Monday, December 29, 2014

The Rose Master by Valentina Cano

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Title: The Rose Master
Author: Valentina Cano
Release Date: June 2014
Publisher: REUTS Publications, LLC
Source: Netgalley
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Purchase Link: Book Depository


The day Anne Tinning turns seventeen, birds fall from the sky. But that's hardly the most upsetting news. She's being dismissed from the home she's served at since she was a child, and shipped off to become the newly hired parlor maid for a place she's never heard of. And when she sees the run-down, isolated house, she instantly knows why:

There's something wrong with Rosewood Manor.

Staffed with only three other servants, all gripped by icy silence and inexplicable bruises, and inhabited by a young master who is as cold as the place itself, the house is shrouded in neglect and thick with fear. Her questions are met with hushed whispers, and she soon finds herself alone in the empty halls, left to tidy and clean rooms no one visits.

As the feeling of being watched grows, she begins to realize there is something else in the house with them--some creature that stalks the frozen halls and claws at her door. A creature that seems intent on harming her.

When a fire leaves Anne trapped in the manor with its Master, she finally demands to know why. But as she forces the truth about what haunts the grounds from Lord Grey, she learns secrets she isn't prepared for. The creature is very real, and she's the only one who can help him stop it. 

Now, Anne must either risk her life for the young man she's grown to admire, or abandon her post while she still can.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The day I turned seventeen, birds fell from the sky.
Anne Tinning is a servant just like all her ancestors before her. She was sent away by her employer, Lady Caldwell, to serve at Rosewood Manor. Upon her arrival at Rosewood Manor, she realized that the staff is keeping secrets of the manor away from her and that there is a creature lurking around the manor that wants to hurt her.

Where is Lord Grey, the master of Rosewood Manor? 
What does the creature want? 
Is there something different about Anne?

Those are some of the questions that kept running through my mind as I read. I am hooked on the story from the beginning. I find the plot really interesting. There's mystery, fantasy and even a smidgen of romance. 

As for the characters, I have to say that my favourite character is probably Elsie. She's such a good friend to Anne. Even though she only makes an appearance before Anne was sent away to Rosewood Manor, I find myself growing fond of her. 

The romance took a back seat in this story. Being a fan of the romance genre, I was a little disappointed (just a little) that I don't get to see more of that element in the story. Regardless of that, I really enjoyed this story.

**Copy is provided by the publisher via Netgalley**

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

Image via Goodreads

Title: Our endless numbered days
Author: Claire Fuller

Release Date: March 17th, 2015
Publisher: Tin House Books
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Purchase Link: Book Depository


Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons.

When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly begins to unravel the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost.

After Peggy's return to civilization, her mother learns the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Our endless numbered days is told from the point of view of Peggy, who was taken away by her father to live in the forest at the tender age of eight. It is only nine years later when Peggy found her way back to civilization. 

After reading the book blurb, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this story. Even as I started reading it, I still find it hard to predict where this story will lead me. It was at times frustrating for me as I don't really have the patience and would like to know just what I'm getting myself into. Anyway, the unpredictability of the story kept me guessing and reading to find out what happened to Peggy and her father in the forest.

If I could sum up my feels after finishing this book, it would be this: mind blown. The story ended with a MAJOR plot twist which I did not see coming, at all! In fact, I needed a minute or two to recollect my thoughts and wrap my mind around this revelation. I was a little disappointed that the story ended right there, without any further elaboration of how this revelation is going to affect Peggy's life.

Our endless numbered days is not the kind of book that I usually go for but it was nonetheless, a good book with really vivid description of the setting. I think that fans of realistic fiction might enjoy this one though. 

**eARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss**

Monday, December 15, 2014

I attended a college event yesterday at the Grand Magherita Hotel. The event was held by the poolside and started at around 7p.m. And when did I reach there?

3.30p.m. Yep, I was way too early. My friends had asked me to be there early so I could help them out with some guest registration stuff.

After doing absolutely nothing (unless you count walking to the mall across the street to buy some snacks for all of us present as something productive), I got tired of sitting around and had decided to take a stroll by the riverside which is just a few steps away from the venue.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Social Anxiety

It was 1 p.m. and the lecture would start in about 30 minutes. After giving a few of my coursemates what I hoped was a smile (I've been told that when I pull a hesitant smile, I still look like I'm frowning), I settled in my seat and pulled out Jane Eyre from my backpack and continued where I'd left off the other day. I do need to stop picking up other books and just finish this one. I mean, it's been a few weeks since I've started reading Jane Eyre and I still have yet to finish it! 

