God, she knows how to write angst filled, tender stories that just makes your heart clench. Beautiful art and wAnother heartfelt read from Yoneda Kou.
God, she knows how to write angst filled, tender stories that just makes your heart clench. Beautiful art and writing from Yoneda Kou. Though I loved No Touching At All, this spin-off is just as good as the main story. I'll never get tired of reading Yoneda Kou's works....more
I am typing this review literally 10 minutes after I finish reading the book, so forgive me for the review that is alsReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I am typing this review literally 10 minutes after I finish reading the book, so forgive me for the review that is also thinly disguised as me fangirling.
Oh man. The feels. It's all about the feels in this book.
(I've actually live tweeted while I was reading the book, so if you're interested in my reactions, you can follow the hashtag, #KaireadsNoLoveAllowed.)
It's the classic "two people who belong in two different worlds, brought about by certain circumstances" kind of love story but by the Book Gods, it worked and then some.
And it all started with ice cold water. Didi was having a bad day and glasses of cold water got dumped in a girl at the right place and the right time, she was fired, and she has met Mr. Golden Boy, and was given an opportunity for an unforgettable summer with no strings (or emotions) attached. That is, until feelings get in the way.
As I've mentioned in my live tweet, I was skeptical, maybe a little bit apprehensive with Didi's character (I blame the summary of the book for this!) but the first few pages changed my impression of her, what she did in those first . Unpredictable, yes. Funny and honest, yes. Creative person with a a complicated soul, yes. And to use Caleb's description of her: smart, perceptive with a hint of spice for flavor. Dare I use the word 'fierce'? Not really, but Didi is spontaneous and she views the world in colors, giving off a vibrant feel each time and I just can't help but be drawn and like that part of her. I love the way Kate framed her personality, that feeling where something more hides beneath the portraits, paints and pills.
For someone who's supposedly mastered the art of being a jerk, Caleb is a little bit less than that and more sensitive and attentive over Didi, which endeared him to me a lot. Seriously, a lot of what he does, may they be on purpose or just by instinct, makes me swoon. As a reader, I always have a smile on my face picturing Caleb inside my head. Described as someone who has everything (a.k.a. money and extraordinary good looks), Caleb's life has been maped out for him, pretty much been ruined by love, and I understand why he's trying to get away from it. Ah, but the feeling of smugness at that moment when the very thing he's avoiding happened was priceless.
I just found myself enjoying everything about this book, immersing myself in the story in a flash, relishing every moment of my reading experience. Didi and Caleb were mesmerizing enough to read of with the combination of their banter and perpetual teasing, the subtle cues and hints that they're slowly but surely falling for each other, but the supporting characters added such flair to the story that made it ten times better. Raise your hand if you love Nathan! He's like the fairy godmother Didi needed, and he's this bright ball of sunshine, all smiles and kindness and was just basically one top notch specimen that entertained me so much and made me so curious about him at the same time, that I found myself wishing that he gets his own story. (And we are getting one, thank goodness!) Him, Natasha and Preston are proof that they might be rich but they aren't a bunch of spoiled brats, with them providing good support for Caleb and their interactions with Didi, which more of then than not reduces me to giggles.
See, Kate piles fluff and feelings on top of the other until you feel warm and fuzzy and then she cuts you off with a conflict that on hindsight is something you know will happen, but the feels just overcomes you when you're at that part. A bunch of bated breaths and a whole lot of bracing (myself) around 30 pages before the end because at that point, I was eager to know how it was going to end, rooting for them and needing a happy ending. I was totally swept along with the story and I absolutely love the touch of reality that Kate added, of things not being "always like the movies", and being faced with an illness that puts uncertainty not just in their relationship in the long run but both Didi and Caleb's life as well. I didn't expect Caleb to be that emotional nor his decision on how to face it. Ah, love. It just does things to you. And I don't know how Kate managed to weave such an important theme into the story and make such an integral part click and make the story whole.
Overall, I can say that I really loved this book and I recommend it to everyone who loves a feel good read! It's got such a simple premise but the way it was written just made me breeze through it. It made me laugh, it made me smile, it made me feel frustrated, it made me sad and ultimately it made me feel such fluffy, romantic feelings. Ultimately, No Love Allowed made me fall in love with YA contemporary romance stories again....more
Hayashi, who is straight, struggled quite a lot, and seeing his internal struggle, confusion and conflicted mReview posted at Shiro Reads
What I liked:
Hayashi, who is straight, struggled quite a lot, and seeing his internal struggle, confusion and conflicted mind reflected in the pages as he slowly notices every little cute thing about Shinohara is one of the sweetest parts of the story. He went to such great lengths such as telling a fellow worker to flash his chest to see if he'll feel anything! Shinohara surprised me a little, as he appeared to me as a cool, confident guy with an unfazed attitude in the onset of the story but he turns out to be this shy reserved person at times, who is more innocent than the rumors about him make him to be. Sensitive Shinohara, who was blushing so much when he confessed to Hayashi.
The characters really aren't what they seem at the start, and my views of both Hayashi (who was really uncool, jealous and possessive) and Shinohara (who's very kind and understanding) were completely different after I've finished reading their story.
I really liked The Melon Bread War compared to the first story. It's such a simple but sweet comical story about two people who were at the polar ends of the popularity spectrum, brought together because of something unexpected: the quest to find the perfect kind of melon bread.
Finding out Kuraki's main motivation for the melon bread challenge gave me such a warm feeling and Fujino's obsession (which really doesn't have a special reason) with the bread is just so endearing. Their interaction (outside of the melon bread challenge) is also worth the read, as it shows how Kuraki's feelings isn't shallow or spontaneous, but that he's properly looking at Fujino, knowing what he's like, what he's capable of and recognizing his skills. Fujino is a bit slow on the uptake but he more than made up for it when he finally realized why there was even a melon bread challenge in the first place. His gradual transformation from a doormat to someone assertive is what made me like hm more, showing other sides to his personality as the story progresses. Fujino's insecurities about his relationship with Kuraki, creating a misunderstanding between them, and finally having the courage to show their true feelings to each other wrapped the story up nicely. The Melon Bread War is definitely more than just about melon breads!
