I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on May 30, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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1.5 Stars, Completed September 24, 2017

– read bold text ONLY to avoid MAJOR SPOILERS –

There’s been so much Asian rep lately with the hype around Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, so I thought I’d share an old, belated review before the month’s end. However, to my dismay, I didn’t enjoy this title nearly as much as I did CRA (in theater) and TAtBILB (my current read).

Real love: It was all about risk and having faith. There were no guarantees.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is about hardworking perfectionist and star student, Desi Lee, and her plans of wooing her crush… not the traditional way but through the guidance of her beloved Korean dramas (catty girl fights, car crashes, and all). She’s certain that her K-drama list of to-do’s will win over Luka Drakos, because everyone surrenders to the magic of a good time-stopping, romantic straight out of a K-drama scene. But after a crazy turn of events, she realizes that love may be more complex and beyond simply “using a formula.” Desi may need to just learn to trust her heart and the process of falling it love itself (minus the drama and flair shown in films).

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

9781780622309-crooked-kingdom-by-leigh-bardugoCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2 (2/2)
Published by Orion Children’s Books on September 27, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 536
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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4 Stars, Completed October 16, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

Oh my gosh, I’m a little horrified that I waited over a year to finally write this review…

Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.

Crooked Kingdom is the second and final installment to the Six of Crows duology. Kaz and his crew have just pulled a deadly heist. Instead of becoming wealthy and free after the mission as they had hoped, they find themselves scrambling to survive after been double crossed. It doesn’t help that they’re missing a member and strong forces are making a move on Ketterdem for the secrets of the dangerous drug jurda parem. But Kaz has a plan, and the team won’t stop until they get their revenge and redemption.

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Summing It Up: March 2018

Hello, hello! Happy April! 🙂

Okay… so those promised book reviews never did happen, huh? Turns out I put the wrong year since a lot of them were drafts originally created in 2017. Sigh. (That is proof of how rusty I am with the whole (book) blogging routine, haha.) Anyway, I took them down for the moment and don’t plan to reschedule them just yet since I want to re-edit them at least once more… and since April is a heavy exam month… those aren’t going to go live anytime soon, unfortunately. (I have hopes for May though!) :’)

Anyway, time for the recap! March was a meh month for lack of better words. A lot was going on in my life but I felt like I was wading through water since it also felt like I wasn’t really accomplishing much of anything. I didn’t do so hot on several exams that month so my spirits were kind of low. (And I’m trying to recover my grades in those two particular classes-looks like I’ll be working extra hard in April so I might not even be as active on my Instagram. I had plans of actually trying to limit my use with that app to twice daily anyway since I felt like I becoming too dependent. LOL, this makes it sound like a drug addict. XD)

But the good news is… I started reading again! I began marathoning the greatly popular fantasy series, Throne of Glass. The first few installments (particularly book 2, Crown of Midnight) wowed me because I, honestly, wasn’t expecting to enjoy this series after some criticisms that I had heard with Maas’s stories and characters prior to picking the series up. To my relief, as I said, I quite liked them… that is until I got to Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows. The later drove me nuts because I was so mad with a certain character’s characterization and development (or lack of) and I have it on a temporary hold so that I can solely focus on school (and calm down after that traumatic turnaround mid-series).

But yeah, (I didn’t realize that I said this so much until people commented about it on my Instagram stories, haha.) that was an abridged version of my March!

– What I Read –

I could have easily finished Queen of Shadows by the end of March to include in last month’s “read” list since I’m nearly done… but, as mentioned before, I’m taking a break since that sequel is vastly disappointing and I kind of need to prioritize school first. (I’m literally on the brink of not passing Pharmacotherapy II with a C. It is that bad, to my dismay. T_T)

Anyway want some initial thoughts? Literally:

Me while reading Crown of Midnight

Me while reading Queen of Shadows

I feel so betrayed right now. Sigh.

– March Blog Posts –

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milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
Published by Createspace on November 4, 2014
Genres: [Adult] Nonfiction, Poetry, Feminism
Pages: 204
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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3.5 Stars, Completed July 29, 2017

– SPOILER free –

Milk and honey is a book I’ve wanted to pick up for some time now.
I‘ve noticed it around the blogosphere, bookstagram, and Goodreads.
Literally at every bookstore I’ve visited the last couple of months, this would be advertised as the #1 bestseller.
Knowing that there was immense popularity surrounding milk and honey, I was wary.

