
Type: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

My Thoughts-01

Poignant, emotional, honest, and raw. History Is All You Left Me is every bit as brilliant and as touching as Adam Silvera’s debut novel, More Happy Than Not. It had me staying late at night reading, had me reaching for some tissue, and had me believing in the power of hope. It’s a heartbreaking story that is brilliantly delivered as it delve into the complicated matters of the heart, the beauty of love and friendship, the deep sadness that comes with loss and grief, and the process of moving on.

Adam Silvera is one of the new voices in YA and has quickly become an author that you can count on for a good story. He knows how to pack a punch in his books and I’m just totally floored by them. He makes fiction seem so real that it draws real emotions from the reader without being manipulative. I’m not even a big fan of sad stories but there’s rare magic in Silvera’s writing style that I can’t seem to get enough of and it keeps me glued to the story. That and his unique realistic tales made his books stand out in YA contemporary, which is not an easy thing to do. Read More »

Review | The Muse by Jessie Burton

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The Muse by Jessie Burton
Published by Pan Macmillan on June 30, 2016
Genre : Historical Fiction, Adult
Pages : 464

THE BLURB

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On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.

MY THOUGHTS

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: in the end, a piece of art only succeeds when its creator – to paraphrase Olive Schloss – possesses the belief that brings it into being.

Oh Saints! This book knows how to make me furious with its twists! The clues were there and I was confident I knew what’s going on and what’s coming. But when everything was laid bare in front of my eyes, this author still managed to draw some strong emotions out of me. There are novels wherein you dread the death of main characters. Here, I got so mad with the twist. Mad to the point that I wish for a painful death for a character or two.

The Muse is a riveting story about art and creativity, love and loss, oppression and resistance, loyalty and betrayals, and secrets… lots of them. I loved this book in a hundred different ways starting with that eye-catching cover that demands attention. And wonderfully, the beauty of it doesn’t end with the cover as it matches what is inside.  Read More »

Review | Yesternight by Cat Winters

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Yesternight by Cat Winters
Published by HarperCollins on October o4, 2016
Genre : Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Adult, Fantasy
Pages : 374

THE BLURB

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From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

MY THOUGHTS

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I’ve only read The Uninvited from Cat Winters and it was perfectly amazing—from the creepy plotlines to the carefully delineated characters. I instantly adored her and she became one of my favorite paranormal authors. Yesternight shares the same eerie concept as The Uninvited as well as Winters’ fluid writing style but it just wasn’t as captivating. The premise was good actually, but that ending left me unimpressed. For a story that started out solid and strong, this book had a rather sloppy and unsatisfying end to it. It was a good four star read until the final quarter of the book that felt like such a letdown. It gave me the feeling that the novel was ended in a rush. It’s as if the author built up all those nice things from an interesting foundation and just got lazy and want out.  Read More »

Review | Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

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Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Published by HarperCollins on January 24, 2017
Genre : Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery & Thriller
Pages : 387

THE BLURB

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Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

MY THOUGHTS

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Tiffany D. Jackson presents a riveting thriller complete with family drama, complex relationships, deceit, and deeply buried truths, in her haunting debut novel, Allegedly. In nearly 400 pages, Jackson lets us into the life of Mary —an alleged baby killer —showed us the struggles she has to make to change her life for the better, and showed us just how messy life can be. She creates a realistic portrait of teenage life in its roughest form and it was painful to read. Allegedly is a disturbing story about how far a child could go to protect her mother, and later, what a mother is prepared to do to keep her child.  Read More »

Review | Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Macmillan on February 07, 2017
Genre : Retelling, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages : 436

THE BLURB

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All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

MY THOUGHTS

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Wintersong is one of those books that has such an addicting start that I gave it five stars right away. But as it go along, the story loses its flavor, the protagonist turns annoying and gets into my nerve, the mystery suddenly gets dull. Then I find my initial five stars falling off one by one.

The gripping elements in the first few chapters of this book easily vanished and replaced by endless talks of music. It would have been fine with me. After all our protagonist, Elisabeth, came from a family of musicians. But, long talks about music accompanied by Elisabeth’s constant thoughts about her insecurities, all written too poetically for my taste? I don’t think so. I love books written with lyrical prose but this is a bit too much. Music is in about 70% of this book and I feel like it was just wasted on me because although I sometimes listen to classical music I’m not all into it.  Read More »

Review | The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Published by Penguin Random House on September 13, 2011
Genre : Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Pages : 400

THE BLURB

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves.

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved–the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them–are swept up in a wake of spells and charms.

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance.

Both playful and seductive, The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern’s spell-casting debut, is a mesmerizing love story for the ages.

MY THOUGHTS

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“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

Enchanting! The Night Circus is what you can call a breathe of fresh air. It is one of those books that you will simply fall in love with after barely thirty seconds of reading. This is a perfect breather for those who often read YA fantasy. There are no princes and princesses, no romantic love triangles, just a handful of mysterious magic.

“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

The story is very unique and it is so well-written: the perfect ingredients of a good book, I must say. Read More »

Review | The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Penguin Random House on November 01, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 348

THE BLURB

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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

MY THOUGHTS

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I haven’t read Everything, Everything. Yet. I’m definitely planning on reading it now. After finishing this I don’t think I’d put aside Nicola Yoon’s books ever again. First of all, I love her writing. Her words were easy to digest, everything was so easy to picture, and I can feel the heart pulsing at the core of this book. With a good plot, good execution, fantastically crafted and diverse characters, The Sun is Also a Star is one to fill you up with admiration.  Read More »

Review | Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon

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Sands of Time by Sidney Sheldon
Published by HarperCollins on August 23, 1996
Pages: 427

THE BLURB

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Four nuns find themselves suddenly thrust into a hostile world they long ago abandoned for the safety of the convent. Unwittingly they become pawns in a battle between the charismatic Jaime Miró, leader of the outlawed Basque nationalists, and the ruthless Colonel Ramón Acoca of the Spanish Amy.

Four women – and the men they are forbidden to love.
Megan – the orphan, who feels an overpowering attraction to Jaime.
Lucia – the fiery Sicilian beauty on the run for murder – and Rubio Arzano, the freedom fighter who risks his life to save her.
Teresa – whose guilty conscience finally drives her to betray her friends.
Graciela – who bears a terrible secret that almost destroys her – and the courageous Ricardo who loves her.

From the same author of the books “The Other Side of Midnight”, “Rage of Angels”, “Bloodline” and “Windmills of the Gods”. The book is set in Spain and centres around four nuns and their unwitting involvement with outlawed Basque nationalists and the Spanish Army.

MY THOUGHTS

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If reality doesn’t require a person to work, do the chores, and go to sleep, I would’ve finished this book in a single sitting. The story was so riveting right from page one. It will hold you tight and it doesn’t let go. Set in Spain in a time of political unrest, Sands of Time brought us a story of love and violence, of faith and passion, of war and loyalty. And of nuns and their unintentional team-up with Spain’s most wanted rebels! Now that’s something I haven’t seen before! And that just made me all the more intrigued about this book.  Read More »