What I didn't like:
It must be because Hayashi was straight, but the way he keeps on insisting that Shinohara is gay and blaming every weird thing he was thinking of because of that got on my nerves a lot. I know he's struggling with his feelings but the fact that Shinohara IS gay is pretty known from the start, and it was well established that he has feelings for Hayashi even though Hayashi is straight.
(I obviously have no complaints about The Melon Bread War because Natsumizu Ritsu created such a good contrast and gave balance to both Kuraki and Fujino's characters.)
Good Morning is a story filled with fluff and injected with a good amount of fun in the right moments. It's a pretty standard story, and you know that when Hayashi comes to terms with his feelings that the conflict will eventually be sorted out but I couldn't help but anticipate how it will still play out in the end. Natsumizu Ritsu has a knack from creating adorable characters which was really evident in the second story, The Melon Bread War and I just found myself enjoying while reading! ...more
First read of the year! This book just reminds me how much I love Natsume Isaku's works, it just has the right amount of drama and comedy injected inFirst read of the year! This book just reminds me how much I love Natsume Isaku's works, it just has the right amount of drama and comedy injected in perfect timing, so it's never boring.
I love how Nakano can be so goofy and dense at the same time, and I feel for Tsuda who's been carrying the pain of his 'unrequited' love for Nakano all these years. The struggle between these two to figure out just what happened between them ten years ago and how they can clear up the 10 years worth of misunderstanding was worth the read! I'm so excited to see how it's going to end in the next volume....more
Don't you just love the initial intrigue you feel right after you read the summary? I did, and my expectations for thReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Don't you just love the initial intrigue you feel right after you read the summary? I did, and my expectations for the novel weren't really that high to begin with. But oh wow, as soon as I was 20 pages in I know I'm going to enjoy reading Jessie's story. So let me tell you three things that made this such a good read for me.
One: Jessie, Jessie and Jessie. S/N. Theo, Scar, Liam, Dri, Agnes. In short, the characters.
I absolutely love stories that hooks the reader right from the start, and meeting Jessie pulled me right in. A lot of aspects in her life is something I have experienced myself, and reading, remembering that similar place and point in my life instantly made me connect and relate with Jessie. I don't know how she did it but there's something in the way that Julie Buxbaum shaped Jessie's character that didn't make her an annoying person despite her life being very dramatic, and her being in the midst on an emotional time of her life. Here is a teenager, grieving, suddenly presented with a life drastically different than she's used to, alone, surrounded with everything unfamiliar. I admired Jessie in a lot of ways because she got through it. Jessie is fascinating, and her thoughts allowed me to know her more. What better way to present the story than being seen in her eyes.
And S/N. S/N, S/N, S/N. Oh, I just love him. Entertaining, witty, humorous, and despite being weird (Yes, even I can use the word to describe S/N) I can't get enough of S/N. Before I knew it I was looking forward to reading the banter, the IMs, the conversations with Jessie. Because that's just it, full of laughs and amusing thoughts of two teenagers. Though shrouded with secrecy, we also get to know S/N through the random facts shared in their conversations. It's like Julie was giving away bits and pieces and clues so the readers can find out who this person is, and I just ate up every single thing thrown my way. I loved that the uncertainty of S/N and Jessie's relationship was evident, and how it was properly expressed that real life and cyber versions of themselves aren't similar, that not all things might be real or true, how easy it is to say things online than to say it in person.
One more thing that I love: how there's a spectrum of other interesting characters throughout the book, each of them contributing in making the story likable and lovable. Theo, who I love to hate and hate to love. He has his own share of grief, and though most of the time he confuses me, grabbed my attention as well. Scar, who I loved because she's such a great best friend. And thrown in a couple of other hot guys like Liam, Caleb, Ethan to the mix to further muddle the trail that leads to S/N and it makes the story all the more adorable.
Two: The feelings, oh the feelings.
I've lost count how many times I found myself chuckling or full on laughing while reading. I was also frustrated, worried, anxious at various points of the book. To be able to feel such a variety of emotions while reading is something I don't always get to experience, but this book just gave me so much joy, laughter, made me a little teary eyed, sad, nervous and made me hold my breath in a span of 300 pages. Finding a place to belong, learning to live a good life after such a devastating loss and finding love in unexpected times and places, the story takes me through all of that. In the history of big secret revelations, the twist in this book is probably the best anti-climactic moment I will like for a long time. It was so... S/N.
Three: Julie Buxbaum's writing
I will be honest, I've figured out who S/N is very early in the story. But you know what? I think figuring out just who this online, mysterious friend is added an extra dimension to my reading. Because then I get to know this person as S/N and as who they are in real life. The contrasts in personalities, the why's, the what's and the how's that made them such a person. (I refuse to give unnecessary clues away!) The journey S/N and Jessie made before the secrets were revealed. I didn't give up until I see it happen, how Julie will bring the readers to that point. The story itself is simple and straightforward, but I like how as a reader, I get more than what I expected and that's what makes it such a special read. There's depth, emotions, lively characters, and it was such an engaging story. Who am I not to fall in love with such a potent combination?
In closing, here are the three things I know:
1. I recommend this book to all of you. It's already been a week since release date and you need to grab a copy NOW. 2. I am so glad I had a chance to read such a story. Another book to add on my favorite YA contemporary list. And I am proud to say that I will read anything Julie Buxbaum writes from now on. 3. Do I need a third reason? If yes, please read my review again and see if I can convince you one more time. ...more
There are parts that I was definitely intrigued with, just who is this person? And halfway through I was genuinelyThat... was weird. What did I read?
There are parts that I was definitely intrigued with, just who is this person? And halfway through I was genuinely and thoroughly confused as to what was happening. I definitely felt Shimizu's confusion and fear and like him I was grasping for the truth. And what pulled me in more was the part where he was struggling between what was real and what was a dream. Or was everything just in his head? That was perfectly captured in the story.
