Book Review : Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My Thoughts

This was a great and refreshing read. I like that the dialogues are so natural and the characters are relatable. The scenes are also hilarious.

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Book Review : Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.

I won this book in an Instagram giveaway hosted by El (@bookishnessandcoffee) in January this year. I chose this book because I’ve been wanting to read (and collect) Colleen Hoover’s books.

My expectations on this book were so high (because of the hype) that’s why it made me sad that I was quite disappointed even before I finish reading it.

I can totally say that I love her writing style. It’s simple yet captivating.

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Book Review : Ugly People Beautiful Hearts by Marlen Komar

25168753Edition : Kindle (96 pages)
Published on : March 11, 2015
Genre : Poetry
Source : Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Date Read : May 2015
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Ugly People Beautiful Hearts is a poetry book with over 70 poems that explores loneliness, quiet sadness, bursts of happiness, and contentment over the fact that everything you have, will eventually go okay. But that’s sort of beautiful in its own right.

It has verses moving between the feelings of loving someone, feeling loss, trusting the night sky, losing your light, resolving that hurt is beautiful, and finding compassion in a stranger’s smile.

My Thoughts

I was glad and thankful that Marlen Komar emailed me and gave me an opportunity to read and review her poetry collection. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a poetry book and reading Ugly People Beautiful Hearts made me feel nostalgic. I used to write poems for our school newspaper and most of my poems were about love and heartaches.

Over 70 poems about life, love, and finding beauty in sadness and heartaches. Exactly the type of poems I love. Also, the dedication is sweet and it made me feel like the author is whispering the words in my ear.

Simple yet heartfelt. This book is not a simple collection of poetry. The poems tells a story of how two persons, madly inlove with each other, ended up being strangers. A story of how love can hurt a person deeply and how that pain feels wonderful.

“Falling in love with you has been the most unkind thing I’ve done to myself, by far.” (Thoughts Folded Into Morning Light)

I cannot say more about her works so I’ll give some of my favorites and it’s up to you to decide. I’m pretty sure you will also end up loving this talented author and her works whether poetry is your thing or not.

I felt lost and I lost the map on how to find myself. The moom said he would tell me who I was, but I told him no. No, there was something wonderful in the not knowing. Every step forward was terrifying, uncertain. Uncomfortable. But every step forward brought closer limitless possibilities. (When I Go Missing)

Some of the other poems I loved:
There We’ll Wait
And I’m
A Rather Cold Tuesday Afternoon
In Here, I’ll wait
Passed Notes
Have Courage, My Love
To Think There Was a Time
Why We Live in Kitchens

My Rating4stars

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Book Review : Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Edition : Paperback (327 pages)
Publisher : Hot Key Books (May 2014)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Source : Amazon.de
Date Read : May 2015
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It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person – any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain – he died young, and so did Laurel’s sister May – so maybe he’ll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people – Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart… it’s like she can’t stop. And she’d certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it’s like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time – and how her family has shattered since May died.

My Thoughts

Me and my reading buddies (Joyce, Leigh and KL) chose this book for our May read-along.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this book but I know that it’s not a light read because the title contains the word “dead”. I had no idea about how this book was written until I read the first line, which is “Dear Kurt Cobain”. I got excited and thought that I would love this book.

A simple assignment gave Laurel a chance to express all the emotions she’s been carrying and hiding before and after the day her sister died. We get to know her fears, experiences, struggles and grief. I sometimes had a hard time understanding her actions but I thought that it’s normal especially with her age and with all the things she’d been through. While reading her letters, we also learn the stories of the celebrities she’s writing to. Despite of their popularity, they’re also like us. They’re not perfect and they had painful experiences too.

I love the idea of writing letters to someone who is dead. I personally want to write a letter to Anne Frank right after reading “The Diary of a Young Girl”. While I’m reading Laurel’s letters, I felt like I’m the one who wrote them. Just like her, I also have the same questions to Kurt, Amelia and Janis. (I sometimes imagine how it feels like watching Nirvana performing live.)

