Contemporary has been failing me recently: Mini Reviews

In the very limited amount of free time I had, I tried to read a bit and in the span of two weeks, I managed to get four books down. A few more to go!

It’s no question why I picked contemporary. I’m usually already worn out from school so I would definitely want to read something which is easy to get into or relate to. And what’s better genre than contemporary?

Unfortunately, most of my recent reads were a miss.

The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

the revenge playbook>> Goodreads

I was expecting a group girls trying to get revenge through sports competition but what did I get? Do not be fooled guys. The synopsis may say “beat at their own game” but the whole book is actually about a scavenger hunt and no, this isn’t a spoiler. Throughout the book, I didn’t feel any sort of connection with the characters but if I had to choose, I like Liv’s character’s best because honestly, hers stuck to my mind and still do until now. I read this book weeks ago and I have already forgotten most of the plot… So yeah, a huge disappointment since everyone has been recommending this. But overall, I appreciate that this book is about justice and equality. I could feel the whole “girl power” vibe.

Rating: 3 stars Continue reading Contemporary has been failing me recently: Mini Reviews

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

the start of me and youThe Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Publication: March 31st, 2015 by Bloomsbury
Genre: YA Contemporary
Goodreads

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamicsThe Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

GOSH. Emery Lord writes THE BEST self-discovery books and more importantly, friendships and the process of moving on. I don’t know anymore. I think this book made me so emotional – like, the most emotional I’ve ever been in terms of reading this year that it instantly deserves 5 stars.

“Knowing what happens is different from knowing how it happens. And getting there is the best part.”

Continue reading The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

[Review] Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising
(The Grisha #3)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publication: June 17th, 2014 by Henry Holt and Company
Page count: 417 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Fantasy

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

I have been putting off reading Ruin and Rising for a while and well… you know that unbelievably high expectations that comes with series conclusion. One of my favorite series, actually. And to top it off, I haven’t been the most diligent reader for the most of 2014. I often lose interest upon cracking open a book and I was scared that it would happen to this book. I was scared that I ended up disliking it because of the condition I had been in.

This morning I was thinking “oh screw it” as I viciously tore open the plastic covering this pretty baby. I had enough of waiting and since I’ve successfully finished 2 books in this week, it was going to be the same this time.

Boy, how glad I am right now because Ruin and Rising turned out to be a perfection. I could not ask for more. The whole time, I had zero complaints and I usually don’t have zero complaints. I just don’t. But reading this book, I could simply enjoy every page and savor every moment. The characters I was in love with in the previous installments — Leigh Bardugo made me fall more deeply in love with them. As for the characters I wasn’t too fond of? She even made me care about them. I could feel their pain and struggle. I laughed along with their silly jokes and teasing. I ached for each of their happiness, despite knowing that not all of them were going to survive this war. When some of them died, my heart broke to million pieces.

“I am ruination.”

But seriously though, every single one of them was lovable. Alina’s character has developed for the better. She isn’t the same girl, unsure about her power. She is now much more determined to kill the Darkling and is not afraid to taunt him. Yes, taunt the evil old Darkling.

You know my infatuation with Sturmhond and even though he doesn’t appear much in this installment, his lines always seem to make me giggle or put a smile on my face. His smart mouth surely isn’t the only thing that makes him charming for me. His charisma and good leadership, his ability to administer justice fairly to everyone (royals or servants alike), his desire to make Ravka a better country and his optimism to find a way out no matter how improbable it is… Ehem, seems like I’ve gone a little too far and I could go on and on about him but the point is – he will be a great king and I’m looking forward to his ruling. Possibly in Bardugo’s other series set in the same universe The Dregs? (Please please can he appear even in one page?)

And Genya – definitely a tough lady considering all the things she had to go through. I liked that she has accepted and embraced her condition. Btw, I really ship her with David!! Oh, the socially awkward yet kind-hearted David. I was practically swooning over his speech to Genya about how strong she is!! <3 And Zoya. Gosh, I never would have imagined how I would be so attached to her. But her snarky remarks and complaints grew on me. See? Leigh Bardugo is remarkably skilled at writing likable characters. Whether old friends or new allies – they are all equally developed you can’t help but to sympathize with them. Tolya and Tamar… Nadia and Adrik… Even the quirky Harshaw who keeps talking to his cat… I just loved them all so much, so much that mentioning them is the least I can do.

Not only Zoya that grew on me, but Mal as well. I remember that he was never particularly stood out to me in the previous books. I even thought he was annoyingly insecure to the point that I started rolling my eyes whenever he appeared. But he is different in Ruin and Rising. More confident and this time he knows his purpose – what he is supposed to do and what sacrifices he has to make.

The entire journey is purely satisfying and extremely captivating. The plot moves at the right pace. I didn’t feel bored, even for once and the surprising twists had my heart churned. I certainly didn’t expect the story to go into the direction it eventually takes. But although it isn’t the conclusion that I initially desired before reading this book, I thought Ruin and Rising definitely ends in a seamlessly fitting way.

[Review] A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

A Midsummer’s Nightmare
Author: Kody Keplinger
Publication: June 5th, 2012 by Poppy
Page count: 291 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Contemporary 
Goodreads

Whitley Johnson’s dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She’s just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée’s son? Whitley’s one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin’ great.

Worse, she totally doesn’t fit in with her dad’s perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn’t even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she’s ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn’t “do” friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn’t her stepbrother…at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger’s most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about.

It seems like I’m craving for a good contemporary these days, and The Midsummer’s Nightmare is no exception. This book even exceeded my expectation with its sarcastic main character and adequately-paced development.

