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 :
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

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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

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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.


My Rating5stars

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Book Review : The Retribution 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.

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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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!

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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.

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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.

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