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Favorite 2016 Reads & Bookish Resolutions for 2017

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! Cue fireworks displays, popping balloons and Fake Love by Drake blaring in the background. (I am in love with that song at the moment, by the way.) I was supposed to post this on New Year’s Day but I didn’t get the chance to, so here it is 4 days later.

So, another year has ended already. It feels like 2016 came by so quick yet took too long to end at the same time. 2016 definitely wasn’t my year, let’s just leave it at that. Anyway, in this post, I will be sharing with you my favorite books I’ve read in 2016 and my Bookish Resolutions for 2017 which you probably already deduced by reading the title.


Favorite Books in 2016

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the books I listed here are published during 2016 only. To be fair, none of these books are published during 2016.

I’ve originally set my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge target to 50 books but as the year went on and as school proved to be more of a problem than I’ve expected, I changed my goal to 40 books. And thank heavens, I achieved it and read 3 extra books!

So among the 43 books I’ve read, here are my favorites:

I won’t waffle on about them anymore because this will get super long and most probably will end up repeating everything I’ve already said in my reviews. But if you do want to know more about these books and why I loved them so much, check out my reviews listed here in no particular order ( I did not write one for Me Before You but the link will direct you to my Goodreads update about it):

  1. The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken
  2. Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken
  3. In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken
  4. Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins
  5. Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
  6. Me Before You (Me Before You #1) by Jojo Moyes

For my Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge, I’ve set it to 50 books. This time, I’m more determined to accomplish it!

2017 Reading Challenge

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Bookish Resolutions for 2017

I’m not really the best at resolutions. When it’s December already, I always find myself setting goals I want to achieve the following year but he problem is, I NEVER DO THEM. I somehow always forget along the way. But this year, despite of my rubbish memory and lack of self-discipline, I came up with a list of bookish resolutions and hope that I did not set myself up for yet another disappointment.

  • Buy more physical books

I’m really fond of buying eBooks for the reason that they’re a teeny bit cheaper and are sometimes more convenient compared to physical copies. I’m actually planning on writing a separate post on this so I won’t ramble on much. But basically, I’ve recently just realized that I already spend too much time staring at my phone’s screen and eBooks don’t help when I want to decrease my “screen time”.

  • Blog more

Some might notice my lack of presence recently in my blog. I’ve posted like, what, 4-5 posts the past few months and that’s HORRIBLE. I normally post that many in 2 weeks last summer. WTF is happening to me?

  • Have more creative blog posts

This kinda falls under the previous one. I feel like all I post are book reviews and that gets boring.

  • Read more classics

I have never read a single classic book in my entire life. Why? I’m not exactly sure either. Maybe I’m intimidated by them. But nevertheless, I’m gonna give them a try sometime this year. Hopefully.


And that’s it. I’m kind of thankful for 2016 although it wasn’t really a great year, I learned a lot. But anyway, I’m so excited to see what 2017 has in store for me. Here’s to more memories created and lessons learned!

What are your favorite 2016 reads? Are you as bad as I am when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions? Do you mind sharing a few of your resolutions for this year?

Have a great 2017, everybody! ❤

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Book Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

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Book Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point #1
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier…

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without.


MY THOUGHTS

THIS BOOK YOU GUYS!!! Definitely a new favorite of mine. Forgive me, I did not put any negative points about the book in this review because I literally can not think of a single one. Now let’s get on to what I loved about this book and hope that I don’t run out of adjectives other than “sooooo good”.

I’m usually a character-driven reader. I bet you’re sick of hearing that if you read my other reviews (or if I comment that a lot on yours). Addie, the main character, is very likable. She loves books, rarely lies to her parents, and her retorts are always hilarious. As if that isn’t enough, her friendship with Laila is so amazing to read about. I absolutely love their personalities and I just can’t get enough of their banter! They can talk about taxes and I would still read it.