There are some revelations in the story and although they are quite predictable, it didn’t matter to me that much because I liked the development of each and every characters throughout the story. I liked how family and friendship play an important role in this book. The writing style is simple yet captivating. I totally enjoyed reading this book and I highlighted quite a lot of quotes I loved.

“Maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to just be a character, going whichever way the story says.  It’s knowing that you could be the author instead.”

I thought that this book is somehow similar to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, just in a female POV, and now I know why. Because I don’t read even the book descriptions, I didn’t know that Ava Dellaira is Stephen Chbosky’s protege. I just knew it after reading the Acknowledgement. So if you are a fan of Chbosky, you will definitely love this book.

This book is touching and powerful. It reminds us that there are things or events that we can no longer change and we have to accept that. We have to move on and continue living our lives and appreciate the things and people that we have right now.

*Heads-up! They are working on the movie adaptation of this book. Ugh.

My Rating
4stars

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Book Review : Never Never : Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

24422492Series : Never Never
Edition : eBook (111 pages)
Published on : May 17, 2015
Genre : Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery
Source : iBooks
Date Read : May 2015
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“Never forget that I was your first real kiss. Never forget that you’ll be my last.
And never stop loving me between all of them.
Never stop, Charlie.
Never forget.”

Silas races against time as more truths unravel, while others twist tighter together. And now, the stakes are higher as Silas’ control slips and others begin to point fingers. Charlie is in trouble and he must be the one to bridge the chasm between their past and their present. Because somewhere between I love yous and Never Nevers and Never Agains, a truth they can’t imagine, beckons to be found.

“Where are you, Charlie?”

My Thoughts

Good news when I woke up yesterday in the morning : “Your pre-order is now available.”

I put down Love Letters to the Dead and started this much-awaited sequel of Never Never. It took me almost three hours to finish this book even it’s just a short one. I’m a slow reader and someone is disturbing me (in a good way) a lot.

The story gets more and more interesting and mysterious. Some sort of clues (or hints) on what is happening with Silas and Charlie were given but these just added more mysteries in the story. Like with the first book (here’s my review), I love both of the main characters, especially Silas. I love the suspence and the additional character roles. I honestly don’t have any idea on what will going to happen or where the story will take me but I’m totally okay with it.

I gave four stars because I felt like this one is shorter than the first book. All in all, I enjoyed reading it even the cliffhanger (again) is killing me. I hope they will release the third (last) part soon.

My Rating
4stars

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Book Review : Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

Edition : Kindle (274 pages)
Publisher : Mira Ink (October 2012)
Genre : Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Source : Amazon
Date Read : May 2015
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“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

My Thoughts

I seriously don’t have any idea that this is a christmas-themed book. I have a Kindle edition and the cover don’t have any signs on it.

The concept of this book is brilliant and entertaining. The bookstore, the red moleskine notebook, and the exchanging of clever and exciting dares. Not to mention the chocolate pizza!

I always love reading books with different POVs especially if they’re from the main character/s and this book is one of them. Dash and Lily are both intelligent and daring. They are quite different from each other but they perfectly fit together. The other characters are also lovable and funny. I personally like Boomer because he is really a good friend, Langston for being a cool brother, and Greant-Aunt Ida for being simply awesome.

I was glad that I’ve read the Kindle edition because it made easy for me to check the definitions of those big words. There are a lot of them. It was my first time reading Rachel Cohn’s work and it’s impressing. I will definitely read their other collaboration (“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List”) in the future. This book proved that Cohn and Levithan can work totally good together.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares is a fun, sweet, and fast read. It reminds me that it is okay to step out of the box once in a while and experience new things.