A few pages into the book and just when I started to wonder if Mr. Rochester will make it on my list of crush-worthy fictional characters (FYI, I'm only 40 pages in and haven't met Mr. Rochester yet. I only heard stuff about him from friends who have read the book...), a friend poked her head into the classroom and called my name. She asked me to follow her to the lounge area just outside the room.

So, there I went and chose a seat facing her and the rest of her friends, most of whom are strangers to me. They talked about the prom night event our college is hosting and asked me what I planned to wear to that event. After answering that question and apparently they only wanted to know about my choice of outfit, I just sat there and ... well, listened in on their conversation, silently.

And here's where my social anxiety comes in: I don't know them well enough and I'm a naturally awkward person and add my social anxiety to the combination, you'll get frozen Grace. Grace sitting there with tense shoulders and a fake smile (but most times, a genuine frown) plastered on her face. I don't know when is the right time for me to contribute my thoughts to the conversation. I mean, what if they just don't... care about what I have to say or worse, they don't get any lame jokes I make and then insist that I explain what I mean.

There have been numerous times when I tried to make a joke in group conversations and ended up spending a minute or two trying to explain the joke to all of my friends. It was exceedingly awkward and explaining a joke just immediately makes the joke unfunny (even when they FINALLY get it).

I find that whenever I have to talk to more than one person at a time, I just get nervous and would withdraw myself from them. I don't do well with crowds unless it is for a group discussion in class. I very much prefer to have one-on-one chats. That way, we could have deep conversations and I'd be able to just focus on one person instead of making sure that the other members don't get left out (but of course, I'm the one who would silently withdraw myself from the conversation and stay mum throughout the entire chat). 

I've always thought that the fact that I tend to keep to myself especially when I'm in a crowd is due to me being an introvert. But then, it could also be social anxiety on my behalf. I'm not sure if it's just me but I get nervous about making telephone calls. 

I remember that when I was still in primary school and am allowed to use the landline to call my friends, I would jot down some 'issues' that I'd like to talk about with my friend over the phone in case I miss out anything during our chat. I would then cross each item off the list as we talked through each issue. Before making any calls, my heart would start beating faster and at times when I'm more nervous than usual, my palms would start to get sweaty... That was then and now, even though I don't jot down anything I wanna say before making a call, I still get nervous about calling anyone . Well, anyone other than  my parents and sister, I suppose. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

What if

So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound
Don't care about all the pain in front of me
Cause I'm just trying to be happy, 
Just wanna be happy
   - Leona Lewis, Happy            

I had this Leona Lewis song on repeat last night. Anyone who passed by my room had most probably heard me singing, albeit terribly off key, my heart out. 

I suppose if you look into the lyrics closely, this song could be interpreted in different ways. It could be about love and passion or even about chasing your dreams. When this song was released, I was in my early teens. The issues I'm dealing with in my life then include trying to get over my low self-esteem, not letting peer pressure rule my life and of course, trying to catch the attention of my crush; but, that's beside my point. What I'm trying to say is that, isn't it intriguing that depending on which phase you're going through in your life, you tend to see things differently.

14-year-old me just wants a smile or a glance from my former crush and she just wants to fit in instead of feeling like an outsider. Now that I think about it, he isn't even worth my time. Also, I don't think about trying to fit in anymore; I just want to be me.

And now, all I want to do is to keep chasing my dreams. I know that it's not gonna be easy but I want to at least give it a shot and not have any regrets about it.

When I think back to some decisions I've made and some actions I took in the past, I'm always plagued by the question - 'what if?'.

What if I didn't give up?

What if I'd tried harder?

What if I'd listened?

What if I took this other option?

What if...

I have tons more What If questions and some regrets over my past actions and decisions. It's kinda sad that I only realised that a few days ago but I guess it's better late than never.

