Book Review : Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

22841994Series : Harry Potter #1
Edition : Paperback (352 pages)
Publisher : Bloomsbury Childrens (September 2014)
Genre : Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Source : Bought from Amazon
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When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

My Thoughts

I don’t think I need to write a long review about this book and how great it is so I’ll just write more about my experience with it.

It’s my first time to read this book but I’ve seen the movie many times already. When I was in highschool, I never cared about reading it and never planned to even watch the movie adaptation. My highschool bestfriend, who is into magic and wizarding, (I am more into ghost and paranormal) is a big fan of Harry Potter and I think she tried to convince me to read the book but I told her that “it’s for kids”.

A coworker back in 2011 invited me to watch the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I gave it a try. Of course I was lost the whole time because all I know was they were doing magic and kiddy stuffs, nothing serious. But then I was wrong and I told myself, “Okay?! This is not anymore for kids!”. I decided to watch (the movies from the beginning) because I was still not into reading during that time and yeah, I loved it. When I started to enjoy reading books, HP were on my to-buy list and it took me almost four years to finally have my own HP book set.

I’ve just read the first book and I love it already more than the movie. The writing style is astounding and I think even if I didn’t watch the movie, it is still easy for me to imagine how the characters and scenes look like. I love Hagrid’s character and I also want to go to Diagon Alley with him.

JK Rowling is so amazing. To think that she wrote about this magical world and created these unique characters perfectly. She is so magnificent.

If you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, it’s still not late (and it will never be) for you to start. I recommend this book to everyone and I will surely read this book to my future kids.

My Rating5starsDate Read : March 2015

 

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Book Review : All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Edition : Paperback (388 pages)
Publisher : Penguin (January 2015)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary
Source : Bought from Thalia Buchhandlung
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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

My Thoughts

Writing this review is quite hard for me because I still don’t know exactly how to express my emotions even I’ve read this book six days ago. I can write what I want but I know that it will not give much justice on how wonderful this book is. So, you only have one option : Read the book.

Violet is in grief and feels guilty for losing her sister in an accident. She is crossing out the days on her calendar until she can graduate from highschool, move out and leave all the painful memories behind. Finch fascinates death. He reads and writes about suicide. He knows the different methods and attempts to try them but some things always keep him from doing it. They met unexpectedly at the ledge of their high school’s bell tower. Later on, they became partners in a school project named “Wander Indiana”.

All the Bright Places is told from the perspectives of our two main characters. Both are interesting, unique and quirky. Both are struggling from deep pain and sadness. They felt so real to me that I want to comfort them and let them know that I care. As for their romance, it evolved wonderfully as they got to know each other. The relationship is endearing. I love how they accepted one another, especially their negative sides and imperfections.

I honestly didn’t want to finish reading this book and know what will happen in the end but I cannot help myself not to turn the next pages. The story was beautifully written and it flows naturally. And even though the ending is a little predictable, I still found it exceptionally well done. I shed big buckets of tears on the last few chapters and this book broke my heart.

I admire the author for writing about one of the most important subjects nowadays. For giving awareness about mental illness, depression and suicide. This book is very powerful and definitely a must-read not only for young readers but for everyone.

Shoutout to Ms. Jennifer Niven who favorited and retweeted my tweet and for following me back. You’re awesome!

“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

 My Rating

Date Read : March 2015

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Book Review : Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Edition : Paperback (449 pages)
Publisher : Simon and Schuster
Children’s (July 2014)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source : Bought from Amazon
Date Read : February 2015
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It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait… what?

My Thoughts

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book since I’ve never read any from Morgan Matson. I even thought that she is a guy because of her name. Oops. Aside from the lovely and summer feel cover, this book caught my attention because of its high ratings in Goodreads. This is also my second time doing a buddy read with Joyce (Hi be!) and definitely not our last.

It is summer and Emily is alone without her best friend, Sloane. They’ve planned an exciting summer together but Sloane and her family suddenly disappear. All that’s left for Emily is a to-do list from Sloane.

“I don’t think you have to do something so big to be brave. And it’s the little things that are harder anyway.”

I personally can relate to Emily because I am somehow like her during my teenage years (i think until now). Socially awkward, conscious in front of other people, introvert. She is hoping that the list would lead her to her bestfriend but it never felt like she was forcing herself to do them. Even some of the tasks were terrifying for her, she is still willing to do it and that’s what i admire about her.