It bothered me how it ended though. There was so much about Suzuki that makes you want to yell at Shimizu and tell him to get away. How could he stay with a person like that?
So much darkness, so much danger, so much confusion, so much uncertainty. This was such a twisted story and yet I liked it to some extent. Clearly it's not for everyone, so a little warning for those uncomfortable with such themes......more
A very engaging read. That's something I didn't realize I need when I first started reading Titans. I'm in a year longReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
A very engaging read. That's something I didn't realize I need when I first started reading Titans. I'm in a year long slump, and Titans delivered a very entertaining story that just sucked me in right from reading page one.
I've had problems with female protagonists one too many times, and it seemed like I will have the same problem with Astrid. I feel like authors tend to make their female leads seem stubborn which will make them seem headstrong, but more often than not (and if not written properly), they will just come off as annoying. I was like that at first with Astrid. I was annoyed with her very much, but eventually my annoyance gave way to understanding. She's just a girl trying to save her family from falling apart completely, and she had been let down too many times to try and rely on others so she'd rather do something on her own. That in itself is admirable, and it made me understand her better.
What made Titans more charming for me are the addition of interesting characters around Astrid, supporting her. Her unlikely friendship with Rags and Barney, a pair of old but extraordinary and very intelligent people who can do a lot of great things. And I liked Magnolia from the very start. What a devoted friend, and really a friend to the truest sense of the word and I understand why one of Astrid's greatest fears is moving and leaving Magnolia behind. Where else will you find a friend who not only supports you in everything, despite having her own set of problems to deal with? Her quirky personality, her passion for art and her devotion for Astrid are what made Magnolia such a star in this book. And who can forget Padlock? I loved Padlock! Although I will admit, I thought the Titan's name will be a little more dramatic sounding, but Padlock was more than a horse for Astrid, though it was not like that at first. I liked how Astrid found another friend in him, and he was not just a means to an end, but a companion and a partner for a lonely girl who just want to feel loved, and was trying her best to take action when no one else would.
To be honest, what really made Titans an enjoyable read for me are the races. Victoria Scott didn't hold back and just described each race in such a way that the words swimming inside your head will effectively help you picture the scenes as they happen. What impeccable pacing! I keep on thinking how it would look like in real life. I feel the thrill, the danger, exhilaration and adrenaline through each obstacle and challenge the unlikely pair had to overcome. I was caught in each and every moment Astrid and Padlock push themselves on those tracks, with only one thing in mind: winning. There's more to the story than just racing, and I love how everything was incorporated to the novel. The strain in the dynamics of Astrid's family, her father's old fashion views, the perils of gambling and its consequences, a child blaming herself for a loved one's death, the gap between social classes and the social stigma one receives from being poor... all of these were woven in good timing inside the novel. Also, not every girl needs a love interest. I love how romance is not really a big factor in this, but that did not take away much from the story.
Thoroughly entertaining and addictive at times, Titan is a quick read that provides good entertainment for the readers in a good blend of sci-fi, fantasy, a side of angst and a healthy dose of action. Victoria Scott made it work! I did not let go until I flipped to the last page, and though the ending felt abrupt, this is one good read....more
I am equally delighted and stunned with the myriad of emotions this book held and presented to the readers.
Poetry is powerful. How a few, carefully chosen words form beautiful, complete thoughts attempting to convey a thousand and one feelings to the reader. Various interpretations can be drawn from it, but the feeling stays. That's what makes this book so fascinating. Where I Wrote This For You hooks your heart and wraps it around a complicated series of emotions, I Wrote This For You and Only You felt more thoughtful, more mature, and more encompassing, with the familiar hard hitting feelings coursing through each poem. There is at least one poem that is bound to speak to you a lot deeper than the rest, where you will feel like that particular poem, that particular group of words were string together for you, and only you.
The combination of words and photos is a one of a kind experience where you will think "why this particular photo?" "how does this fit the words the author has written?" and you do not just interpret the words, you also look at the photographs and think just what kind of message it might also convey, given the words that follow after it. Does the photo capture the essence of the words or does the words describe what message the photo aims to get across?
It's like a journey through life, through heartaches, falling in love, being let down by that love, moving on, learning through living, of people you meet, friendships, the ghosts of the past and what haunts us, of moving on, dreaming and hoping. Wise words. Advices. A little bit of everything. It's a book filled of poetry and yet there's so much to read. It's just a beautiful thing to read.
It's not so much as what words were used, it's the tone, like it's just speaking to you and telling you something, and you, as a reader, cannot help but respond. Not many big words were needed nor used and yet the impact was there, sustained, embedded in each poem. Kudos for another wonderful compilation of words and emotions, pleasefindthis.
A few favorites of mine, which might say a lot about what type of poems I like: The Nature of Science, The Soft Crackle, The Pictures from the Camera we Threw Away, The Heart Outgrows the Chest, The Image Repeated Over and Over, The Removal of Me, The Language Breaks, The Nerve Endings Shatter Like Glass, The Efficiency and Perfection of the Lost, The Dark Words You Walk Down at Night, The Heart Cannot be Discounted, The Train Hit Me and I Didn't Feel It, The Missing Bread Crumbs, The Correct and Proper Way To Feel, The Breaking of People and The Light That Shines When Things End....more
She's the kind of girl you'd love to love, and the kind you'd love to hate. Liz Emerson was one part of the trio of thReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
She's the kind of girl you'd love to love, and the kind you'd love to hate. Liz Emerson was one part of the trio of the most popular juniors in her class. Everyone knows Liz. Everyone. But then Liz crashed her car, and things started to unravel, and people realize Liz Emerson's life isn't perfect, not by a long shot.
Physics has never been a favorite of mine, but I give kudos to Amy Zhang for using Physics to illustrate Liz's life and paint it using cause and effect, Newton's Laws, mass and acceleration, gravity and motion. Told in bits in pieces seven days before Liz attempted suicide, crashed her car and the days that followed, Falling Into Place pushes the readers to slide into what was behind the fragile facade that makes up Liz Emerson's life.