So, I decided to write this post as a reminder to myself to just go for my dreams and not to give up even if everything appears to be bleak. I am now determined to reduce the future What if questions I'd have in my life. Even if I'm in a situation that is not ideal, I want to at least try to make the best of it 'cause who knows, being placed in such a situation might be an important chapter in my life for me to grow and mature into an adult. Easier said than done, I know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Romancing The Duke by Tessa Dare

Image via Goodreads
Title: Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1)
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Avon
Source: Borrowed
Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Purchase Link: Book Depository


In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been exploring different genres for the past few months. I gotta say, after enjoying most of the historical romance novels that I'd picked up, I am now officially a fan of this genre. Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is by far my favourite, followed by An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn.

I enjoyed Romancing the Duke tremendously. It was hilarious, steamy and just plain awesome!

The main character- Isolde "Izzy" Ophelia Goodnight is the daughter of a famed author whose series of children's stories starred Izzy as one of its character. It was because of the stories that Izzy was loved by all the readers and she even had her very own fan club. However, the world still treated Izzy as a child instead of a 26-year-old spinster. When her father died, Izzy was broke and homeless as her father had left her with nothing in his will. When she learns that her godfather had bequeathed her a castle, she used all the shillings left on her to get to Gostley Castle. She arrived at the castle and met Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury, A.K.A the owner of Gostley Castle who insisted that the castle was still in his ownership as he would never sell it. He was certain that the castle might have been sold due to a misunderstanding. Both Izzy and Ransom agreed to share the property (live under the same roof) until the matter is resolved. 

I have no complaints about this book. I might be biased though since Ransom reminds me of Jericho Barrons and you know how I'm crushing hard on Barrons.

I love how the Izzy Goodnight Fan Club was woven into the story, creating more funny moments. I love Ransom and Izzy. I love how much depth there is to both of our main characters. I love the setting of the story. I mean, a bat-infested castle for a story setting, what's not to love?

There are lots of steamy scenes between Izzy and Ransom. I'm glad that I read this book in the comforts of my home, where no one could see me blushing and fanning myself with my hand. So, yeah... like I said, steamy. I had fun reading it though.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jericho Barrons

Lately, I've been crushing hard on yet another fictional character but it's different this time around. You see, I usually infatuate over a character for a couple of days at the most after finishing the book. This time, I'd finished reading the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning for more than a week now and yet, I still feel a strong urge to fangirl over Jericho Barrons. 

Most of my friends hadn't even heard of the series and the only friend who has read the first few books in the series doesn't seem to want to discuss about Barrons. I, however, still attempted to introduce them to Barrons through my fangirling... It didn't go so well since they were kinda freaked out when I started blushing just talking about a freaking book character. Anyway, I've never thought that I would ever dedicate a blog post to a fictional character. Needless to say, Jericho Barrons is currently placed first on my list of book boyfriends. I guess Evan Walker from The Fifth Wave, Jackson Castello from Gravity and Four from Divergent just have to make some room in the number two spot. 

If you've never heard of the Fever series before, you should definitely check it out. It's an adult paranormal fiction so just know that there are a lot more steamy scenes than in YA fiction. The story is set in Dublin, Ireland. There's mystery, suspense, romance and of course, there's Jericho Barrons. It has a very interesting premise involving fae and sidhe-seers. The main character, Mac, has just discovered that she is a sidhe-seer herself. She could see through the glamour and could also sense the Sinsar Dubh, which is actually a book created by the Unseelie King but was lost in the human world. Most of everyone- fae and human alike- wants to get their hands on the book and Mac is the only person who could lead them to it. 

I shall now talk about the star of this post- Jericho Barrons. I'll keep the spoilers down to a minimum just in case you haven't read the series yet.

Okay, let's begin! Barrons and I go way back. I actually only started liking him in Dreamfever (book 4). In fact, I kinda hated him in Darkfever (that's book 1). He was so condescending to Mac and had actually bruised and threatened Mac. I didn't expect myself to fall for him and wasn't too fond of him being a potential love interest of Mac then.

Jericho Barrons, like this book series itself, somehow just grew on me. He's an alpha male and is pretty much...beastly but still, he cares about Mac and protects her in his own ways. He's mysterious and secretive and dangerous. He's probably the kind of man that a girl wouldn't want to fall for in real life. Oh, have I mentioned that he's totally hot? 

What he did in Dreamfever to bring Mac back from her Pri-ya state of mind was um... somewhat disturbing but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading about it. I'm a horrible person, I know. It was only then that I start to find out more about who Barrons is and that he actually cares for Mac.