I wasn’t sure about Sloane at first but the flashbacks made me feel like she is an awesome character and I can say that she is really a true friend to Emily. Just like with Sloane, I didn’t feel anything about Frank but I got to love him throughout the story specially when I’ve learned some of his likes and hobbies. The secondary characters added a lot to the story too. They were all unique and real.

Every chapter is interesting and I caught myself smiling alot while reading. The writing style is simple, descriptive and catchy. This book never bored me. Not to mention, the song playlists are cool.

I love the ending of this book. I got nervous how things would end when the story began to wind down but the author did a great job of wrapping things up.

This book tells us what real friendship means. It talks about taking chances and discovering yourself. It’s winter here but this book gave me summer feelings. Highly recommended!

 My Rating

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Book Review : War Kids by Hayley J. Lawson

Series : War Kids #1
Edition : eBook (Smashwords Edition)
Published : August 2014
Genre : Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers
Source : eARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Date Read : February 2015
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When Jada wakes up in a hospital, the last thing she thinks is that her life has completely changed forever. But when the very real civil war forces her to flee from every open space, she must use the firearm skills her father taught her to reunite with him and protect herself.

Armed with a single gun and a key to an unknown locker, Jada crosses Syria on a journey with a group of children called the Fearless Freedom Fighters.

With the leader, Zak, they mount a plan to rescue their fathers while they try to cope with the merciless murders of their families. As Jada and Zak lead the group together, love blossoms, but with soldiers hot on their tail, they need to stay vigilant in the face of war.

War Kids is a story about the Syrian Civil war through the eyes of a group of teenagers.

My Thoughts

I didn’t read the full synopsis of this book when I requested it in NetGalley. The girl on the cover and title caught my attention.

I was aware that this was going to be a sad read so I prepared myself but it was not enough. I had goosebumps and I cannot remember anymore how many times I had to stop reading to wipe away my tears.

This book is told through shifting of different POVs of several children and some adults who were caught in the middle of a civil war in Syria. The author did a great job on this one because not many authors can switch different POVs regularly without confusing the readers.

I personally like the author’s writing style in this book. It is descriptively written that I could feel the character’s emotions. Despite the heartaches caused by the war, these kids still know how to laugh, love and play. It has quite a lot of characters but it didn’t bother me at all because they were all amazing and likeable.

There were surprising twists and revelations towards the end that will left the readers more questions. This will also make you grab the second book to know the answers.

A great and very powerful book that will help us see and feel how it is to be in the middle of a war, not only as a victim but also as a fighter.

Heartbreaking, thought-provoking and an eye-opener. I’m excited for the second book and will definitely recommend this to my fellow readers.

 My Rating

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Book Review : Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series : Shatter Me #1
Edition : Paperback (340 pages)
Publisher : Harper Collins (October 2012)
Genre : Romance, Dystopia, Fiction
Source : Bought from Hugendubel Buchhandlung
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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.x

My Thoughts

Juliette’s touch can kill and she accidentally murdered a small kid. She has been locked up in an asylum and hasn’t seen or touched another person for quite a long time until Adam, a guy she knew, steps inside her cell.

The main character, Juliette, has a “special power” but I feel like it’s useless in this book. I get that she’s alone most of her life, didn’t have friends and has been neglected by her parents but maybe she could’ve stopped whining about it and did something about her power to protect herself. Adam came and Juliette became dependent on him. It happened to be that they already “love” each other eversince but they didn’t know about it because they never talked. The romance between Juliette and Adam, though hot and heavy, didn’t excite me at all. I was interested to know more about Warner, Kenji, and Adam’s little brother (James).

The writing style was good and bad at the same time. Good because it’s very descriptive, it has similes and metaphors. Bad because they are too much and some of them were so weird (for me) and just didn’t make sense at all. The author used these metaphors to express Juliette’s thoughts which was a good thing because these shows how unstable Juliette is but later on these became disturbing. Here is an example:

“The sky is raining bricks right into my skull.”

The first book I’ve read with strike-through was David Levithan’s Every You, Every Me and I don’t have problems with this tool. The repeating of words can also be annoying sometimes. I showed the (whole) page where it hasI’m not insane!to my fiance and he told me “She is totally insane”.

I thought this was more of a romance novel than a dystopian fantasy and that Juliette’s power is the same with Queen Elsa of Arendelle (Frozen) except the freezing thing. I also didn’t have an idea that this book was described as a combination of The Hunger Games and X-Men. I just realized that it’s similar to X-Men on the last pages of the book but I didn’t notice any from THG except when The Reestablishment (the organization or government) was mentioned.