And so today I decided to take a chance and settled in my reading nook to finally see what the hype was about.
Now, I understand why many love milk and honey.
Despite this statement though, I’m going to have to admit that I, personally, did find it to be slightly underwhelming honestly.

Hence why I couldn’t give this a full 5 stars.
Of course the prose and illustrations were aesthetically pleasing, and there were many pieces that moved and even resonated with me.
Not to mention, I was 100% on board with Rupi Kaur’s beliefs and intent the entire way.
Even though the writer’s/poet’s/artist’s passion is very apparent and her artful pieces can speak to readers, the fact that this was written in the form of poetry just probably wasn’t for me.
Yes, this book is raw, beautiful, and powerful, but it isn’t one that can convert non-poetry fans to ones that like poetry as I was secretly hoping.

TL;DR: There was certainly an allure while reading milk and honey because of the messages Kaur conveys within the pages, but overall this book as a whole itself didn’t live up to my expectations. Poetry might just be something I’ll never grow to appreciate, I guess. Therefore, for me, milk and honey felt both disconnected yet connected at the same time, as contradicting as that sounds. (Disjointing because of the style but cohesive with the ideologies and politics, if that makes sense.)

And indeed, I did choose to write my review in an (extremely elementary) acrostic poem this time. (Although, I’m quite pleased with it seeing as I’m not at all a poet. Hah.)


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Manga Review: Daytime Shooting Star

Daytime Shooting Star (Hirunaka no Ryuusei) (ひるなかの流星)
Original Story by
 Mika Yamamori
Art by Mika Yamamori
Published by Margaret from 2011 to 2014
Genres: [Shoujo] Romance, School
Volumes: 12
Chapters:
86
Status of manga:
 Completed*
[Edit 3/11/2018] My rating for the live action: 8/10

*Review based on entire manga series

MAL Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

Purchase links are not available because, as of when this review is published, this manga has yet to be officially serialized in English. However, you can still read this online with fan-subs.

3 Stars, Completed July 3, 2017

– read the bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

He emitted a light as bright as that of a falling star…

Daytime Shooting Star is a high school romance centering around the story of a teenage girl named Suzume Yosano that moves to Tokyo from a small town to reside with her uncle after her father’s job transfer. Upon her arrival to the city she meets a mysterious young gentleman that helps her reach her uncle’s place. Though she learns that this man is an acquaintance of her uncle’s she remains skeptical of this happy go lucky guy and tries to avoid him after their first encounter… but it looks like this will be harder done than said considering he’s her homeroom teacher at her new school.

Having read the entire series-all 12 volumes (which is roughly 80 chapters)-in the span of three days, there’s clearly an addictive quality to Daytime Shooting Star. And the sole reason why I think it was so compelling to read was because (dare I say it) the love triangle.

I might be the black sheep with this confession but I’ve actually never been one that disliked love triangles if done well. My biggest annoyances with the bad ones have been when A) the triangle itself was completely unnecessary and could have been avoided but was there to add unwanted drama B) it became blatantly apparent who the protagonist would choose at the end early on and/or C) the author decided to take a cop-out and villainized one party so that the lead female would alternatively get together with the seemingly “nice guy.”

Luckily, there was none of that nonsense with Daytime Shooting Star. Instead, it excelled at the push and pull aspect of these sort of romances but in balanced moderation to minimize readers’ frustration. It was also pretty obscure throughout the entire series who the heroine would eventually pick. In fact, the mystery of the outcome was this manga’s greatest charm, in my opinion.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

imgSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1 (1/2)
Published by Henry Holt & Co. on September 29, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 462
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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5 Stars, Completed October 5, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

It took me long enough but I’m putting my foot down and making an effort to get out of this book reviewing rut I’ve been in. It’s time to finally cover my thoughts on Six of Crows, which I read over half a year ago.

The best way to describe how much I loved this story is by stating that there are few YA books that make me wish I was able to experience reading for the first time again and Six of Crows has squeezed itself into this small, exclusive list. (In case you were wondering, this list only had the Harry Potter series and The Infernal Devices trilogy.) Six of Crows isn’t quite same caliber as Harry Potter (in my opinion), but it’s high enough up there that I’d consider this a new YA fantasy favorite of mine.