What happened in the end of Dreamfever was a plot twist I did not see coming! That was quite a cliffhanger and I couldn't get my hands on Shadowfever fast enough to find out what happened to Barrons. He had officially won me over in Shadowfever and now I can't help but compare every guy I meet to Barrons.

I loved the relationship between Barrons and Mac. And I loved this series. And I should probably stop now before I blurt out any more embarrassing thoughts I had about Barrons.

“He pulls me around and kisses me. "You're Mac," he says. "And I'm Jericho. And nothing else matters. Never will. You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me. Do you understand that?"
I do.
Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me.” 
― Karen Marie MoningShadowfever

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

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Title: Bittersweet
Author: Sarah Ockler
Release Date: December 4th, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, contemporary romance
Purchase link: Book Depository


From the author of Twenty Boy Summer, a teen pushes the limits to follow her dreams—and learns there’s a fine line between bitter and sweet....

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances, a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.
     So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life—and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.
     It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last....

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book took me down memory lane- back to the days I spent watching Disney's Go Figure and was crushing hard on Jake Abel (the lead male actor in the movie). I was totally fascinated with the sport and the music and Jake.

I've never read any books in which its main character figure skates before. I guess that's probably the only reason why I thought of Go Figure during my read. Well, that and how hockey played into the story.

Hudson Avery walked out of the world of figure skating years ago but remained passionate about the sport. When an opportunity presents itself, giving her a second chance to get back into the game, she felt that that could be her golden ticket out of her town and to get back what she had lost. However, she would need to decide between baking cupcakes at her mother's diner or skating professionally.

It's a story about family, friendship, love and how a girl finds her passion and discovers what she wants in life. I enjoyed every minute of my read. It was a fun ride.

Can I just say that I LOVED Sarah Ockler's writing. Throughout my read, I felt as if Hudson is speaking directly to me, like a friend would over some cupcakes and tea. Just that she's the one with all the cupcakes she'd baked and I... well, I didn't have any cupcakes with me while reading Bittersweet. So, I had to settle for some waffles which isn't even close to the cupcakes described in the book.

I smiled. I laughed. I got mad.... at Hudson's parents, who sucks at being parents and Hudson had to take up the responsibility of caring for her little brother most of the time. Where's her Mom? She's working at the diner. What about her Dad? He's off somewhere spending time with his latest lover- Shelvis, female impersonator of Elvis Presley.

Anyway, let's talk a little about Josh. I loved the relationship between Josh and Hudson. If I have any complaint about the book, it would be not getting enough of Josh and Hudson in the last third of the book. But still, I really do enjoy the ending. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guardian of The Books

I don't know if any one of you have ever felt tempted to talk to a stranger you meet at a bookstore. Especially when a book that you've enjoyed reading is sitting on the shelf under the stranger's nose and yet they didn't even notice it!

Well, I have. I'd like to see myself as a book... angel? Okay, 'angel' is so not me. I'm like a book guardian. The guardian of the books, making sure that books that I like are not ignored by strangers in a bookshop. I like the sound of that. Anyway, I digress.

Unfortunately, this book guardian here doesn't seem to be doing her job well. For starters, it usually took me ages to rid all nagging thoughts that I might come across as an annoying creep or that he/she might not like the book I'm about to recommend to them.  By the time I finally decide to walk up to the stranger, he/she would've walked off to the next book aisle.

The one time I do get to recommend a book and spend a couple of minutes trying to convince that stranger to read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, I made a mistake of comparing Eleanor & Park to Fangirl, which I loved more... I guess the stranger wasn't impressed by my persuasion skills since she pretty much put the book back on the shelf and moved few steps away from me. When I saw her at another book aisle, she quickly moved away. I was quite bothered. I mean, are you trying to avoid me lest I recommend you another book??? I'm sorry, Rainbow Rowell. I tried.

Last Sunday, during another trip to a local bookstore, a little boy approached me, holding a book brochure in his hands, and asked if a certain book- a children's book on Batman, is available. I can't even begin to describe how pleasantly surprised I was. There's a small part of me that has always hoped that somebody would ask for my help in a bookstore or even recommend me a book. And so, there I was, the guardian of the books, with a sole purpose in her mind: I need to find this boy his book. I asked around the staff and finally found his book.