There are things I enjoyed in this novel so I will still be reading the rest of the series. I’m holding on to Juliette’s last words and hoping to see more of her bad-ass side.

 My Rating

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Book Review : Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman

Edition : Kindle (576 pages)
Publisher : RHCP Digital (January 29, 2015)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source : eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Check this book on Goodreads

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

My Thoughts

I was so excited when I saw this on NetGalley and got even more excited when they approved my request.

This book is a compilation of different types of romance stories with the theme “love against the odds”. Some are original short stories written by Malorie Blakcman, David Levithan and James Dawson. Most are excerpts from pre-existing novels like If I Stay, Forbidden and I Am The Messenger.

Some of the readers might find this book disappointing because they have already read some of the excerpts included or they will think that this book includes spoilers, which is not. My only problem with the excerpts was I had a hard time understanding what was really going on and most of the time I got confused with the characters. It’s like you open a book in a random page and you don’t have any idea why the character is crying.

What I love with this collection is the stories are not only about girl-boy relationships. There are also characters who belong to the LGBT community, people with disability, from different social statuses and religions.

I can say that this book will still make an awesome read with the original short stories alone. But it’s not bad because this also introduces us to some of the great authors and their works. One thing is for sure, this book will make your TBR list longer.

Some of my favorites from the original short stories are Gentlewoman by Laura Dockrill which is about a boy who came out and changed himself into a girl with the help of modern medicine, The Unicorn by James Dawson is about the bittersweet story of a forbidden relationship between two Navy guys during the Korean War, and David Levithan’s Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat which is a story about a girl who falls in love with the new girl in school and how she ends up with a realization when things didn’t work for them.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Love Hurts. Ms. Blackman did a great job collecting unique, fresh, and interesting love stories for the readers to realize the real meaning of love.

 My Rating

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Book Review : Never, Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Series : Never, Never #1
Edition : Kindle (140 pages)
Publisher : Hoover Ink (January 2015)
Genre : New Adult, Romance, Mystery
Source : Amazon Kindle
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Best friends since they could walk.
In love since the age of fourteen.
Complete strangers since this morning.
He’ll do anything to remember.
She’ll do anything to forget.

My Thoughts

I normally don’t like reading book series because of cliffhangers but this one is an exception. This is also the book I pledged to read for the National Readathon Day that happened yesterday.

The summary was very vague and it quite reminded me of The Maze Runner. Why? Charlie and Silas have been friends since they were young and now they don’t remember anything and anyone around them. (But don’t worry because there is no glade and gladers in the story or something like that.) I don’t really want to say anything about the storyline so you need to buy the book and let yourself dive into it.

It’s my first time reading Ms. Hoover’s and Ms. Fisher’s work so I don’t have any idea about their writing styles. Obviously, they have different styles but in this book, I felt like it was written by only one author. The delivering of the story and blending of their styles are impressive. Also, Colleen writes for Silas, and Tarryn for Charlie.

I love the romance, suspence, and mystery in this story. I love that the characters have different attitude but they seem so perfect together. I love the story even though I knew that it contains a major cliffhanger. Everyone talks about it and some really didn’t like it. I personally like how it ended which makes me feel weird about it.

Never Never is a uniquely captivating story that left me wanting for more. And right now, I have to wait until May 17 for the sequel.8920221Please remind me that this is the reason why I read more stand-alone books than series. Haha.

My Rating

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Book Review : Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Edition : Paperback (470 pages)
Publisher : Harper (Oct 2010)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Source : Bought from Thalia Buchhandlung
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For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

My Thoughts

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long-time that’s why I’ve decided to include it on my list for the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge.

Samantha Kingston has it all. The looks, friends, popularity and the perfect boyfriend. Friday night, Sam and her friends went into a house party. It should be her big night but it turns out to be her last. The next morning, she wakes up on the same day and relives her last day for a week.

“Let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that? Is what I did really so much more worse than what anybody else does? Is it really so much worse than what you do? Think about it.”

I bought this book because of the great and intriguing synopsis. “What if you had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?”. Also, the eyes of the girl on the cover is simply mesmerizing.

Just like the usual, I didn’t have any idea of the plot but I did read the synopsis. I wasn’t really sure if I love or hate this book while reading the first 100 pages but I decided to continue and see where this book would take me.

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