Monday, January 19, 2015

The Winner's Curse Book Review *no spoilers*

I picked up this book at my library after hearing Sophia from thebookbasement raving about it.

What is this book that I'm speaking of?

Well, you already know.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkowski.

I cannot pin point what genre this book is. Some say fantasy others label it as historical fiction. I don't really know, but what I can tell you is that The Winner's Curse it freaking good.

In fact, I cannot recall any cons (wait, one. The end felt rushed). But, I really liked everything about this book such as:

  • The main character, Kestral. I love that she is not only a "strong" female protagonist, but she has flaws and feelings too. The thing that bothers me when people say x is such a strong female character is that yes, they are strong, but there are other characteristics that these "strong" women have and that makes them human. I love Kestral because she represents a true human and she's not some one-sided character.
  • Arin. He and Kestral play off each other so well. They are so complimentary. I really like how Arin can be so hostile (I don't blame him), yet he can be so warm. Warm like hot chocolate. Yes, hot chocolate. I love hot chocolate. I love Arin. Ah.
  • The concept. It's an interesting story line. I, for one, had never read a book about a fictional world where people own slaves. Perhaps that is why some call it historical fiction. 
  • Gushy and mushy moments. They make me melt and giddy. They make me believe that love still exists. Whoa, getting to far now. I should stop.
  • The end! Oh how I want to read the sequel. It left off in such a wait-what-I-want-to-know-more type state. 
I'm a slow reader. When I tell you that I read this book fast for my normal pace, you would know that this was an interesting read that won't disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Vango: Between Earth and Sky Book Review *No Spoilers*

Imagine a book full of adventure, mystery, history, and romance.

Yeah, it's this book.

Vango: Between Earth and Sky, the first of a series (I think), is written by Timothee de Fombelle. The historical-fiction book is about a young man (aka Vango) who finds himself first being hunted down by French policemen for a crime he did not commit. As different people try to track Vango down, he tries to find the secrets to his ambiguous past.


  • At times, there were some slow points throughout the novel


  • Interesting characters
  • Witty, humorous mini-plot twists 
  • True-historical figures play great roles in this book. I for one, did not know that Character A or Character B were actually real people.
  • I like how you don't know who the heck Vango is (he's mysterious), but you're rooting for him. 
  • Brilliant writing. Even though the book I read was translated into English, I thought the translation was great. I could tell the translations reflected the well-written text of the original book. 

This book is truly great and something that I have not read before. 

4.5 out of 5

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Finally. FINALLY, I've finished this book after so many months of waiting. I finally had a chance to read Isla and the Happily Ever After. The first book out of the series, Anna and the French Kiss is probably my all time favorite YA contemporary novel, and I did enjoy the sequel, Lola and the Boy Next Door. Reading Isla and the Happily Ever After was a bittersweet moment for me-- I didn't want the series to end, but it has to end at some point right?


Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins, is of course, the last book in the Anna and the French Kiss series. This third book revolves around another character Isla, a regular student at the American School in Paris who had an appearance in Anna, who's long-time crush, Josh, turns into something more. 


  • I didn't like how Isla treated her best friend. Especially towards the end.
  • There wasn't much going in the book other than drama. 
  • I find that Isla was slightly annoying. I can't really explain why I thought she was annoying without spoiling some key points of the book, but after reading some other reviews, maybe her underdeveloped character developed is to blame.
  •  Not only did I find the main character to be quite bothersome, but I also find her love interest, Josh, just the same. Of course I can't specify, but Josh does this extremely irrational thing to Isla about his artsy "project" graphic novel thing (Josh is the cool art kid).
  • I think Josh and his family is too stereotypical, meaning, I'm pretty sure I've seen the same character and situation in other romance movies and novels. You can argue that the whole series is a whole cliche, but I find that Josh and his family situation to be the most in-your-face cliche for me. 
  • As a person who has not been to New York before and is eager to travel to the city one day, I wish the New York was utilized more somehow.


  • There are some nice lovey dovey moments that made me swoon.
  • The setting (New York, Barcelona, Paris) were great locations to have some of the chapters in.
  • There are some funny scenes that made me laugh out loud (which is hard for me to do). Especially the rabbits part...
  • I like there was some diversity in the characters (like Kurt for example) 
  • The previous characters and their scenes (^_^)

Pretty much, I had high expectations for Isla and the Happily Ever After, but unfortunately this book didn't meet my expectations. This book is a somewhat-good read if you're feeling for some romance. But Anna and the French Kiss will always be my favorite in this series and in the whole YA contemporary genre. I am hopeful that Stephanie Perkins will shine with her next horror novel.