Taking a look in Liz's life is a powerful experience in itself. The layers come off piece by piece as we see Liz on her very best and her very worst, the cruel parts and the lonely parts, the pretense and the dreams, the innocence, the potential and the wishes, the things that led her to break people because she too is broken, and the things she did and wished she did to feel whole again, to just feel, to find meaning in her existence.There are a lot of broken people in this novel, and sadly some of them cannot be put back together, but there are others like Liam, who we find unlikely strength from.
It's a cheerless tale, laid bare to the readers in jumbled thoughts and messy emotions and the potent way that Amy Zhang has told this story in simple narrative is what made Falling Into Place a haunting, meaningful read. Sometimes we need to read a book like this, where we just need to look at things just a little bit closer, where we sometimes need to notice, because we might not know when a friend, the one who was always smiling and laughing, might be the one who needed our help the most. Your heart will give a painful lurch or two when you finish reading this novel. Falling Into Place is a gripping, significant debut that needs to be read by everyone....more
A friend of mine had mentioned this book in passing one day while we were waiting in line for a cab, and then a few days after I found myself reading this for a tour. It's destiny.
And speaking of destiny, this book talks about it and a whole lot more. All the possibilities, all the what-ifs. Worlds and cities. Various circumstances that could have led to varying outcomes. Broken hearts. Hope.
Celia is attending a friend's wedding, and she was plagued by dreams. Dreams of what could have been if she had decided to do things she didn't, visited places she could have gone to. After all, it was the wedding of her best friend, Vivian, and Ben, the guy she loved who broke her heart that faithful night back in college.
The idea of multi-verses is a tricky one to handle, and it could lead into a total disaster if not written well. Cities confused me because of the jumps from one dream to another, to a city, to another life, to what could've been but I enjoyed the ride with a few bumps, so to speak. That question, what if?, presents itself over and over in various scenarios and set-ups that a reader like me couldn't help but feel completely different emotions every single time Celia dreams. Her dreams made me feel hopeful, but reality doesn't, and reality is what Celia must face.
Carla de Guzman wrote a book wrapped in an interesting premise, a story those many can relate to. The dynamics of friendship and the strain it is put through when love gets mixed in and the kind of love that you want but couldn't get. Unfulfilled, unreciprocated feelings? Check. Supportive friends? Check. Cool places and pop culture references we all know? Check. Being an Asian Pop fan, I loved the Seoul City story the most!
Cities pinches the reader's heart quite a few times while being immersed in a world within worlds. It's fascinating to see what these "could've been" are, from Celia's perspective to the various transformations her friends made in the places Celia's dreams took her. Definitely an interesting, quick read!
Very interesting concept, but like I said, if you're not aware of the presence of multi-verses (and you will only get it once Ben mentions it), you will be confused very early by the jumps in every chapter. But you'll get it eventually, don't worry. I didn't like Vivian that much because is she really that kind and perfect? (In every "City", yes) And Henry, how I wish I know you more. I like him a lot! Ben? Not so much......more
FIVE. BLOODYDAMN BUTTERFLIES. AND ABOUT A BILLION MORE.
I didn't think it's possible but I loved Golden Son way more than I loved Red Rising. And thankFIVE. BLOODYDAMN BUTTERFLIES. AND ABOUT A BILLION MORE.
I didn't think it's possible but I loved Golden Son way more than I loved Red Rising. And thanks Pierce Brown, for breaking me into a goddamn million pieces because of this book. You're ruthless. Merciless. Now, how do I put myself back together?
(Broke down from all the tension I've experienced while reading this book)
If I'd known Nicola Yoon's book will get me out of my year long reading slump, I would've done anything to get it in mReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
If I'd known Nicola Yoon's book will get me out of my year long reading slump, I would've done anything to get it in my hands sooner. I owe this book a lot. And it owes me a whole set of neon tabs and a box of tissues for my tears.
Maddy is allergic to the outside world, and has since lived in the safety of her home all her life. Now 18, Maddy was supposed to live her life just like every other year, safe, in an environment her mother can control. That is, until a new family moved next door. And then Maddy finds herself helplessly drawn to the boy next door who climbs roofs and wears black and makes her want to set foot outside and explore the world. But what can she do if the very thing she wants just might be the one which will kill her?
Maddy has SCID, a very rare disease where she can be allergic to anything, even the air she breathes. My first reaction was to pity her, because who would want to spend their lives bound to the four walls of her house? Her world was very limited, but you know what? I came to love Maddy because of who she is. Her sense of humor, her love for reading, as she understands that all too familiar feeling of existing in another world just by reading stories and it made me identify with her easily. And maybe because she has been confined all her life, she has this yearning for more, which she tries to reign in most of the time because it's hard to hope and she knew she's incurable. There's this growing thirst in her to explore that just makes me want to watch and see what she will do. Take a risk? Accept her fate and live all her life in a bubble or take the leap? She's intriguing in her own way.
And that kind of personality is what draws her to Olly. Ah, Olly... the boy who can't seem to stand still, always moving and leaping to places and climbing on walls. The boy who prefers limericks over haikus and loves math, chaos theory and how it can be related to our lives. What's not to love there? He's sweet and supportive, though a little jaded with life over the abuse he, his sister and his mom receives from his dad. I love how their chemistry eventually worked out, from being funny to cute to something worthy enough to swoon over, the push and pull, the "we can't" and "we can". The chats they exchanged made me laugh so much and it's just wonderful to see Maddy living her life with all the firsts she has encountered and many of which she shared with and is sometimes because of Olly.
The book is a wonderful mix of everything, from Maddy's illustrations, lists, word definitions, and the diversity is evident in each page which gave the novel an extra special feeling for me. It didn't matter if Maddy's father is African American and her mother is Japanese American. She's just Maddy who's in love with the boy with eyes as blue as the Atlantic Ocean. As much as I was looking forward to where Olly and Maddy's love will take them, it wouldn't be possible without Carla. The oh so lovable Carla, a fountain of wisdom with so much love to give and lessons to impart with to Maddy.
