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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: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

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Book Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1st 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Okay.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.


MY THOUGHTS

I was really disappointed by this one.

I thought I was going to like it. I mean, look at that cover, and then read the summary, and then go through all its great ratings on Goodreads. It’s impossible to keep my hopes down.

Let me start by saying that the title is very misleading. Twenty Boy Summer? More like Not-Even-Half-Of-That Summer. (Lame, I know.)

I am a very character-centered reader. I don’t usually care if the plot isn’t amazing—with the exception of, you know, cut-my-eyes-off bad. I believe that the character/s of the book adds a lot more to the experience of a reader. That being said, I felt nothing for the characters in Twenty Boy Smumer. By “characters,” I mean Anna and Frankie. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to know them as much as I would’ve like. Or maybe I don’t freaking see why they would be best friends in the first place! The only person I liked was Matt… but he dies! Ugh.

I know I said I felt nothing for the two main characters, but scratch that. I felt something for Frankie: pure hatred. Frankie is just as selfish and self-absorbed as I thought she would be. I get it, she’s grieving because her brother died. But for goodness’ sake, Anna loved Matt too—as a brother, best friend and a lover. Frankie keeps on acting like she’s the only person affected, and she doesn’t know how to consider other feelings but her own! I want to kick Anna for putting up with Frankie’s shit.

There was a lot of breaking the rules throughout their duration in Zanzibar Bay, and like the goody two shoes I am, I was really nervous with all of the duo’s rendezvous with the two hotties they meet on their summer holiday. But that’s not even the worse part, it is the fact that Anna and Frankie weren’t even caught and/or punished for sneaking out.

One of the aforementioned hotties is Anna’s “summer romance”, I guess you can say. But I can’t feel the romance. I literally cringe at some point.

I originally wanted to rate this a 1 out of 5, but decided against it. The only thing that earned the extra star was the first few chapters when Matt was still alive. I genuinely thought it would turn out as a great contemporary read, but it was a let down.

Would I recommend it?

Not really. It had potential in the first few chapters but I was unhappy on how it turns out. If you really think you like the plot, I suggest borrowing from a friend or your local library if they have it because I don’t think it’s worth the ten bucks.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

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Book Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Bronwyn Archer
Series: Valley of the Moon #1 (?)
Publication Date: April 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.


I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have mixed feelings about this one. I’m not really sure if I like it or not. But I can definitely say that this has more negatives than positives, for me at least.

When I first read the summary, all I could think was how great it sounds. I mean, come on, read this again:

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Now tell me that that isn’t the least bit interesting. You can imagine how pumped I was to start this book. Unfortunately though, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. The main thing that pulled me into requesting this book is the whole enigma of the clues about Lana’s mother’s past. Not a cheesy (and crappy) romance. The book didn’t provide much depth about her mother’s death. And it focused on the romance for far too long.

While we’re on that topic, let me say that the romance in this book is absolutely cringe worthy, 100% insta-love and not relevant at all. I’m talking about Lana and Caleb’s relationship, of course. They know next to nothing about each other but claims that it’s love plus, I feel like all they do is kiss. I just don’t get why authors feel the need to put romance in every single book even though it ruins the whole reading experience. Or maybe if the romance will make more sense in the sequel, at least make it a bit more believable. I’m not bashing the author, not at all, but the “love story” in this just ruined it for me.

Because I’m such a sucker for mystery novels, and also because the premise of this book still intrigues me despite the problems I encountered while reading, I still pushed through. It took a while for me to get through this because the writing just feels like it doesn’t flow correctly, I feel like it was all over the place, and that kind of put me off. And I got a bit confused with the family tree but I think it’s my fault, really. I read Me Before You alongside of this and when I read two books at once, especially when I prefer the other one much more, some details get jumbled up.

Towards the end, there came a sudden burst of action and it kind of threw me off—but not really in a bad way. Hey, I love action so I’m not complaining, I was just surprised is all. It just feels like Lana can’t catch a break at that time, so it made me feel anxious a lot.

Then, the ending. It’s a cliffhanger, but it’s also anticlimactic (what with all the action that happens beforehand).

Now let’s get to the (few) positives of the book.

If it isn’t obvious in the summary given above, this is kind of like a Cinderella retelling. I like how Ramona’s and Cressida’s characters were depicted in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like them because they make Lana’s life more complicated than it already is. What I mean is that I like how it looks like they’re not just there for the sake of more drama.

I can’t really say too much but the plot twists were good. Not amazing because they didn’t make me gasp or anything. Nevertheless, they’re good because I didn’t see them coming.

Also, why are most fictional characters named Alexander so goddamn swoon-worthy?! Um, I don’t need a whole page of Alexanders on my fictional-boyfriends list, thank you very much.

