Top 5 Wednesday | Favorite Non-Written Novels (15th Feb ’17)

Hey guys~ As usual, I am late. Wednesday was yesterday for me. This also happens to be my first T5W post of the year. 😀 As you all know, Top 5 Wednesday is a discussion group on Goodreads, started by Lainey and now moderated by Sam.

This week’s topic is Favourite Non-Written Novels. Basically, it means any top 5 fav manga, comics, graphic novels…etc. any others books except for the normal novel, you can list it down.

Mine will definitely be filled with manga, haha. I mostly read shoujo manga (romantic, sweet, fluffy manga that is sure to make a girl’s heart go doki doki), and yaoi manga (LGBT manga, well, yaoi specifically focused on gay love). But sometimes I do like to read action/ fantasy manga.

So, on to the list… Continue reading

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Gold Rush by Jennifer Comeaux Book Review

Title: Gold Rush
Author: Jennifer Comeaux
Publication date: January 9th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Xpresso Book Tour
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks


book-review

I read Gold Rush in one-sitting, and I loved it so much!

I’m a fan of competitive figure skating, and I love reading books about it, and I have to admit that it was the main reason why I decided to participate in this tour. I didn’t expect to love it this much.

When I reached the part about the first time Liza and Braden met, I thought it would be like all the other cliché YA contemporary romance books, where the two main characters meet, fall in love, throw in some misunderstandings here and there, maybe a break in the relationship before making up and their happy ending. I was wrong. Well, okay, some of those did happen, but most didn’t. The whole story was a big ball of fluff, and you’ll only feel a teeny bit of frustrations. There’s also an element of mystery (only a tiny bit though) in the book that caught me off guard.

I like Braden so much— well, I like Liza too, but I like Braden the most. He is just too sweet. And I love the relationship between him and Liza. I love the interaction between them when they first met (the awkward flirting!), I love their interactions before they became official, and I love their interactions after. I just love them. I love Braden’s family too. I just love relationships like that, like when Liza became friends with Braden, she didn’t just became friends with Braden but also with his family.

Me loving Braden’s family didn’t mean Liza’s own family wasn’t great. I love them too. Her father came off strict at first in regards of Braden, but he’s just an overprotective papa bear. I love Liza’s younger siblings, and the relationship she has with her stepmom was great. There are lots of stories where stepmoms are made into this wicked, evil person, and it’s just nice to read about a stepmom who is so nice for a change.

Also, just because this book is sweet and fluffy, doesn’t mean it didn’t have its sad moments. I didn’t bawl my eyes out, but I think a few tears escaped here and there. This is where the lil bit of mystery came. I’m not going to say what so that I don’t spoil anyone. But I’ll just have to warn you readers who are so emotional like me, maybe you’ll have to prepare some tissue papers when you read this book.

To sum it up, this is the perfect book for readers who are looking for a light YA romance book to read. I like how Jennifer Comeaux managed to make me so invested in these characters. And I think fans of figure skating might enjoy this book too. I think the figure skating parts were described perfectly.

I rate this book 4 / 5 stars.


Author bio:

Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. When she’s not writing, traveling, or calculating taxes, you can find her feeding her television addiction.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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My Dream Author Panel

dream-author-panel

Hey guys! Close your eyes and imagine, you’re attending a conference with a panel consisting of your favourite authors or even your favourite fictional characters. Last week, Eventbrite inspired me to do just that with a project they’re working on. And because we never get to have foreign authors coming to Malaysia for events (well, Sarah J Maas did came last year I think), I went crazy with this.

For those who may or may not know, Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events. Interested in hosting your own conference? Check out Eventbrite’s Conference Planning Page for useful and free tools. Continue reading

Book Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

20801166Title: A Little Something Different
Author:
Sandy Hall
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published date: 26th August 2014
Source: Own copy
Date read: 14th January 2017
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary: 

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….


book-review

True facts:

  1. I didn’t buy this book because of the cover (Okay, I lied. 45% IS because of the cover).
  2. This book totally failed the Bechdel Test, but
  3. It has diverse characters!

So, when I went into the bookstore today, I saw this book, oh so pink, and I went to the shelf and picked it up. I looked it up on Goodreads, and happened to read the few sentences of this one review:

“The book was so adorable” and “the reviewer loved the bus driver and the squirrel POVs”.

A Little Something Different is a book about Lea and Gabe doing their awkward dance around each other before finally getting their shit together BUT — and here’s the twist — it is written in the people around the two main characters’ POV ie. friends, brother, baristas…

To add on the drama in the book, there’s this little mystery in there that we’ve got to figure out. I am so dying to tell about me being a great sleuth, being able to put two and two together, but then I don’t want to spoil it for other readers who might want to connect the dots themselves too.