The fluff and the sweetness of firsts were enough to keep me fascinated with Everything, Everything but it turns out Nicola Yoon had more in store for her readers. The last 50 or so pages of the book made me snatch the tissue box and grip the book so hard. There is a twist, dear readers. If you are perceptive and are open to the thought then the twist has always been there, but then it happens. What if it's not just Maddy who has a problem? I loved how Nicola Yoon presented that part to her readers, and I loved how Maddy faced that possibility that turned out to be the truth and how she dealt with it. It felt truthful to me, though some might disagree. Some choices you just have to make though it is hard.
What else is there to say? There was no need for fanciful words to make a story so good and appealing to the readers. Nicola Yoon wove feelings and emotions in each and every word of Everything, Everything and filled it with characters experiencing such life changing moments that they felt so alive. I got hooked before I knew it. I was quietly sitting in front of my study table and in the next moment I was totally immersed in the story and until now I have no idea what happened. ...more
Everything started because of smelly cheese imported from Switzerland. I know it sounds amusing and funny, buReview has been posted at Amaterasu Reads
Everything started because of smelly cheese imported from Switzerland. I know it sounds amusing and funny, but it did. And then Liv's dreams of settling in a nice place with her family was exchanged for staying in London which comes with a surprise addition to their family and then suddenly she was getting involved in something that sounds too good to be true.
One of the reasons why I love reading Kersin Gier's novels is because she always writes with female protagonists who are witty, comical and Liv is no exception. I like the thoughts that always swirl inside her head, from her thoughts about her new step siblings, her school uniform or boys in general. I like the way she panics and how endearing she can be while doing so, how she can't stay away from secrets and not resist the potential of an adventure because she's naturally inquisitive. Awkward, funny, persistent when needed and with a skeptical but speculative mind.
As cliche as it may sound, being surrounded by hot boys, I like that Liv still keeps a sensible head (most of the time) around them, and that the author has done away with the usual love triangles and instead comfortably assigned different roles to the three who aren't the object of Liv's very confusing but otherwise adorable feelings. Grayson wonderfully fits the role of being an older brother, that genuine concern he has as a step brother to Liv despite the initial awkwardness made me like him a lot. Jasper, who was the embodiment of the typical things you expect from a Ken (doll), good looking, confident and very caught up with girls, he lends an interesting side to the four boys for being the poster boy for good looking guys who doesn't care for anything else other than girls. Arthur, who was quiet and mysterious, dangerously beautiful, curious and serious with something dark in him. And Henry, who has his own secrets to keep. He grew on me, with that thirst to explore things that can't be explained, not to mention being observant and patient with Liv. Take your pick, readers, because each boy has something in them that you'll learn to like while reading!
Reading Dream A Little Dream was quite an experience in itself because I too am convinced that the very thing the conflict of the story is based on simply just doesn't exist. Is it real? Is everything made up? A bunch of coincidences? Nothing is certain, speculations are everywhere, but with Liv's curiosity, she was able to explore not just the dreams, but successfully bond with people, make friends, settle into a new life and have friends. It's not just about the dreams, but each character's story moves along with the main plot. What's fascinating is even if the story revolves around this make believe conflict, you read on because Kerstin Gier injected just the right amount of suspense and thrill, clues and scenes that you can't resist seeing the story through to the end. Lizard doorknobs, a door with three locks, doors which won't open unless you answer a statue's question, cotton candy worlds, cemeteries recreated from a memory, scenes from the past, fears imagined. I love how imaginative the world is in Dream A Little Dream, how fascinating a dream world can be, what one can do, what one can find out, how it can be used, what power dreams can hold.
If you've read Kerstin's other novels, then you're familiar with how she paces and times everything, holds out the answers up to the very end of the story, and then the plot twist comes out of nowhere, leaving you craving for more, so you have to be on your toes all the time. What an enjoyable new novel from Kerstin! With a protagonist you will love, mixing it up with puberty and the thought of growing up, high school gossip and cliques and supernatural elements with a dash of romance, comedy and suspense makes up for an interesting story in Dream A Little Dream. A strong start for what is shaping up to be another incredible, fun series from Kerstin Gier! A word to the wise, the ending will make you feel agony with the thought of waiting for the sequel. Talk about a cliff hanger!...more
My first BLACKInk comics. Not bad, but the dialogue could use a bit of work. I appreciate that most parts were Tagalog, but I'd love it better if it wMy first BLACKInk comics. Not bad, but the dialogue could use a bit of work. I appreciate that most parts were Tagalog, but I'd love it better if it wasn't too "Taglish". Great art though....more
Amazing combination of images and words. It might just be me but I liked it better because most of the photos were taken in Japan and they just look awAmazing combination of images and words. It might just be me but I liked it better because most of the photos were taken in Japan and they just look awesome....more
I have a twin, I am a twin myself so anything written that features twins will always be fascinating to me. How will tReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I have a twin, I am a twin myself so anything written that features twins will always be fascinating to me. How will they put a different spin on the fact that they're two children, born on the same day, might not be on the same time and might also not be of the same gender? And yet in Imogen Howson's Linked, the concept of twins is foreign. Wrong. Abnormal. And that in itself is what made this book so interesting.
Elissa had a condition where she had nightmares, faints, feels pain and she didn't know what caused it. And so when a doctor finally came up with a solution for her ailment, she was willing to go under the knife to make it stop. But what happens when Elissa's hallucinations turn out to be real? I love how everything in this story is mysterious from the get go, and you'll start wondering from page one what was happening to Elissa. And when you finally make a connection, it doesn't stop there. Who is this other person who looks just like her? Why was she locked away?
The contrast between the twins is very obvious. Elissa pushes Lin and Lin needed Elissa to push her. Elissa leads on and Lin follows, but by no means is she weaker than her twin. Though I hate the fact that Lin had to feel inferior all her life because she's a spare, Elissa's reaction, worries and fear felt genuine. She felt confused, scared, pitied Lin, but I love how she tried to understand her. How she gradually accepted her. And how, in her eyes, Lin is just like her, a human who deserves to be treated rightly and with respect.