He gave it a look and remarked that it's just filled with stickers. SO, it turns out that the book is just a sticker book, I think. When he decided against buying it, I returned his brochure and left the scene towards the YA book aisle. Awkward!

It was only when I returned to the YA book aisle that I realised I was wearing red- the colour of the staff's uniform. The little boy might have mistook me for a staff member instead of a young adult who looks like she knows a thing or two about Batman, which by the way, I don't....  Oh well, I suppose this guardian of the books needs to take a short break from all the action for a while.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

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Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: May 11th, 2004
Publisher: Speak
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Purchase Link: Book Depository


Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamland tells the story of 16-year-old Caitlin who was trying to move  on with her life after her older sister, Cass, ran away from home. She was determined not to follow Cass' footsteps while trying to fill the void Cass left in her life. Caitlin then met Rogerson and found herself in an abusive relationship that she couldn't leave behind.

Dreamland is the first Sarah Dessen novel that I've read. To tell the truth, after reading the blurb, I probably would never have picked this up. I usually avoid reading anything with a heavy subject lest I get really upset. I mean it took me about a week or so to finally accept the ending to My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Since a friend of mine highly recommended this book to me on several occasions, I decided to give it a try. I actually enjoyed it and didn't get too upset over it.

Halfway into the book, I'm already loving Dessen's writing style. The plot develops at the right pace and before I even realised it, I'm totally caught up in the story.

Now, let's discuss some details, namely, Rogerson. He was so nice to Caitlin in the beginning. He was a drug dealer and took Caitlin around while he did his illegal business. Even so, he had always treated her respectfully. That is, until he beat her. As Caitlin narrated what happened and how she felt later, I thought of myself being in her shoes and I could understand why she felt that way. Without realising it, she'd slowly let this whole ordeal swallow her up and felt that it was too late to ask for help. 

I am satisfied with the ending. It wasn't rushed and I get to find out how Caitlin was coping. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Bought
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Fairy tale retelling
Purchase link: Book Depository


Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was raised to marry a monster.

Nyx was due to be married to the Gentle Lord, evil ruler of the kingdom of Arcadia and king of demons, upon reaching the age of seventeen. Her father had made a bargain with the Gentle Lord so that his wife would be able to conceive children. In return, Nyx's father promised to have one of his twin daughters married to the Gentle Lord. As her father favoured her twin sister, Astraia more, he had chosen Nyx to be the sacrifice. Since the age of 9, Nyx had been told of her fate and was trained to kill her future husband. 

Cruel Beauty is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. At some point of the story, I could see traces of other fairy tales blended into the plot. Take Rumpelstiltskin for example- the Gentle Lord informed Nyx on the first day of their marriage to call him Ignifex but would ask that she guess his real name every night. Guess it right and she would be set free from the castle, guess it wrong and she would die.

Nyx is such a real character. She's angry at her father for not loving her enough, angry and jealous of Astraia for being the favourite child and not having to go through what Nyx was fated to. Nyx is human and flawed and I like that in a character. 

Oh, Ignifex, how I fell for you! There's a love triangle going on in the story for a while. In the beginning, I was definitely rooting for Shade, the shadow but found myself falling for Ignifex as the story progresses. He leaves Nyx in peace and doesn't force her into doing anything that she's uncomfortable with. Well, there is that one time when he locked her in a room where he kept all his eight dead wives in... But, really, he's a nice guy. He loves Nyx and has accepted her for who she is as a person. 

Towards the end of the story, there's this one scene which I nearly cried reading. Nyx and Ignifex held on to each other as swarms of demons encircled and attacked them. They didn't let each other go and they know that as long as they're together, they will be fine. That is sad and beautiful at the same time.

I'm a sucker for romance and this is a well-written love story. I absolutely enjoyed it! Cruel Beauty has officially secured a spot on my favourites shelf on Goodreads. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My first solo road trip!

After morning lecture today, I decided to take an impromptu road trip uptown. This solo road trip started out great! The radio station was playing my kind of music, the view of mountains in front of me is breathtaking and I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Took this pic while waiting for the traffic light.

Of course, the picture I took above didn't really do the mountains justice. The roads that I took were long and narrow with only a  few traffic lamps in the way. There were several times during my drive when I'm tempted to just stop my car in the middle of the road to take pictures of the mountains but knew I couldn't. It was at that moment that I had an epiphany that life doesn't stop for anyone. I just need to keep moving forward even if I'm clueless about what lies ahead for me. 