Using the multiple POVs to tell the story is the main reason why I bought this book. One, it was unique; and two, people say that it was well-written. And I am happy to say that it really was. And the adorableness. People say it was adorable, and it was. I couldn’t help squealing and smiling ear-to-ear.

I think my most favourite POV has got to be Inga, their Creative Writing Professor. At first, it was mainly because she used Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference, even if it wasn’t intentional. She was also funny, with how much she shipped Lea and Gabe, and the extent she’d go to push Lea and Gabe together.

I also loved the Squirrel’s POV, and I was glad I did, because this was another reason why I wanted to read the book. The Squirrel’s POV was funny, and it felt like a little reprieve from the drama between Lea and Gabe. Aside from that, the squirrel was cute, unlike that crazy squirrel from Ice Age.

This was a bit surprising, but I came to like Victor’s POV too. It was funny to read about how he hated Lea and Gabe but then, he was all tangled in their business. Also how, even though he didn’t want to admit it, he thought the two of them were cute together.

There are more POVs I liked, like Charlotte the barista, and Maxine the waitress, but I’m afraid if I write about every one of them, this will never end. So, I’ll leave you guys to make that discovery on your own.

Of course, even with how much I love one book, there has to be something that I didn’t like. And I’m afraid to say that, there was a time when I didn’t like Lea a lil bit. I get why she acted that way, but I wished she could be a bit nicer when Gabe wanted to open up.

To sum it all up, this book is so adorably sweet that you will get cavities. If you wanted to do some light reading, this is the book for you. If you wanted a pick-me-up book to cheer you up, this is your book. If you wanted a book with sweet brotherly relationship, this is your book.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.


About the author:

Sandy Hall is a teen librarian from New Jersey where she was born and raised. She has a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When she’s not writing, or teen librarian-ing, she enjoys reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is her first novel.

Sandy Hall’s website | Tumblr | Twitter

 

My Friends Are All Strange Blog Tour + Giveaway

Title: My Friends Are All Strange
Author: Margaret Lesh
Publication date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

My friends are all strange.

Right now I’m living at Brookside, a place for people like me. I’ve met a kitty girl, a brooding beautiful boy, one who can’t be touched, and others. My new friends. Strange people. People like me.

I’ve always been different, but lately, more so. My hands sometimes don’t seem to be attached to the rest of me. I cut up all of my clothes. I’m hot, so hot, all of the time. If I sleep, a wizard haunts every dream. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I want to run, but where do you run to when you’re trying to escape your own mind? I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m smart. I’m nice, sometimes. I just want to be normal(ish). But, right now, my friends are all strange… Like me.

Dark, funny, snarky, seventeen-year-old Becca struggles to cope with mental illness in My Friends Are All Strange, the gripping contemporary young adult companion novel to Normalish.

Goodreads / Amazon


book-review

This. Book. Was. Amazing!

Lately, I am really interested in reading YA books with mental illness thrown in the mix, and I guess I’ve come to have a high standard on the theme because of all the other books I’ve read, and lucky for me, this book didn’t disappoint.

In fact, this book is kind of refreshing, because I like Becca so much better than the whiny main character from the book I read before this one.

This book managed to bring me through a roller coaster of emotions since the very beginning, which surprised me. It’s rare that a book made me emotionally invested since the very beginning. But it did; it made me laugh and cry. And it made me frustrated and angry and annoyed (yes, Troy, I’m talking to you. Or about you. Whatever). Becca’s journey as she struggles with her sanity, the friendship she made along the way… it is just beautiful.

I’ve mentioned that I like Becca. But the one I love the most is probably Roman. He is so sweet. And that’s not just because I have this soft spot for an artist…who happened to be a social outcast.

To sum it up, this book was a beautiful coming of age story, with beautiful friendship and romance thrown in the mix. (Yes, I realize I used ‘beautiful’ a lot). I think fans of Am I Normal Yet would enjoy this, as well as readers who love YA books with a touch of mental illness.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.


Author Bio:

California native Margaret Lesh lives in a narrow canyon populated by herds of wild burro and packs of coyote. The canyon is also populated with her creative, handsome husband, her feisty mother-in-law, her not-brave-at-all Border Collie, Echo, and sometimes her son (who is away at college. And she is not quite sure how that all happened so fast).

She writes books to entertain young and not-so-young readers as well as herself. She believes tacos are magic.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Poppies for Christmas Blog Tour + Giveaway

Poppies For Christmas
Stacy Keywell
Publication date: November 15th 2016
Genres: Romance, Young Adult

A celebration of love without labels. It’s easy to be brave with you by my side!