But aside from the awesome characters, the book itself is so unique and just mind-blowingly stunning because a) It’s so funny to read about the times when the “Paranormals” can’t work out how to turn a radio on or how to unlock a door or how to close the blinds, b) The romance is just perfect. The skin around my nails are red and raw from me gnawing on it (disgusting habit, I know but don’t worry, I’m working on it) because the story is getting soooo good and thrilling.

I seriously still cannot believe I finished this in one sitting. I rarely do that considering how slow of a reader I am. But this is just so gripping, I could not put it down. It kept me guessing and it kept me wanting more. When I finished reading, I literally said “wow” out loud—probably too loud as I almost woke up my little sister sleeping next to me. Yes, I did read until 1:00 in the morning. No, don’t judge me because I know you do it too.

I 101% recommend you read this one. After having read this, I fell in a reading slump but it was definitely worth it. Pivot Point is just the second book I’ve read from this author but I can assure you that this won’t be my last. Kasie West is now included in my list of favorite and go-to authors.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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Book Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: April 8th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.


MY THOUGHTS

I was a bit hesitant to pick this up when I did because I wasn’t really in the mood for being bombarded with new terms and whatever as I’m entering a new world reading a new series. But the cover made me think: Surely it would be a pleasant and light because look at that cover! And I was right, it is a humorous and fun read. I wasn’t aware that I was laughing so much until my sister told me to stop being an idiot.

I was surprised when I found myself liking the main character, Harper Price. I never thought I would admire a character who loves prom and frets about lip gloss. I mean, our personalities just seem a bit different from each other. But then again, she is really hilarious and bad-ass in her own way. I guess her wit and charisma won me over.

Let me just say this: How David Stark calls Harper “Pres” just brings back memories for me. Okay, story time! When I was in 7th grade, I had a crush on our class president. I call him “Pres” and it kinda became our thing. *sigh* Good times. But you don’t care about that, do you? Moving on…

The love element in this is totally what I’m looking for in the romance genre, not too rushed but not too slow. It’s not insta-love, but it’s not where-is-the-fucking-romance either. Also, it’s more on the subtle side, like it didn’t majorly affect the whole plot. Their relationship gave me butterflies in my stomach; they’re just so cute!

The ending was really unpredictable, I feel like. I laughed so much for some reason, one being I was certainly caught off guard. I don’t know, something about it just seems so damn amusing to me.

I would’ve liked a bit more action, if you ask me, but it was still a great story. This book is like an introduction to this new world that Harper’s been thrown into, so I’ll let the lack of action slide.

Although I tried not to (because I kept hearing people say that they didn’t really like the sequel), I have quite high expectations for the next books. I just really hope that my expectations won’t come biting me in the ass in the future.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Personally, I would buy it for the cover alone but the story and the characters are truly amazing. I suggest you try this out if you haven’t yet and if you have, go read it again!

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Book Title: Prom
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: March 3rd 2005
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Humor, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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High school senior Ashley Hannigan doesn’t care about prom, but she’s the exception. It’s pretty much the only good thing at her urban Philadelphia high school, and everyone plans to make the most of it-especially Ash’s best friend, Natalia, who’s the head of the committee. Then the faculty advisor is busted for taking the prom money, and Ash suddenly finds herself roped into putting together a gala dance out of absolutely nada. But she has help-from her large and loving (if exasperating!) family, from Nat’s eccentric grandmother, from her fellow classmates. And in putting the prom together, Ash learns that she has choices about her life after high school. Prom has everything that award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for-humor, poignancy, teen readers’ tough issues dealt with head-on, and a voice teen readers will recognize as their own.


MY THOUGHTS

I should have finished this sooner considering that the book is only 215 pages long and I might have done a bit—okay, a lot of skimming. But I read this in more or less 5 days because I just kept putting it off. And most of the time, I felt like giving up and I wanted to stop reading the book altogether. However, I don’t think books deserve to be unfinished and forgotten so, like the masochist I am, I kept reading and it was so painful (and such a waste of time.)

Let me tell you something that I don’t normally feel when reading: I actually think everyone is decent EXCEPT for the main character. Ashley Hannigan is a whiny little bitch. All she does is whine, whine, and guess what, whine some more! She acts like the prom will ruin her life. Grow up, Ashley! Although she did have a bit of character development towards the end. By “character development” I mean she becomes less obnoxious and actually takes a bit of responsibility.