How the characters are written plays a major role for my enjoyment and I think it was perfectly executed in A Midsummer’s Nightmare. The first page immediately grabbed my attention and it didn’t take long before I found myself fully invested with the story. Whitley’s voice felt raw and real and I was really enjoying her perspective. Having to go through her parents’ divorce at a young age, sure she was such a pessimistic girl in the beginning, but the way Keplinger wrote her character made me able to resonate well with her.

And the thing that had me swooning – the romance. I mean, GAHHH THE CHEMISTRY. THE INTERACTIONS. THE WITTY BANTERS. Love interest that isn’t a complete jerk, nerdy and athletic at the same time. It has everything I ask for a romance. I giggled every time these two appeared on the same page. I grinned as I read their relationship bloomed into something more than they had expected it to be. Such a refreshing read from my tiring school life.

The side characters also felt three-dimensional and the interactions with them also seemed natural. Her friendship with Harrison was note-worthy. I really liked how such a good friend Harrison was, helping her when she was in need. Bailey was like a ray of sunshine, the little angel Whitley couldn’t resist.

And of course, the thing touched my heart deeply – the family aspect. At the start of the story, Whitley’s family was dysfunctional enough. Her mother was always absent in her life and the only thing she looked forward to was the summer with her father. But the last summer before college was different and she was taken aback when she found out her father was getting married. I liked how Whitley’s perspective of her new family changed as time went on and she found herself accepting that they were her new home. Her journey of discovering a new family and realizing something about her other one was definitely the highlight of this book. I think the ending concluded the story well. Misunderstandings were cleared and the confrontation between Whitley and her father made me tear up a bit.

Anyway, I had zero complaints about this book. From beginning till the end, A Midsummer’s Nightmare was purely satisfying. It’s never too late for a summer-y book and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for meaningful contemporary with sassy protagonist and an emphasis on family relationship.

[Mini Reviews] The House of Hades & Allegiant

I have been putting off writing reviews for these books because 1)I didn’t have time 2)I was too lazy 3)I was pretty much speechless and I had no idea how to write more coherent reviews. My feels were all over the place >_< Now that I’ve calmed down… here they are!

The House of Hades
(Heroes of Olympus #4)
by Rick Riordan
MG – Fantasy, Greek Mythology

House of Hades…boy you are definitely not a disappointment. This is, people, what I call a perfect balance between plot progression and character development. *HUGS BOOK*

Let me just go straight to the point. Compared to the previous installment, House of Hades has the most character development. It was, in fact, the book with the best character development I have ever read. I am not exaggerating but when you do read the book, you can’t help but to notice the changes that are happening to the characters.

Percy, the boy we have known as the loyal and kind type, seems to gain some darker sides. Piper has learned to kick some serious ass. Annabeth is showing some vulnerable sides and Jason is starting to discover himself – his identity. Hazel has a pretty important role in this one and Frank has matured SO MUCH! There are also Nico and Leo but I AIN’T TELLING ABOUT THEM ASDFGJKL:GFSDFGH AND >_< The main characters are all three-dimensional and each stands out in their own way. The spotlight isn’t focused to only certain character but everyone has the same chance to be the hero.

Additionally, there were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me relieved because the characters are okay, moments that made me terrified and worrying about the characters’ safety, moments that made me almost shed tears and obviously moments that made me swoon! SO. MANY. FEELS. I feel like I am not doing this book’s justice through this review but I just wanna say:

If you haven’t started this series…I URGE YOU TO DO SO <3

***
(Divergent #3)
by Veronica Roth
YA – Dystopia
A few days right after the release date, there were so many backlashes toward the book the average rating for Allegiant was actually around 2 stars and that made me so nervous and hesitant to read the book. And later I accidentally saw spoilers about the controversial ending and I was sure that it was the cause of the low rating. However, I am so glad that I decided to dive into this book with an open mind and you know what? I love the ending. I love the relationship between Four and Tris.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed at first. The beginning was okay but I was having a hard time getting into this book. But when I picked it up again, the monotonous writing didn’t bug me anymore and I just went with the flow. Sure, the revelation of the worldbuilding was confusing as hell but what I loved the most in Allegiant is how Tris’s character has matured so much since Insurgent.

The second half of the book was very thought-provoking and it gave me a lot of things to ponder on. Each chapter builds up into the painfully magnificent ending. It was truly the most powerful ending I have ever read and it shows just how much Tris has grown since the first book. I don’t think there’s a better conclusion other than THAT and I genuinely respect Veronica Roth, for being such a Dauntless since there aren’t many authors who are willing to go to that direction.

***SPOILER AHEAD***

Although the ending had been spoiled to me, it didn’t take away my enjoyment or reduce the pain at all. I really liked how Tris and Tobias eventually trust each other and oh my god when Tris says, “I didn’t want to leave him,” or something like that I was like ASDFGFDSDGFKD T_T  

And Tris’s last moment with Caleb was sooo touching my face my eyes they were like a freaking waterfall — it was totally impossible to hide the tears from my mom. And then post-Tris Tobias is trying to live without her and until the last page of the book I couldn’t stop crying literally *sniffles* 

I first cried when Uriah is announced unrecoverable. It was another pool of tears when they unplug him.

***END OF SPOILER***

Overall, Allegiant left me thinking a lot, about the meaning of sacrifice, forgiveness and moving on. I know this book has its own flaws but considering what an emotion explosion the last 100 pages was, it will definitely be very memorable for me.

***
Oh man, I just realized that my mini reviews are actually quite long .__. Blahh I am too lazy to write separate reviews so anyway, I hope you don’t mind! 😀