The world building is solid for Linked, and it's easy for me to imagine what kind of world Elissa lives in. Planets terraforming, with technologies far advanced than what we have, all of these were explained by the author in great detail. Imogen Howson, aside from the solid world building, managed to showcase what it's like to live in Sekoia. It might be a high tech world, but the way society reacted to Elissa's condition and Lin being a Spare, something people do not readily understand, is still the same as the present. Everyone thought Elissa was an attention seeker, and Lin was treated as nothing more than dirt, even by her own mother. No matter how much civilization has progressed, humanity can still be cruel and judgmental to the things that are foreign to them.
Imogen Howson managed to write a novel balanced with just the right amount of thrill, suspense and a shot of unexpected romance set in a highly developed world. I have to say, I wasn't expecting the surprise the twins found out inside Phoenix. I also liked how unusual Cadan and Elissa's relationship was. That underlying current of romance amidst their prejudice and initial judgment of each other. I like Cadan because he's not the type of male lead you'll immediately swoon over. I was mostly irritated with him until the last 80 pages of the book. But he, along with Lin and Elissa, grew up and changed for the better.
Unlikely bonds, sisterly love leading to unpredicted discoveries, untimely romance, unexpected allies, conspiracies and sinister experiments all wrapped up in a neatly, nicely paced story. I breezed through Linked in a matter of hours! What a page turner! I randomly picked this book up from my shelf and I am just pleasantly surprised. Now I am craving to read the sequel!...more
This book, filled with a collection of fifty poems, had an author's note towards the end. And I was struck hard by theReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
This book, filled with a collection of fifty poems, had an author's note towards the end. And I was struck hard by the first sentence. "If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know." Can you? Christine Heppermann has uniquely spun fifty poems that tackle such complex, dark and heavy themes like sex, bullying, eating disorders, body image and our society's standards of beauty thrown in a dizzying mix of fairy tales and classic stories.
What's noticeable about this is that heady combination of make believe and fairy tales that always calls out to our childhood and the biting, dark charm of the truths peppered in each and every poem the book has. It's not something you usually read. It's not something that is usually written about. The author bravely talks about things that not everyone wants to talk about, and it cuts right through you with each poem you read.
Christine Heppermann managed to shed light to a lot of important issues prevalent in our world right now, and she presents it as it is: harsh, ugly, biting, stone cold truths for everyone to read tucked inside various retellings of classic fairy tales and stories we've all grown up with. There is bound to be at least one poem which will call out to a reader in this wonderful, hard hitting collection of poems. Imagine all of those carefully constructed words paired with exquisite imagery? It gives the book such a haunting quality.
I can't say anything else as you have to read the poems for yourself, but you have to stop and think what it means to you and how fitting it is in the world we live in right now. It's such a marvel how much impact such short compositions can give to a reader. And to that, I say bravo the author.
Not everyone might be comfortable with a poem or two in the book, some are so dark and gritty, others made me feel conflicted and most make me feel funny, conflicted and sad inside. My favorites are: Photoshopped Poem, Gingerbread and Nature Lesson....more
There are various reasons why I love this book, but I'm only listing two. One, obviously is because I have an older siReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
There are various reasons why I love this book, but I'm only listing two. One, obviously is because I have an older sister (and a twin brother) and I definitely know what it feels like to live in the shadow of someone who is just "more" than you think you'll ever be, and yet they're someone you virtually spend your life with. Nell grew up believing that she and Layla are the same, Nellayla. But as they grow older, Nell realized that they're not, and while Layla is the Golden sister everyone knows, and she'll always be "N. Golden", Nell still adored, looked up, idolized and believed in her older sister. But what if she's not what everyone thought she was?
As two people, Nell and Layla grow up experiencing life differently and Nell as the younger sister wanted to know everything about their sister. Nell is a complicated mix of emotions, envy, and always that nagging, lingering feeling inside her that asks 'why not her?' and 'why is it always Layla?'. I felt for her at that point, and I understand that feeling, sisterhood. You want to be there, and the way both of their feelings were portrayed were heartfelt and convincing. I was frustrated, worried, afraid and disappointed like Nell was, and surprisingly, like Kayla. This was written in Nell's point of view, but I loved how I was able to also take a peek in Layla's life, see what's behind that seemingly perfect facade. It was fascinating, interesting and somewhat terrifying.
My second reason: Dana Reinhardt's masterful writing style. When I first read The Summer I Learned to Fly, it took a lot for me not to cry. The way she was able to convey what Nell feels through everything just gets to you. You're not human if you don't feel anything while reading this book. She was able to craft Nell and Layla, two sisters seemingly inseparable, as similar characters and yet different in ways that matter. Dana Reinhardt made sure both sisters navigated through teenage life the way a teenager should: they make mistakes, fall in and out of love, get confused, get hurt, get frightened, get angry, desperate. It's a painful, but amazing experience in more ways than one.
Felix deserves a special mention in this book. He's this adorable, charming guy, the perfect example of that right person you're looking for all your life, but was there in front of you all along, loving you in the way he knew how. He's funny and sarcastic and caring, a boy who's all smiles but also vulnerable and afraid of the trials life is throwing his way.
We Are the Goldens is a memorable read for me. The concept of family, sisterhood and the lengths one must go to in order to keep a secret, to preserve the fragile bonds between two people growing up, experiencing life and love and what they're willing to do to keep everything 'perfect' was written in such a simple, mysterious way, the suspense holding you off the last minute. And you wait, and wait, and wait some more until it was time to reveal everything. Until you start to wonder, what happens next? One can only guess.