 My Rating

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Book review : Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

Series : Harry Potter #2
Edition : Paperback (384 pages)
Publisher : Bloomsbury Childrens (September 2014)
Genre : Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Source : Bought from Amazon
Date Read : March 2015
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Harry Potter can’t wait for his holidays with the dire Dursleys to end. But a small, self-punishing house-elf warns Harry of mortal danger awaiting him at Hogwarts. Returning to the castle nevertheless, Harry hears a rumour about a Chamber of Secrets, holding unknown horrors for wizards of Muggle parentage. Now someone is casting spells that turn people to stone, and a terrible warning is found painted on the wall. The chief suspect – always in the wrong place – is Harry. But something much more terrifying has yet to be unleashed.

My Thoughts

A house-elf named Dobby appears in Harry’s room before the start of his second year in Hogwarts. Dobby warns Harry about the terrible things that will happen and that it is not safe for Harry to return to school. Being locked up inside his room by the Dursleys, Ron, Fred and George with the help of their father’s fyling car come to rescue him and ends up staying at the Weasleys before the school starts. Everything turns out normal in Hogwarts until horrible events start to happen.

I enjoyed this book more than the first one. The characters are still admirable, interesting, smart and funny at the same time. I got to know more of the Weasleys and how wonderful their family is. I like that Ron shows how brave he is for facing one of his greatest fears. (I remember Rupert Grint’s facial expression in the movie. It’s priceless). It was compelling to learn more about Voldemort’s past story and how he is somehow related to Harry. I think Gilderoy Lockhart was introduced in this book just to annoy the readers because that’s what I felt during his scenes.

Captivating writing style and great storyline. Full of magic, plot twists and amusing characters. I’m really glad that I’ve decided to read the book because there were a lot of essential scenes that were not inluded in the movie like Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday Party and also, Peeves the Poltergeist. I’ve read that a scene with Peeves was filmed but sadly, it was never released.

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Like what I’ve said in my Philosopher Stone’s review, it’s still not late for you to grab a copy, start reading the series and experience the magic.

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My Rating5stars

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Book Review : The Retibution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Series : Mara Dyer #3
Edition : Paperback (480 pages)
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Childrens Books (November 2014)
Genre : Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source : Joyce bought it from BookDepository
Date Read : April 2015
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It had to end sometime, but Mara had no idea it would end like this. Experience the mind-blowing conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer trilogy.

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

My Thoughts

I have read the first two books two years ago and I enjoyed and even loved it. Being left with a cliffhanger (and a lot of questions) and to wait for the next book were not easy and I’m proud to say that I survived.

A great friend named Joyce gave me a copy of The Retribution of Mara Dyer as an early bday gift but I didn’t read it immediately. I planned to re-read the The Evolution of Mara Dyer to refresh my memory but ended up browsing it since I put some marks on the important things. I wasn’t able to write a review for the first two books but I can still remember the thrill and the creepiness I felt while reading them.

It’s so hard to review this series without giving any spoilers so I will not make it long. It’s better to start reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and experience the same feelings I had.

“The villain is the hero of her own story.”

The characters, both main and secondary, were great. I like how crazy and creepy Mara is and I was anxious that she’d go too far especially when she reached her maximum level of anger. Noah Shaw became my book boyfriend when I got to know him in UoMD and I love him even more in this book. Jamie, Stella and Daniel were hilarious.

There were scenes that made me laugh, scenes that made me squel (Chapter 73!), scenes and plot twists that creep the hell out of me and scenes that made me fall in love. This book pretty answered all the questions and the flashbacks helped a lot. But the answers also left some new questions. I think Ms. Hodkin ended it like that for us to come up with our own answers.

I like the book references that Ms. Hodkins included in this book and one of them is from Harry Potter. I even put highlights on them. The ending, for me, was the best part. It made me say “Ahh! That is so brilliant!”.

This series is definitely one of my favorites. It’s intriguing, addicting, and mind-boggling. Thank you Ms. Michelle Hodkin for writing and sharing such a beautiful and captivating books.

• Here is Michelle Hodkin’s Inspiration of writing Mara Dyer Series and her answer when asked about Mara Dyer’s Real Name.

 My Rating

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