My first stop: KPG. Telaga Air.
I honestly have no idea how I reached this place but I made it here anyway! I do, however, have a vague memory of visiting this place once with my family. 

My next stop: Kubah National Park
I made a very brief stop at Kubah National Park which isn't far from my first destination. I really wanted to explore the jungle trails there but my ballet flats isn't exactly suitable for this kind of activity. Also, I don't dare go jungle trekking by myself. Oh well, there's always next time.

I then decided to drive to the beach, thinking that it would be the perfect destination to mark the end of my solo road trip. What I didn't expect was for me to get lost along the way... I pretty much had no idea how to get there. Anyway, I made some changes to my plan and drove downtown to a mall (heading back to modern civilisation) and bought myself ice-cream to celebrate this occasion before making my way home.

Driving for hours even with the company of good music is still very tiring. I am physically exhausted but I don't regret taking this road trip in whatsoever way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

Image via Goodreads
Title: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father
Author: Jessica Brody

Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA
Purchase Link: Book Depository


Being America's favorite heiress is a dirty job…but someone's gotta do it.

Lexington Larrabee has never had to work a day in her life. After all, she's the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to workBut then again, they're not supposed to crash brand-new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Boulevard either.

Which is why, on Lexi's eighteenth birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there's anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it's dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In Jessica Brody's hilarious "comedy of heiress" about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have fifty-two reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

52 Reasons to Hate My Father was a fun read. But did it blow my mind away? No. I just felt that it could've been better.

Have you ever watched book trailers before? Well, lemme just say that the reason I picked up this book is because I thoroughly enjoyed watching its book trailer. I felt as if I'm watching a movie trailer instead of a book trailer. If you don't mind some spoilers, you can go check out that book trailer here.

Since I knew who Lexi's love interest was before I even started reading the book, thanks to the book trailer, (and I'm gonna spoiler you now) I was expecting Lexi and Luke to slowly form a special chemistry from the very beginning. I'm kinda disappointed actually. In my opinion, they don't really have any chemistry at all. Their first kiss left a lot to be desired since Lexi only kissed him because she was, what- drunk or just trying to distract herself from her ex-bf?

I found myself hoping that Lexi would develop feelings for Rolando- her colleague from one of the 52 jobs she had to take up over the course of a year. I like Rolando's character more than Luke's. Of course, that did not happen.

Lexi's relationship with her dad was strained. He was always working and was never home. Her dad frustrates me at times. I mean, c'mon dude! Can't you even talk to your daughter yourself instead of having someone else deliver your message for you?? Having said that, I don't buy the excuse for his behaviour- that he isolated himself from his family because of his wife's death? I just felt that he could've tried harder to be there for his kids. 

Also, I felt that Lexi's relationship with her brothers and her best friends could have been explored further.

Anyway, I still enjoy the story which was at times funny. My favourite part of it all would be reading about what happened in her jobs.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Image via Goodreads
Title: Attachments 
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: February 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Orion            
Source: Bought
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Purchase Link: Book Depository


It's 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious details, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it's too late to introduce himself.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart... and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Attachments is not my favourite Rainbow Rowell novel but it was still an enjoyable read. Compared to Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, this book didn't do much for me. I mean, sure the premise of the story is really interesting. However, I got kinda bored with the slow progress of the plot development. 

I don't know if it's just me, but when I first started this book, I'd pictured Lincoln as this geeky  guy with a small frame. When Beth wrote in her email to Jennifer that Lincoln is actually this big, muscular guy, Lincoln suddenly turned into Kellan Lutz in my mind. 

[Spoilers Ahead]

I kept waiting for Lincoln to finally meet Beth and actually strike up a conversation with her. That only happened towards the VERY end of the book. Anyway, true to Rainbow Rowell's style, Attachments oozes sweetness. However, there aren't many aww-worthy moments for me. 

I find Lincoln a somewhat relatable character (not as relatable as I find Cath from Fangirl)- throughout the story, he's figuring out who he is and what he actually wants in life. When he actually started making changes in his life, I find myself cheering for him as I do want to see him succeed and be happy. 

The story ended a little abruptly for me. In fact, I actually thought my copy of Attachments was missing a couple pages. I need more pages, more evidence to convince me that Beth is in love with Lincoln.