That familiar pinch to the heart, that lightning quick searing pain, the bittersweet emotions welling up, gone the moment you feel it and then you find yourself saying "Ah, yes... this is how it feels when I read a Dana Reinhardt book". I loved and hated the feelings her books always make me feel right after I finish reading them. This is a good one....more
So cute! Yokozawa must be the most insecure guy in the world! Hard to believe since he's a great salesman... and Kirishima is TOTALLY ADORABLE! ADORABSo cute! Yokozawa must be the most insecure guy in the world! Hard to believe since he's a great salesman... and Kirishima is TOTALLY ADORABLE! ADORABLE!...more
A 19 year old who lived all her life in the forest, hidden, suddenly thrust into a world she has prepared for all herReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
A 19 year old who lived all her life in the forest, hidden, suddenly thrust into a world she has prepared for all her life but knew nothing of. Kelsey was raised strictly, in secret, and she was suddenly given a title she didn't want, a title that can get her killed as soon as she step out of the forest she grew up in. I immediately liked her. From the start it was established that Kelsey, at best, is a plain looking girl, and even though she had her own insecurities to deal with in terms of appearance, she's a girl vastly unlike her mother: witty, strong with a tough resolve and a kind heart. This is one of the books I've read in a while where the girl is not "pretty" or looking fabulous or stunningly beautiful and it's totally okay. Beauty is not an advantage for her, but what Kelsey lacks in physical appearance, her wit and intelligence makes up for. With her, you believe that appearance isn't everything. And in this book, it's not.
Queen of the Tearling had an ensemble of lively, supporting characters that helped drive the story forward and in good time. A good example is The Queen's Guard. Among them, The Mace, Lazarus, is one of my favorites. He's an unexpected ally that will make you think twice if it's alright to make him stay or let him go. He's fiercely loyal to Kelsey, and more than being a guard, he's like a mentor and adviser to her. The Mace is feared throughout Tearling, and even in Mortmesne, and with good reason. He's not the amiable, caring type. He's a fearsome warrior who has his own demons to battle with. but Lazarus had unexpected, surprise moments that endears him to a reader like me. He's the closest thing to a father Kelsey will ever have.
Another interesting character that caught my eye in this novel is The Fetch, for reasons the quite similar and still somewhat different to why I liked Lazarus. He's a very mysterious character, who warrants a close, second glance. His real age, heritage and character is unknown, whose alliance with Kelsey is still somewhat unclear and undefined. Is he a friend? A foe masquerading as a knight in shining armor? He might have saved her life, but will he be the one to kill her when she fails to help her Kingdom? The Fetch hopes for a good Queen to lead the Tearling, and he expects a lot from Kelsey. He's straightforward and vague, ruthless and playful, extremely clever, crafty and powerful. It's like he's born out of the assumptions and guesses of people, because there's nothing about him that seemed true. He reminds me of the Darkling! I'd also like to know what it means for Kelsey when it's time for the Fetch to get his due for saving her life. Is anyone also keeping an eye to Pen? Was it just me or is he also another potential love interest for the Queen?
I've always stressed how important world building is in a book, and sadly that is what Queen of the Tearling felt lacking for me. It's not that the author did not make an effort to build a world good enough to grasp, as the explanation of the "Crossing" helped, but the time references used added to the confusion instead of establishing it. A world where technology took a huge step backwards, where books are scarce and warfare and invading was the norm. The references to the present we have now (J.K. Rowling books, for example) didn't seem to fit the world of the Tearling, making it hard to put down the exact time the story takes place. What kind of age? Modernly backwards? Medieval? Were this Kingdoms isolated that whatever they lost (doctors, equipments, gunpowder and other modern amenities) cannot be recovered or remade? What kind of world really is it?
But Queen of the Tearling had a good mix of intrigue and conflict, and vile villains you'd loathe in an instant. The author took time to dive into the perspectives of these characters as well. The Red Queen, ambitious, evil and heartless, with her own agendas and problems to solve in a Kingdom powerful enough to destroy everything in its path. Arlen Thorne, the scumbag with a black soul who treats the people of the Tearling as nothing but mere commodity, a tool to get rich, to name a few. The story also touched based with slavery, cruelty, the never ending struggle for power in a Kingdom slowly deteriorating, a Kingdom left to rot under incompetent hands. Even Kelsey's struggle to accept the fact that what she knew wasn't true, and that certain truths about her mother, her guardians, their roles in her life, were sometimes tough and hard to slowly, but she knew she had to move forward and strive for the best for the sake of her Kingdom.
There's a lot in this book that I loved, hated and got confused of, but it made my reading experience rich, memorable and enjoyable. From page one, I found myself being swept along by the pace and what the story has to offer. What existed for me is just the story of a girl, one filled with magic, trials and a constant battle for a Kingdom left to ruin and fall into the hands of a tyrant. How can one girl change the fate of a Kingdom that is doomed to be subservient? You have to read this book to find out how a nineteen year old girl starts her journey to become the only hope for a Kingdom she didn't know how to lead, how she grows up and becomes a force to recon with in such a delightful, fast paced, character driven story.
Still, it's obvious how much effort it took to give birth to this novel. A great start for a debut author! ...more
A world divided by blood and color. The Silvers who are the rulers and the Reds who follow, inferior, slaReview posted at Amaterasu Reads (4.5 stars!)
A world divided by blood and color. The Silvers who are the rulers and the Reds who follow, inferior, slaves. It was the way the world works, until a Red girl named Mare came along.
Mare just wants to escape. Having been born a Red, her only choice as she turns 18 is to serve in the military like her older brothers because she had no other talents. But Mare doesn't want that, and so she would do anything in her power to avoid it. But Mare doesn't have the money nor the ability to do so, the only way she can help feed her family is when she picks pockets. Until one day she meets a mysterious boy, compassionate enough to give her help in a way Mare couldn't forget. But the boy isn't what he seems, and when Mare finds herself working inside the palace, amidst the mighty and superior Silvers, Mare finds out that she might be something else entirely. And the boy who helped her? He happens to be the heir to the throne, the boy she can never have, even as she became a part of the family to protect her secret.
