Monday, September 29, 2014

My Driving (mis)Adventure

After getting my driver's license for a year, I finally have the guts to actually go behind the wheels. In fact, I've been driving, solo, to my college for nearly 2 weeks now. 

Who knew that driving to college could be such a stressful thing? On the second day that I drove to my college, I felt so proud of myself that I couldn't stop grinning as I went and took my seat next to my friend, Connie. Just as I was taking my books out of my bag, I heard a car alarm went off somewhere. I froze in my seat. I started saying a silent prayer that that was not my car alarm going off. It was the longest minute ever until it finally stopped and I heaved a sigh of relief. 

Connie then turned to face me and asked if I remembered to lock my car. At that time, one thought came to mind- Oh crap! I think I might have forgotten about that (Okay, that's not exactly what I thought. Some swear words are what came to mind). I grabbed my car keys and fled downstairs towards the parking lot and locked it up. Like I said, STRESSFUL!

On the days that I drive, it is usually sunny. Thus, I never needed to turn on my windshield wipers until last week... It was raining when class ended. I ended up sitting in my car and spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out how to operate the windshield wipers. Before driving solo, I always have a parent sitting beside me. And when it does rain, they'll automatically help me turn on the wipers. So, I didn't bother checking the wipers out before that event. I know that isn't really responsible of me, but hey, you live and learn, right?

When I drive, I like to have music playing in the background. Music soothes me and helps me get over the jitters of driving in some ways. Well, today, I got Demi Lovato's fourth album playing in the car's CD player. When the album ended, I tried to remove the CD to put on a different one. And guess what? My Demi Lovato album got stuck in the CD player. I kept pressing the eject button but it won't budge! 

When I got home, I was really pissed at the CD player. When your CD player swallowed your Demi Lovato album and won't let it out, I took the only rational step I could think of at that moment- dismantle the CD player from my car and try to use my hairpin to pry the disc out of the disc pocket. It took me few tries but I succeeded. The victory was short-lived as I realised that I had to figure out how to put my CD player back into its place. I tried shoving it into its place but it didn't work in my first few tries. I was starting to break out in cold sweat when finally, FINALLY it got into its slot in the car AND..... it actually still works fine. Phew!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier

Image via Goodreads

First of all, let us all take a moment to admire the GORGEOUS book covers of this trilogy! I actually got all three books on my iPad since I couldn't find any hardcover copies in my local book stores. The paperback copies have different book covers that aren't exactly pretty. Anyway, I'm still searching though. I need to have them on my bookshelf!

The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier is probably my favourite trilogy (so far) that I've read this year. I had heaps of fun and really enjoyed the story. Ever since I've finished reading this trilogy, I have recommended it to some of my Goodreads friends and anyone else who would listen to me talk about my love for this series.

In Ruby Red, we get to see how Gwyneth discovered that instead of her cousin Charlotte, she is the one to get her family's time travel genes. Yes, it's about time travel. And yes, it was actually fun to read. If you have not read this book yet, that's all I'm gonna say. Just know that I love all the books in this trilogy and I don't wish to spoiler you lest I ruin your reading pleasure. There are unexpected plot twists which just made my reading experience all the more enjoyable. I would keep making theories throughout my read. And when I found out about how exactly an event took place, I was blown away as I did not predict that that was how it happened.

Okay, one of the things that I love about this trilogy is that some of the events occurring in all 3 books are interrelated. There was no lull and the plot develops at the right pace.

I love the characters in this trilogy. Each and every character plays a part, no matter how small, to make the story more interesting. Gwyneth is such a fun character to read about and I could totally imagine her as a real life person. Gideon, on the other hand, was a little frustrating to read about in Sapphire Blue despite him being crush-worthy. At that time, I was left wondering what had happened to him and what caused him to have a change of heart towards Gwen. That was explained in Emerald Green and now Gideon's back on my ever-growing list of book boyfriends. Also, I really like the fact that Leslie-Gwen's best friend, still plays a part in her life. Usually, in other YA books, the BFF would be ignored and the love interest would be made the focal point of the main character's life. I really appreciate that this was not the case with the Ruby Red trilogy.

When I first started reading Emerald Green, I had no idea how Kerstin Gier would end this trilogy. Thus, the ending was really unexpected for me but it was still fun at the same time. All in all, I really enjoyed the entire trilogy. I think this is actually the first time that I gave all three books in a trilogy a 5 star rating. My only complaint about this trilogy would be the fact that it's too short! I really enjoyed it and was not ready for it to end just yet.

Another thing about this trilogy is that it is actually translated from German to English. Had I not known about that, I wouldn't have guessed it otherwise throughout my read. In my opinion, the translation is done superbly and did not affect my reading pleasure.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Every Day by David Levithan

Image via Goodreads
Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan

Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought
Genre: YA


I wake up.

Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It's not just the body - opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I'm fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you're used to waking up in a new one each morning. It's the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.

Every day I am someone else. I am myself - I know I am myself - but I am also someone else.

It has always been like this.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every Day is told from the perspective of "A" who wakes up in a different body, every day. Knowing that he would be gone tomorrow and that it would be quite impossible to have any lasting relationship, he is always cautious not to get too attached with anyone involved in the life of the person whose body he is inhabiting for the day. That is, until he met Rhiannon and fell in love. 

I find the premise of the story really intriguing. I was curious as to how David Levithan could make this concept work and how it would play out. I am impressed, actually, at how well the whole plot is executed.

I really feel for A. The thought of waking up with a new body and a new identity every day scares me. I pity A for not having a place to call home, for not having a family he could call his own and for not being able to hold onto lasting relationships in life. However, despite all that, A managed to push through the odds in his life, which is quite admirable.

The fact that A is actually genderless and could inhabit any body that is around his age makes the story more interesting. I get to see glimpses of the lives of people from different backgrounds and know a little about their stories.  

I find the way how A went out of his way to try to reach out to Rhiannon whilst inhabiting a stranger's body so sweet. However, it saddens me to think that he has to fight for every opportunity  he has each day to be able to see her. 

The ending is sad but beautiful. Someone once told me that love is about making sacrifices. Having said that, I kinda understand that maybe this is how the story should end. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Image via Goodreads
Title: Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Borrowed
Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller, Romance


Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. 

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Don't Look Back is probably my favourite Jennifer L. Armentrout book so far. It is unlike anything I've ever read that is written by JLA.

The suspense-filled plot got me on the edge of my seat and making theories about what went on the night Samantha and Cassie went missing as I read. Multiple times, I could feel my palpitations as I find out more about what went on and make more guesses as to who would actually want the two girls dead. 

I am hooked on the story from the very first page. Don't Look Back is written from Samantha's POV. After surviving the incident, she suffers from amnesia. Thus, as Samantha slowly gets pieces of her memories back, I am also taken on this journey of rediscovering who Samantha is and what really happened.

One of my favourite scenes in the book is when Samantha went to the scene of the crime-the summerhouse- alone in hopes of getting her memories regarding that night back. I was practically hyperventilating when I read that Samantha heard someone following her. The event that followed when she got into her car and finding that note in her backseat of which she thought was written by the supposed killer is an awesome twist. So awesome that I couldn't put that book down even though it's nearing dawn and I haven't slept yet.

The relationship which Samantha shares with her then childhood friend, Carson is also fun to read. I really liked how their relationship slowly develops into something more.

Finally, I am satisfied with how Jennifer L. Armentrout ended this book. I find Don't Look Back highly entertaining and I enjoyed every minute of my read.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Image via Goodreads

After putting off reading Shadow and Bone (Book 1 of The Grisha Trilogy) for nearly two months, I finally picked up that book and read. Leigh Bardugo did not disappoint. The world that she crafted is so complex and beautiful and so real. 

When I first started Shadow and Bone, it took me a while to truly get the story since I was confused about what the Grisha is. Turns out that Grisha is just what people with magical powers are called. Since the story is taking place in a country that resembles Russia, some Russian words are included in all the books. The Grisha Trilogy tells the story of a girl named Alina Starkov who discovered that she is a Grisha with the power to summon light. Hence, she had been dubbed as the Sun Summoner.

Out of all three books in this trilogy, Shadow and Bone is my favourite and I rated it a 5 star in Goodreads. I like the second book- Siege and Storm the least. I guess if there had been more scenes involving the Darking, I would've like it a whole lot more. I have to say the character development is done well and the writing is just awesome. In fact, most of the time during my read, I could easily imagine myself as Alina and watching the events play out in my head as if I was there in the story. The plot twists are unexpected and thus, making the story more interesting. 

Now, I want to talk about the Darkling and Mal and Nikolai (of whom we met in Siege and Storm) The love triangle (or is it love square? Is there even such a term?) involved is executed well. And I find myself falling in love with all the three aforementioned characters. There are times when I would be rooting for one character and then I would change my mind again and again on who I hope Alina would end up with. Truth be told, I love the Darkling the best even though he is the antagonist of the story. In fact, I was caught off guard when I found out that he's the bad guy in Shadow and Bone. I was growing so fond of him then that I didn't even question his motive when he first kissed Alina even though the kiss did seem too soon. My second favourite would have to be Nikolai. He's confident and though he didn't really love Alina the way Mal does, I did wish that they'll grow to love each other as more than friends.

Ruin and Rising marks the end of The Grisha trilogy. I really enjoyed the last book and am satisfied with how Leigh Bardugo ended this trilogy. In fact, the epilogue of Ruin and Rising is probably my favourite part of Book 3. All in all, I had fun reading this trilogy and look forward to reading more books by Leigh Bardugo.