Popular DJ Dexx finds himself positively smitten by the precociously pristine Poppy Paris. Too bad she’s already taken by an older boy, Declan Davies, a beautiful model with a thriving career, and a perfect family. By a dreamful stroke of chance, Dexx finds himself invited to spend Christmas at the Davies home by a gorgeous girl, granting him the opportunity to pursue the precious Poppy. But in his quest to win her over, he unlocks a world of imperfection and insecurity, where people are picked on for their disabilities, speech, appearance, and eccentricities. For Poppy and her friends, love trumps labels, and everyone deserves a brave friend to stand by their side. What gifts will Dexx discover this Christmas? Will he ultimately find true love, or will he discover something even greater?

You are invited to read a powerful story about living with autism, but not letting it define you, about being bullied, but carrying on with determination and grit, and about having dreams, but not giving up in the face of adversity. Come celebrate something beautiful with Poppies for Christmas.

Goodreads / Amazon


EXCERPT

The Science of Baking

I read somewhere once that cooking is an art. It takes imagination and flare. But baking? Baking is a science. It takes exactitude and precision. It requires patience. It requires dedication. It requires love. A whole lot of love. And well…that’s what I’ve got…love…love for a girl, a special one, one who deserves dedication. So what do I choose to prove my love? I choose baking.

Chapter One

Lenn

Deep inside my tote, my hand grazed against my faithful sketchbook before I removed it. The metal spirals comforted my fingers as I dragged them across the row of sharp-edged rings. Firmly gripping the book, I flipped it open to a blank page near the middle. I smoothed out the slightly texturized, eggshell white page. I bent down and buried my nose in the crease, inhaling the faint lead pencil scent. It calmed me, readying me to add another chapter to my visual saga.

Spreading my tools around me, hard and soft pencils, a ruler, several firm erasers, and a small metal sharpener, I steadied my hand and cleared my mind, inviting in only the most blissful images of my fantasy. With a soft lead pencil, I constructed an oval blank for the face. Art classes definitely assisted in perfecting the technique, but dedication and talent trumped instruction.

I used the ruler to estimate the proper dimensions. I added eyes, a nose, some crazy-hot lips, all his beautiful features. I gave him expressive brows. I sketched his glossy dark brown hair, shaggy bangs flopping over to the side, covering his ear, exposing that sarcastic, twisted grin on his lips, the same way he looked when he joked around with his friends in the corner of the library during study hall.

A trusty eraser mopped up all of the stray, miscellaneous marks. I blew away a couple gummy shreds before I shaded in his taut jawline. I wiped up the last scattered pieces left behind on the page before I started on adding myself to the portrait. Duplicating the process, I gave myself a hipper, manga-esque look, allowing for a more whimsical likeness of myself.

Poppy and Kit sat at the same long, wooden table, on the opposite side of me. Kit swiped through the pages on her tablet, desperately trying to find the right page number, since she had neglected to tap the bookmark before closing out her chapter the previous night. Nervous oohs and aahs escaped her lips. Poppy, sitting with her legs crossed, jiggled her feet beneath her chair, shaking the table, creating a rattling earthquake under my artwork.

I shot a glare in her direction. “Would you please stop? The both of you! You are driving me crazy, and ruining my picture.”

Poppy and Kit stopped suddenly. They looked at each other, wide-eyed and innocent, two does in the midst of a meadow. Unaware! Clueless! Oblivious!

“I can’t think when you moan that way,” I snapped, addressing Kit. She squirmed underneath her oversized flannel shirt and baggy jeans.

“And, you,” I turned to Poppy. “You are going to smudge my drawing with all of that wild motion going on underneath the table. Can it!”

Their jaws dropped. They both stared at me, wordless.

“Please.” I hugged my journal protectively. Softening my voice, I turned to Poppy and asked her again. “Please?”

“Sorry,” they announced in simulcast, sighing, shrugging their shoulders, lost together in the great woods of their minds.

They looked back down at their own musings. I continued to draw.

In this picture, the two of us relaxed together on a chaise lounge, him with his large, bulbous headphones, and me with my skull and crossbones ear buds. Our eyes drifted in the opposite direction, lids almost closed, in a sleepy trance. My arm draped across his chest until our fingers entwined, intimately. We zoned out to his simpatico beats.


Author Bio:

Stacy Renée Keywell enjoys spending time misusing, mispronouncing, and misspelling languages, especially in her native tongue, English. When she is not stargazing or daydreaming she creates adventures for her family to conquer. Besides following her whimsical dreams, Stacy likes to sing to the music in her head, dance poorly, and compose non-sensical words. She is also the author of Forbidden Sky- Book One of the Dark Wing Series. Stacy resides in Michigan in a little house in the woods with her husband, and two daughters.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Book Review: Savour the Moment by Nora Roberts

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Title:
Savour the Moment (Bride Quartet #3)
Author:
Nora Roberts
Publisher: Piatkus
Publication date:
2010
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Literature
Source: Personal Copy (MPH Bookstore)
Rating: 4/5

Summary:

New Love takes the cake in the third novel in #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts’s Bride Quartet—in a stunning French flap edition

Wedding baker Laurel McBane is surrounded by romance working at Vows wedding planning company with her best friends Parker, Emma, and Mac. But she’s too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that their clients seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker’s older brother Delaney, on whom she’s had a mega-crush since childhood.