See, Red Queen had this hypnotic quality that just pulls you in the moment you start reading. Everything about this book intrigued me. Mare is a girl one can easily sympathize with, fierce and loyal to her family and right from the start she wanted something more for herself, to break free of the life given to her just because her blood runs red. Her strong personality became more evident especially when she found herself smack dab in the middle of the Royal family, and with her new found ability, she was tested over and over as she familiarizes herself with the very same people she hates: the Silvers, their world, the powers they possess, the rebellion, all while Mare tries to keep herself alive and protect herself as she tries to make the lives of her people, the Reds, better.
While reading Red Queen, I learned early to be wary like Mare, but no amount of vigilance and readiness prepared me for when I encountered Cal and Maven, Silvers and Princes, possessing great abilities harnessing the power of fire. An older brother with the burden of ruling a country divided, a younger sibling who was always existed in the shadow of the first born. They fought for attention and though their personalities are in total contrast with each other, there's much to love and admire on both brothers. That is, until conspiracies, secrets, hatred and betrayal got woven in the story. I loved how Victoria Aveyard managed to make me lose focus enough to not figure out which brother isn't what he really seemed. And boy, the shock I got when I figured it out was something that made me love this book more.
The author managed to build a believable world, full of strife and conflict, and there's a lot of elements worth discussing aside from Mare's complicated relationship with the Royal family. The world Mare sees, it's social hierarchy, the way the society functions under the premise of the superior ruling and subjugating the weak, where one's place in life is dictated with the color he/she bleeds, and the obvious disparity in life when it comes to privileges and power. There's this palpable impact seeing all of these through the eyes of someone who was once that, a Red and now suddenly a Silver as the readers get to see both sides of the story. Even Mare's struggles as she became someone who was neither of the two, still with that burning desire to right the wrongs done to her people is noteworthy. There's absolutely nothing in this book that isn't worth paying attention to, even the minor characters. (Officer Samos deserves a special mention!)
Red Queen is an addictive read. If the political or royal intrigue and family dynamics isn't enough to make your heart racing, then the action scenes will. It's not so much about the explosions and uprisings, but the consequences and complications they create, and the impact they have on Mare who exists in a lie in order to live. Nothing is certain. People betray even those they hold dear, and death is always on their heels. No guarantees, no promises. It's a cruel, cut throat world, and I loved reading every single minute of it. Victoria Aveyard's debut novel convinces the readers of her talent and the potential for this book to become a hit is really high. Thoroughly enjoyable, with breath taking, heart breaking romance set in a fascinating, futuristic world, Red Queen is definitely a favorite of mine this early in the year!
One of the very few downside of this book? Waiting for the sequel. How do we past time now?...more
The sound effects you'll hear if you were sitting beside me while I was writing this review was the sound of me bashinReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
The sound effects you'll hear if you were sitting beside me while I was writing this review was the sound of me bashing up the keys on my laptop.
The events in The Hunt immediately follows what happened after Ariane and Zane escaped GTX. Now they're on the run, trying to get as far away as they could from the company that made Ariane who she is: half-human and half-extra terrestrial. With the rival corporations hot on her heels to eliminate a "superior specimen", was running enough for Ariane to gain the freedom she wants to have and be normal? Or can she stand up and fight for herself once and for all?
There were so many things going on at once that I felt like I was in over my head even at the start of the book.The dynamics in Zane and Ariane's relationship were shifting wildly while they were on the run. While Ariane is torn between leaving Zane behind for his safety, Zane was mulling over the potential repercussions of him being there. Ariane was, in all ways superior than he will ever be. That struggle in Zane's part was what made his interactions with Ariane so enjoyable for me. Oftentimes you'll see the guy always taking charge, always the one with the solution, but Zane finds himself powerless more times than he can count, and he knows it. The gap that the fact that he's human and Ariane was partially not was bigger than what I expected, what with the way Ariane was treated and seen in the eyes of outsiders. At one point I felt as frustrated as Zane with everyone, seeing Ariane treated the way she was: an experiment, an abomination, inhuman. Why can't she be treated better?
The story was pushed forward in a good pace with the actions Ariane took in solving her current dilemma. Her persistence to end the sick kind of competition the tech corporations were having was admirable, though a bit irritating at times, but it just goes to show that she too was human. She makes mistakes, is rash and sometimes ruled over by her emotions. She was "more" in this novel, more responsive, more emotional, stronger, more in conflict with herself. You get the sense that something was happening, that she was trying to do something. The addition of Ford, Carter and Nixon to the story is an interesting twist that moved the story further. Ford is an interesting character. Her motives were questionable, but she was someone worth taking a closer look at, so much like Ariane and not like her at the same time. Just a piece of advice: never get attached to any new character you come across.
The Hunt has a wonderful combination of being a thriller with romance and all the sci-fi elements that had all the action packed, catch your breath type of scenes that was lacking in the first book. I loved how I get more out of this novel than the first one! Peppered with scenes alternating from cute to hot, giving us more answers, and more amazing developments in the story that made this such an occupying read that will make you realize you're near the end and you still wish there are twenty more pages just so it doesn't end at once. But it did, and the cliffhanger was the killer moment of this book. Just when you thought there was more to it, that you have more seconds to enjoy it and soak in the adrenaline rush, there was none. It ends there, and the rush of feelings catches up with you and you sit there stunned, trying to process what happened and wonder why it ended there.
Stacey Kade masterfully captures a reader's attention with this amazing follow up to The Rule, and you wouldn't want to let go even when you reach the last page. What an intense, roller coaster ride! And what a clever, evil way to end it! But then the realization comes that there at least is a third book to look forward to. If you're looking for a fast paced read which you can breeze through in a flourish, pick up a copy of this book, will you? With the way The Hunt ended, I am desperate more than ever to find out how this deadly game of hide and seek ends, and what's left to look forward to in Ariane's story.
Zane! The one star removal was my frustration for the rest of the characters in the story. I often find myself saying "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?" and "Are you seriously human!?". With Zane's mom, the doctors, Zane's dad and sometimes even Ford, Nixon and Carter. Can't Ariane catch a break? Can't Zane catch a break?...more