Jul 10, 2016

Book Review: Solitaire - Alice Oseman

Title: Solitaire
Author: Alice Oseman
Release Date: March 30th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
In case you're wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that's all over now.
Now there's Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don't know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don't care about Michael Holden.
I really don't.
Solitaire is one of those books that just reeks "ominous". Everything from the cover to the summary and even the other reviews that I've read made me expect the emotional rollercoaster that this book is, but something about it just didn't work.

The book starts off slow as we are introduced to the characters. Tori, our main character, is the kind of teenager that I never enjoy reading about in fiction: angsty and demotivated. She has a lot of nothingness in her that seeped through the pages of the book, and at the same time it is her voice that will keep readers glued in. But although she had my attention, I had a hard time relating to her or any of the other characters, and I believe that is the reason why I failed to finish reading this the first time I picked it up: it was so damn slow and, in some parts, pointless.
We're so used to disaster that we accept it. We think we deserve it.
The story picks up when Solitaire, a prankster blog, starts wreaking havoc in Tori's school. At first the pranks are harmless and Tori, being as depressed about life as she is, could not care less about it. But as the pranks progress and people are harmed, Tori gets the resolve to find out who's behind the blog and put a stop to it. This is the part where I started rolling my eyes every few pages or so because it made no sense at all. I'm going to keep it at that before I spoil it for any of you guys.
It's so easy to assume you know everything about a person.
Although I have my reservations, Solitaire is one book that I will recommend to those looking for a read similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I would suggest picking it up with lowered expectations because I have never been this irritated by a happy ending.


Mar 6, 2016

Book Review: Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.
Without Wren, Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.
Fangirl was in my TBR list for a long time. It sounded like the story of my life, mainly because I've been referring to myself as a fangirl since I was thirteen, and it didn't hurt that it was written by Rainbow Rowell AKA the genius behind Eleanor & Park. Now that I've read this, I can say that I loved it... but it's not my favorite Rowell book.

The story introduces us to Cath, a girl who prefers staying in with her family and her fanfics because of her social anxiety, as she enters college without her dad and her twin sister Wren by her side. Wren has decided that college is the perfect time to meet new people and step away from Cath, so while she's busy getting shit-faced every weekend with her roommate - who is not her sister - Cath shuts out the world and keeps to her safe zone, full of Simon Snow fanfiction and solace.
Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I'm a complete disaster.
A hundred pages in, I realized that this was going to be a long read, but a lovely one, like listening to a friend vent about her life for hours. Cath feels lost and alone in college, and at one point she even thinks of quitting and going home to attend community college, but soon her hard-edged roommate takes pity on her and said roommate's kind-of boyfriend befriends her, pestering her to unknowingly open herself up. 

Aside from her social (and romantic) growth, we also watch Cath grow as a writer. She learns that writing is not all fun and easy as with her fanfics, but that there are times when she will face a wall and have to write her way through it. She even learns, unfortunately, that not everyone who tries to get close to her truly wants to be friends with her.
Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.
A hearty novel chock full of sisterhood and friendship and going out of your comfort zone, Fangirl will keep you entertained for hours. It made me wish I could write like Cath does when she's in the zone, focused and unable to distract for hours on end. The romance between Cath and Levi made me squeal and giggle stupidly, and the Simon Snow snippets between every chapter make me need to buy a copy of Carry On some time soon.


Feb 24, 2016

Unread Books in My Shelf {2}

In my feeble attempts to limit my book-buying, I thought it would be best if I actually knew what books are gathering dust in my shelf. This series of posts shall feature seven books each - now on to the first.

- The Lost Prince and The Iron Traitor were both impulse buys right after I'd read the original series. I should really get to these while I still remember what happened in the fourth book.

- I got Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, and Last Sacrifice for cheap from my good friend Nina @ The Bookish Confections around the time I watched the Vampire Academy movie and wanted to continue on with the series. Better get the fourth and fifth books while they're still available (I need them to match these, no matter how much I prefer the new covers. Sigh.)

- Madeleine Roux visited the Philippines back in 2014 for a book signing, and that's when I got Asylum. That was two years ago, god. I should make this one of my reads for November AKA Halloween season.