But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her-or so she thinks. When Laurel’s quicksilver moods get the better of her-leading to an angry, hot, all-together mind-blowing kiss with Del—she’ll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever…


book-review


I have to say, Savour the Moment has got to be my favourite among the the four Bride Quartet books.

Let’s start with the cover. From the wedding cake on the cover, we all know that this book is about Laurel McBane and Delaney “Del” Brown (that is, if you read the book in order. OR, if you’re like me, and bought and read Happily Ever After on impulse without knowing that that was the final book in the Bride Quartet Series). But the hair of the model! For a whole year, I thought Laurel was dark-haired because of it. Turned out Laurel was blonde. The second time I read the book, it was hard to shift the image from a woman with dark brunette hair to blonde.

By the time I read Savour the Moment, I have already read Happily Ever After, Vision in White, and Bed of Roses. So, because of that, I could already see a pattern. It was not surprising when Laurel and Del got together, stayed together and have their HEA ending. But putting that aside, Laurel and Del’s story is my favourite of all, and Parker and Mal was a close second. Anyways, I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Part of the reasons I love this book was because Laurel is a baker, and I love baking. Even though I can’t relate to Laurel in other ways, I can relate to her through that. Other than, I like how Laurel and Del’s life has been intertwined since they were young kids. She was Parker’s best friend, one of Del’s girls, and he was protective over her. I also like the fact that Del was “the one” for Laurel. It made Laurel’s character more vulnerable, especially since she always acts so tough.

Because Savour the Moment is about Laurel and Delaney, I won’t talk about the other characters. They have their own book (Mac and Carter: Vision in White, Emma and Jack: Bed of Roses, and Parker and Mal: Happily Ever After), so they have their own time to shine.

Let us talk about Laurel:

I love Laurel, she bakes and sometimes she cooks, and I just love that because I love to bake and cook too. But if I have to rate her character, based on her overall personality, I’d say she’s 7/10.

As I’ve mentioned above, Laurel is a tough character. She has to be, after all that she’s been through. I love the quartet’s friendship, their lives are so connected. I love that kind of friendship. But you can’t deny that Laurel has her temper. I guess, it’s partly because of what she’s been through. But still, sometimes, it feels like she was looking for something to argue about with Del. I mean, okay, I can see where she’s coming from when she bit Del’s head off when he tried to pay her for the lemons, but for Dara’s cake? Del asked her as a client, so she shouldn’t have snap at him.

Now, let us talk about Del:

Del is handsome, a great lawyer with an ivy league education, comes from a rich family with good upbringing—he is practically perfect. Usually, I don’t like it when the character is a perfect guy. I don’t trust perfect guys.

But Del is different. He’s caring and overprotective when it comes to his girls (his sister, Parker, and Parker’s friends, Mac, Emma and Laurel). I guess that’s also because he knew them since they were young and they grew up together. But he’s also generous with his friends, like when he invited Mal to come with them for a vacation at the new beach house he and Parker invested in. Yes, he did invite Jack and Carter too, but that’s because they’ve been friends for a long time and they are Emma and Mac’s significant other. Mal’s different, he’s a new addition to the group but Del still asked him to join them on their vacation. So, that makes me like Del too. And if I have to rate Del, I’ll give him 7/10. Hmm, look at that, the same rating as Laurel. They’re perfect for each other. Haha

Of course there are also some things that I didn’t like about this book. No matter how much I love a book, it is impossible that there’s nothing I didn’t really like about it (okay, that’s a lie). After reading this series, one after the other without reading any other books in between, the plot becomes kind of bland and predictable for me. There wasn’t really any conflict, aside from the arguments that Laurel and Del has. There’s also no other competition for Laurel’s or Del’s love. I used to like that, because when I first read this series, I didn’t want complicated books with complicated feelings. But now, a little bit of competition for one of the main character’s affection would’ve add up some spice.

To sum it up, this book is the perfect book to read if you want something with strong friendship relationship, something with a close-knit family feel, and an uncomplicated love story. This book is also the perfect book to read when you’re feeling down, or feel like you can’t succeed in whatever business you’re attempting, because Laurel, and her friends can make it happen. Vows was and still is successful. And with this book, you can pretend that you can be that successful with your venture too, or you can really make it happen. Because of the straightforward love story, you can read this in one-sitting (if you don’t have work or chores to do).

Four years ago, I gave it a 5 / 5 stars rating. Now, I give it 4 / 5 stars rating. Even if I’ve discovered the imperfectness of this book, I am still biased.