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You know it’s serious when I include an Exo gif in my review.

The writing was so brilliant, the cast comprised of badass antiheros, and the story and world building was far better than Bardugo’s predecessor series, the Grisha trilogy (which is saying something since I thoroughly enjoyed that one as well).

No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’

Six of Crows is still a part of the Grishaverse and takes place a couple of years after Ruin and Rising, the final installment of The Grisha trilogy. However, it introduces a completely new set of characters, specifically six of the deadliest outcasts of Ketterdam, the dank capital of Kerch known to be the central hub for international trade but also home to multiple criminal organizations. And the story chronicles the journey of this unstoppable crew as they take on a suicide mission to complete a near-impossible heist, breaking into the notoriously secure Ice Court and retrieving a hostage.

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books on June 6, 2017
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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3.5 Stars, Completed May 8, 2017

– this review is quite long; you can read the bold text to get the main idea and to avoid SPOILERS –

Being the daughter of a popular wedding planner, Louna has practically seen every type of wedding imaginable, some with hysterical brides, others couples with cold feet or misbehaved wedding guests, and not uncommonly all of the above sometimes. Witnessing the imperfect side of those in romantic relationships has made her somewhat cynical about happily ever afters and question if they even really exist. It doesn’t help that her first love ended tragically. So when Louna meets happy go lucky, serial dater Ambrose her heart by default knows to be wary of stepping into romance territory and she decides to keep him at arm’s length. But that isn’t going to stop Ambrose seeing as he’s finally met the girl that he really wants.

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What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books on May 10, 2011
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 402
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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3.5 Stars, Reread May 18, 2017

– SPOILER free –

Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.

For the past two years Mclean Sweet and her divorced father have been moving from town to town as he is a restaurant consultant. With each move Mclean sees it as a chance to reinvent herself and take up a different persona. As Liz, Eliza, and Beth she’s been many girls from preppy cheerleader to drama diva. But when Mclean and her father make a stop at Lakeview, she’s finds herself as just Mclean. But who is the real Mclean? After being separated from her true identity for so long, Mclean isn’t sure who she really is anymore. With What Happened to Goodbye Sarah Dessen weaves yet another story about youth and self discovery.

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Just Listen by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books on April 6, 2006
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 371
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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5 Stars, Reread May 9, 2017

– SPOILER free –

In everyone’s eyes Annabel Greene seems to appear as “the girl who has everything” for the fact that she plays the part of a well-liked, popular cheerleader in a television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store. Though in reality, she’s far from that role. At school, she’s shunned by her peers for shamefully stealing her best friend’s boyfriend behind her back at a party last summer. (Though, she didn’t.) At home, her parents are completely oblivious to Annabel’s friendless life seeing as they’re more preoccupied with her older sister who recently became anorexic. With the focus on Whitney, Annabel begins to bury a lot of her thoughts from her family and it becomes a habit. But then she meets Owen Armstrong, a truth-telling, music-obsessed guy. As if his blunt honesty was contagious, she finds that voicing what she really means comes out so easily when she’s with him. But with the help of her and Owen’s comfortable friendship, will she finally be able to finally face the events that happened the night that she and Sophie stopped being friends?

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin Group Inc. on May 11, 2004
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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5 Stars, Reread May 3, 2017

– SPOILER free –

I’d tried to hold myself apart, showing only what I wanted, doling out bits and pieces of who I was. But that only works for so long. Eventually, even the smallest fragments can’t help but make a whole.

After witnessing her father’s unexpected death, Macy has always sought to find control of her life by planning for the expected. She likes the certainty of knowing what will happen next. So when her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp, she decides to spend her summer subbing for him at his library job, studying for the SATs, and occasionally making small talk with her mother about anything but the traumatic loss of her father. But when she meets the dysfunctional team at Wish Catering, a group accustomed to chaos and surprises, after they cater at one of her mom’s parties she starts to feel compelled to breakaway from her steady and sheltered life. Because, perhaps, the key to truly living is not to dwell on the past or wait for the future, but instead embrace each moment of the present.

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