3 out of 5 stars

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just One Year Book Review (No spoilers)

Today's book review is over Just One Year, a companion to Gayle Forman's Just One Day series. I was ecstatic to finally able to read Just One Year since Just One Day was such a great book and one of my favorite YA contemporary novels ever.

Just One Year is about the search for "Lulu" (the girl he traveled and connected with in Paris), family, and fate.


  • Just One Year is set after the events from Just One Day, which for me, was not what I was expecting. I thought this book was going to pick after they meet again, but this was more like Wilhelm's somewhat-origin story. This may not a con to some, but it was a little disappointing for me.
  • There were many boring moments.
  • There were so many characters that when a certain name came up, I forgot who that person was.
  • Not enough of "Lulu" (or Allyson)


  • The reader gets to learn more about Wilhelm such as his family, his personality, his friends, his past.
  • The book is in Wilhelm's point-of-view. It's interesting to read in his perspective on things. 
  • Lovable characters (practically a boy named Prateek)
  • There were moments that were sweet 

Overall, I thought Just One Year is mediocre compared to its other pair. There wasn't any suspense or climax that made the book a page turner, but I do find some elements that were heartwarming and meaningful. I guess I just expected more for Just One Year.

3 out of 5 stars

    Saturday, November 15, 2014

    Cress Book Review (No Spoilers)

    The Lunar Chronicles series is one of my favorite series. Ever. I love everything about this series: the loveable characters (*ahem* Thorne), the genre hybrid of sci-fi, dystopian, and fanstasy, the witty dialogue, the interwoven storylines, the subtle, yet obvious romance. This series is the bomb dot com. So when I picked up Cress, finally, at my library, I could not wait to dwell into the world of the Lunar Chronicles.

    The story continues with a new main character, Cress, who helps Cinder, Throne, Scarlet, and Wolf hide under the radar from Queen Levana. But when the gang tries to aid Cress's escape from her satellite, problems occur.


    • There were some parts of the book that I felt were either boring or slow, but it wasn't bothersome. Things started to pick up after the slow, boring parts
    • One important character was not present as much as the others (this could be a frowner to those who really love this certain character)   


    •  New, great characters
    • Very descriptive in the setting and characters; it was like a watching movie inside my head
    • Many gripping, action-packed scenes
    • Loads of characters that you begin to, or already, hate
    • The interaction between characters were great, amusing, and funny
    • Touches on a disability (if you read the book, you know what I'm talking about)
    • There were emotional hardships for some characters, which may result to tears from the readers 
    • The END of the book!!!!!!!!!!!

    Overall, Cress is definitely a star in the series. I love how all the characters from each book previous to this one is all tied into this huge storyline that's epic. This book will make your heart melt, but it will also make your heart get crushed and stomped at. The next, and final, book of the series comes out in a year. A year of waiting and anticipation.
    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Noggin Book Review (No spoilers)

    I had heard of Noggin from a few booktubers, saying it was a hilarious book. I very rarely read any books with a great deal of humor in it (it's not like I stay away from them, I just haven't read many), so I decided to give Noggin a go.

    Noggin, by John Corey Whaley, is about a teenage boy who get to have a second chance of life. Before dying of cancer, he chooses to undergo a treatment/experiment-thingy that could potentially give Travis (the boy) a second shot for life. And so it goes, the treatment worked. Noggin is about Travis coping with his parents, his friends, school, and life with the "new" him.


    • Travis's parents play a big role in the book, so I felt a little deprived when the situation about his mom and dad was not mentioned again towards the end of the book.
    • There were somewhat annoying characters, but some of the "annoying" parts are understandable in different circumstances.
    • I wanted the title of the book "Noggin" to have some significant circumstance through out the book; it only touches base on the name in the beginning of the book


    • Touches on topics such as self-acceptance of sexuality, marriage and divorce, family, friends, and religion (does not make you want to be 'X' religion, but naturally talks about religion for the sake of Travis's sake).
    • Humorous dialogue and texts
    • Heart-felt and touching in some parts 
    • Very satisfying ending 

    Overall, Noggin was an enjoyable book to read. Although I had minor problems with it, as with many books, I still think Noggin is great to read if you want something that makes you laugh, tear up, and empathize with some characters.

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Dreams of Gods and Monsters Book Review + Discusssion

    613 pages in this book. A lot of pages compared to the other two, but it was mostly worth it.

    Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the last book in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. If you don't know what this book is about, it's primarily about Akiva and Karou's attempt to bring together the chimaera and seraphim in order to destroy the new emperor of Eretz, Jael. That's the main plot, but there are other subplots that start and finish in this last book (including new characters). With that being said, I thought the book flowed easily and tied up nicely in the end. But... there were some minor things that I didn't like.