- And finally we have The Scorpio Races. I was so happy when the paperback came out with this beautiful cover because I can't even bear to look at the original cover. Eeek. However, I'm disappointed with this copy because it's one of those poor paperbacks, the ones that weren't bound so well and is kinda hard to open and read. Guess I have an excuse to buy the UK paperback lol.

Aaaand that's it for the second edition of Unread Books! Have you read any of these books? (I'm sure you have ;D) Tell me what you thought of them down below!

Feb 19, 2016

Mini-Reviews {5}

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel
Author: Ransom Riggs
Release Date: October 29th 2013
Publisher: Yen Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
When Jacob Portman was a boy, his grandfather regaled him with stories of his fantastic life at Miss Peregrine's home during the Second World War, even sharing photos of the remarkable children with whom he resided. As Jacob grew up, though, he decided that these photos were obvious fakes, simple forgeries designed to stir his youthful imagination. Or were they...?
Following his grandfather's death - a scene Jacob literally couldn't believe with his own eyes - the sixteen-year-old boy embarks on a mission to disentangle fact from fiction in his grandfather's tall tales. But even his grandfather's elaborate yarns couldn't prepare Jacob for the eccentricities he will discover at Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children!
Graphic novels are even worse than hardcovers: they're beautiful and I want to pet them and read them but they're so damn expensive! That's the reason why this one's the only graphic novel I currently own. I was actually talking myself out of buying it but I just had to get one signed by Ransom Riggs when he visited my country years back. (Because yes, I read this back in *looks at Goodreads* 2014?! o.o)

Anyway, as this is the only graphic novel I own, this is also the only one I've read. I knew it would be a quick read but I didn't anticipate that I could read it in less than an hour. Wow. I seriously felt like I threw my money away but who cares because books are worth it! Also, the illustrations are really beautiful, just what I expected from Cassandra Jean whom I've been following on Tumblr for a long time now. 

What I appreciated most about this graphic novel is how I could revisit the first novel in half the time, especially since Miss Peregrine's felt too dragged out for me. I remember reading this before Hollow City, and now I can't wait to get my hands on the graphic novel for that second book so I can read it before I pick up Library of Souls!


Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Release Date: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life. 
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures. 
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
I'd probably get hate for what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it anyway: I am in the opinion that this book is overhyped. I read this less than a year ago but I can't even remember much of what happens in the book, only that it reminded me so much of a John Green novel, particularly Looking for Alaska (which is my favorite JG novel, by the way). Even Cassidy Thorpe's first appearance was so much like Alaska Young's, the cool, smart, hipster dream girl with a long list of secrets.

According to my notes, though, I did like how Ezra coped with the accident. He was hopeless, often dreary, but he kept it to himself instead of running around moping and screaming how unfair life is. Ezra and Cassidy's love story is also very similar to 500 Days of Summer, with Ezra thinking of Cassidy as his savior and heroine and her being somewhat strangled because of his expectations.

Just because I think this book is overhyped doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, because I did. In fact, I plan to read it again, give it another chance. I had a worse tragedy in mind for the ending but when everything was revealed, it all clicked into place. It's not what most people would ask for, but I believe it did the characters justice, and for me that's what's most important.

MY FAVORITE PART was the overnight debate tournament. Now that is how nerds have fun.


Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Release Date: September 21st 2006
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. 
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. 
Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
At first I was only interested in reading this book because I loved Looking for Alaska, but then the cover got a redesign and I just had to own it in hardcover and naturally, I had to read it. I remember feeling up to something quirky when I picked this up, and boy, quirky was exactly what I got. 

Math is my biggest enemy. Like, I obviously love English (I love reading, duh), and Science is not so bad, but Math? Integral Calculus is what got me kicked out of two engineering programs, and although I totally - and finally - kicked the crap out of it last year, I still hate it. So to read a book that was filled with Math? My mind ran around in circles a few times while reading this.

Still, I really enjoyed it because it has John Green's signature wit, humor, and sarcasm that I will always love. No matter how inane their problems may be, his characters are always a redeeming factor in his books, and they sure are hilarious. This book made me want to go on a road trip, and I'm really looking forward to reading Paper Towns soon!


Feb 14, 2016

Unread Books in My Shelf {1}

In my feeble attempts to limit my book-buying, I thought it would be best if I actually knew what books are gathering dust in my shelf. This series of posts shall feature seven books each - now on to the first.