Another thing about Ashley is how blunt she is. SPOILER ALERT! Don’t read the little quote below if you’re interested in reading the book.

I laid down my head on my books. I was thinking I should ask my aunt Linny to light a candle at St. Luke’s for the prom. She should light one for me, too, because I was sure I had a brain tumor. A tumor would explain why I agreed to help Nat. It might actually make life easier.

There were only a couple of things that kept me from rating this as a 1-star read. First is their preparations for prom, there’s that. I like to see if they can pull off their prom with such a short amount of time available. Also, I love the little (kind of) adrenaline feeling I get when reading their hustle and tussle just to make their prom decent with such limited resources. The other thing is Grandma Shulmensky. Oh that wonderful woman! She has got to be my favorite character. Grandma Shulmensky just cracks me up every time; she is so fun!

Would I recommend it?

No. Simply, no.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Dreamology by Lucy Keating

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Book Title: Dreamology
Author: Lucy Keating
Publication Date: April 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?


MY THOUGHTS

I’ve always been very intrigued by the concept of dreams. I just find them so fascinating and… random. I remember having a “dream journal” a few years back because I constantly experience such clear and lifelike dreams. Unfortunately, I have only filled in a couple pages of the notebook before getting tired of it and trashed the idea all too quickly. I never really remember much after several minutes of waking up anyway. (Do tell me if you want to hear about the dreams that I manage to jot down in the “dream journal”, I’ll gladly share them with you as they’re so odd.)

Anyway, when I first read the summary of this book, I just knew that I have to read it as soon as possible. And I’m so happy to have finally read and LOVE it. I loved it so much, I read it in a day.

The plot, I can’t really say much more of other than it’s quite unique and it’s interesting to see how it would be solved. With that said, I really wish that the solution was more elaborate. I wanted a bit more explanation as to what was done to stop them from losing their grips on reality altogether.

I don’t know if this is a spoiler or not because it’s kind of obvious anyway but just in case, please skip this paragraph if you’re interested in reading this book. I don’t get how Celeste can spout all the bullshit about “I thought we were friends, Alice” when they weren’t even that close. Alice clearly tried to stay out of her way but Celeste keeps coming to her. And they hung out, what, 2 or 3 times—and one was Celeste forcing Alice to let her stay at her place before a party! I probably would’ve appreciated Celest more if her character was given more depth, not just a few sentences going on about how she basically changed Max’s whole life.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I love how bizarre dreams are, so you can imagine my delight and entertainment while reading about Alice’s dreams. They’re the next level of unusual and extremely cute.

I think what mostly contributed to the speed of my reading is the fluidity of the writing. The book was written oh-so adorably which makes the readers want to read more and more.

When asked to pick a favorite character, I will definitely say Oliver. I know from the very beginning that I would love him. He’s just my type of (fictional) guy, all smiles and adventure; the one who captures his heart, aside from Alice, is one lucky person. I would’ve liked more showtime for Oliver in this book but then again I would’ve loved for him to have his own (Dreamology is about Alice and Max anyway).

Another character that needs more showtime, in my opinion, is Alice’s best friend Sophie. She is a star. I may be biased but she’s like the fictional version of my in real life best friend. Although Sophie wasn’t really around for most of the book, and I would have loved it if her character was given more depth/background info, they just seem so alike.

Alice and Max. *sighs dreamily* From the very first page, Alice and Max just click. I find this quality quite rare in books, when the couple just feels right from the start. I usually need to get to know the characters first before settling in to their romance. Maybe the fact that they’re already in love when the book started (they just don’t know each other exists yet) contributed to how I feel about this but I don’t care at this point. They’re just so damn perfect for each other.

I actually learned quite a few fun facts from this book: about brain mapping, fetal positions, even alpacas!

I highly recommend you check this book out if you love contemporary romance. Now excuse me while I do some research on how to dream of a hot boyfriend, like literally.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.