    As always, the first half (the pros and cons) will be full of spoiler-free information. When you see red lettering, that means I'm doing my discussion, which include spoilers.


    Some subplots were completed, but not fully completed as I would like it to be 

    Thought the book could be condensed by removing unnecessary chapters

    Ending was satisfying (which is good) but felt like it lacked something in order to make the ending even better



      Book is written beautifully

    Creative chapter names

    Nice development with certain characters

    Very visual in describing a scene/setting 

    Point of views not only from the chimaera and seraphim, but also from humans too

    Satisfying and sweet ending

    Discussion (with spoilers)

    I liked the beginning of the book with introducing Eliza. I thought it was interesting to bring a new character for the start of the finale book. The mystery involving her was engaging and her role was very integral to the storyline. But man, when she "changed" in that short bit with her seraphim tongue-speaking voodoo language, it was very weird. Anyways, I liked that hinted relationship with her and Scarab towards of the end of the book; it wasn't expected since I always thought Gabriel and Eliza had something going on. GARBRIEL! I wished Gabriel had more of an appearance since he didn't have a major role in the story. I thought he was amiable and caring and felt like he's character didn't have a close end. I also thought the ending of Morgan's character could have been more. Morgan was a jealous, attention seeker, callous asshole who deserves the future repercussions of his actions. I wanted to see him suffer just a little bit more (I sound evil saying that). Same with Esther and Razgut, but I guess their fate is sealed. I felt like there was a lot going in the book that wasn't brought up into very later; like Melliel and the other Misgotten being held in prison by the Stelians. What ever happened to Eidolon who kept saying vague answers about the sky's feeling to Melliel? She just disappeared. Some characters that were introduced were not mentioned ever again, a negative that I find in this book. 
    Even with many vanished characters, there were great characters. I absolutely loved Zuzanna and Mik. Not only were there a perspective from the chimaera and seraphim about the alliance and the rebellion of Jael, but there was the point of view of humans too. It was awesome to bring them to Eretz; their perspective displayed the brilliance of Eretz (the magic, the creatures, the whole entirety of it). It just makes me so happy, because they want to help Karou and they care for her and the alliance and the cause and... THEY'RE SUCH GREAT FRIENDS. Sigh. Plus, their humor was a nice contrast to some dark, serious stuff (yes, stuff) in the book. Remember when they, as well as Eliza, rode on the stormhunter with epicness and Mik proposed! That was so magical.
    One character who completely changed for the better was Liraz. I loved her character development: angry and pretending-to-not-feel person to a caring and understanding one. Through out her transformation, her bad-assness was still maintained, making her too cool for school. Also, I loved that her and Ziri, at the end, are together. At first, I thought a love triangle was forming between Karou, Ziri, and Akiva. But it wasn't, and I loved that. Liraz grew as a person, and Ziri moved on and felt himself (since he was Thiago). Ziri broke my heart when he knew he would never be with Karou, but it made me smile when he was still willing to help bring the chimaera and seraphim together. Speaking of Karou and Akiva, I liked how it took a while for them to be comfortable again; it felt like they were going through some tough times, which ultimately felt tangible. It was nice that Dreams of Gods and Monsters wasn't saturated with romance-- there was just enough. When the two finished confronting Jael in the Vatican, and they turned invisible and flew to the sky, it was such a touching moment. It almost like I was watching a scene in a movie, I mean, they were holding and kissing each other as they ascended. In my mind, it was a beautiful sight. 
    I have to applause the author, Laini Taylor, for seamlessly piecing everything together. A lot of things happened in this book, but as a reader, I felt at ease whilst reading. I can't imagine how difficult it was to bring the character, main idea, and subplots smoothly. I also have to applaud Taylor on her writing. Her writing was effortless and very detailed and full of imagery. I remember in this one scene where the only-then portal was sealed and the battle begun down in Eretz, it felt like I watching a scene in X-Men or something. 
    The ending was too happy to me. Maybe I'm just nick-picking or maybe I've read to many sad endings. Well, I did thought the end was sweet-- Karou and Akiva's dream is turning into a reality! But there was something missing in the end. I don't know if the ending should have had more pages or it was rushed. There was something lacking, but otherwise, the ending was satisfying. Hey! You know, I'm glad it wasn't a Mockingjay or an Allegiant ending, so I shouldn't be complaining.

    *Discussion Has Ended*

    Over all, I enjoyed Dreams of Gods and Monsters very much. Although there were some negatives, it was a good closer for a good series.

    4 out 5 stars