Overall, this is a mostly okay read. Has more negatives than positives but it doesn’t feel right if I rate it a 2 out of 5 because I still did enjoy this. It has potential but it didn’t deliver quite well. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out.

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Tag: Burn, Rewrite, Reread Tag

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Welcome to the first ever book tag I’m posting on this blog! Although admittedly, not the first one I’ve done as I sometimes answer book tags in my spare time. They’re just so fun, I wonder why it took me this long to post one. Anyway, no one actually tagged me to do this one, I just saw Melia’s post at The Immortal Readers (do yourself a favor and check it out) and thought I’d do it to.

  • Randomly choose 3 books. (You can use the “random” option on your Goodreads read shelf but I didn’t do that, I let my sister pick randomly instead.)
  • For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread. (Who in their right minds would let me rewrite these books?! But let’s just pretend I’m an amazing writer for the sake of the tag.)
  • Repeat until you completed three rounds. (I’m gonna do five just because I can, plus it’s really fun.)

No books were harmed in the making of this blog post.


ROUND 1

Ooh, this one’s quite easy!

BURN: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga – I pick this one for “burn” simply because I got bored halfway through the book. The 45%-ish of the book is interesting but after that, my attention was completely gone. I was so disappointed.
REWRITE: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – As I said earlier, I am by no means a decent writer, much less an amazing one who would rewrite a Rainbow Rowell book. So let’s just pretend, folks. I enjoyed this book so much, but I would like to give it a bit more plot.
REREAD: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I actually reread this book quite a lot. This is by far my favorite book in the contemporary romance genre. Every time I read this, I instantly brighten up a lot more. This is my go-to book whenever I’m stressed, in a bad mood or just wants to feel loved (even though it’s not directed at me, if that makes sense). I highly recommend this one.

ROUND 2

BURN: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler – This I would burn because I’ve encountered multiple problems while reading this. I gave this a rating of 2/5 stars because I only enjoyed the parts wherein Matt was still alive (I promise that’s not a spoiler).
REWRITE: Because I Love You by Tori Rigby – Although I absolutely loved this one, I’ll have to “rewrite” this to lessen the problems that Andrea Hamilton is juggling. As much as I believe that she’s strong enough to handle the dilemmas thrown at her, I’ll feel more comfortable about myself if I do poor Andie a favor.
REREAD: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – This is a favorite of mine. I’ve read this fairly recently but I’ll be no doubt rereading this multiple times in the future. This is such a lovely story and such lovely characters and such lovely writing. If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading this one because this is one of those books that speak to you (well, at least to me it did).

ROUND 3

I think my sister purposely chose these books she knew I love to see me suffer.

BURN: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – I’m so sorry for this. I seriously never would have thought that I’d put this book in the “burn” category. I love this book to pieces! Caymen! Alexander! NOOOOOO! Okay, I may be getting carried away, but I really do adore this book. The only reason why I’d put this as burn is because I know that I’m not gonna be actually burning it I’d be reading more books by Kasie West. And I’ll buy another copy!
REWRITE: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins  I really want this to be rewritten purely because I wanted more action for bad-ass Harper Price.
REREAD: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken1000000% reread. If that’s not enough zeroes for you to think that this is one, if not the only one, of my favorite dystopian series of all time, here’s some more: 100000000000000000000000%. I can’t express enough how much I love The Darkest Minds trilogy. Maybe I can, but that would take ages so you would have to do with those digits I left you.

ROUND 4

BURN: Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik  I gave this 4/5 stars—I can’t remember why because I currently think this deserves only 3 or, 3.5 tops. But I would burn this instead of rewrite it (I don’t want to!) because I see more potential in the other one. Read below.
REWRITE: Reboot by Amy Tintera – This I would rewrite because, as I said, I see potential. I only gave this a 2 out of 5 because I couldn’t bring myself to care for the most part. The first part of the book really got me going, but it fell through for me starting from the middle-ish part.
REREAD: Untethered by Katie Hayoz – This one, although I would’ve like several aspects to be altered, I would still gladly reread this.

 

ROUND 5

BURN: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson  When I saw that this book is included in the group that was randomly picked, I knew right away that I had to burn it (not literally). The book was just too problematic for me. I didn’t like the main character, not one bit. And that’s one of my bookish pet peeves, not liking the main character/the person narrating.
REWRITE: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey – I actually really liked this book but I’d like to rewrite it for a couple of reasons. First is to fucking put a reminder of some sort of whose POV I’m reading because I got so confused. And the other is to discard of the cringey romance.
REREAD: Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie – Another 5 star read for me. I am a huge mystery/crime novel fan. This book really thrilled me, although there were some parts wherein all they talk about is whiskey which I’m not a fan of, but I don’t see that as a problem of the book. Basically, this is just really great. And it takes place in Scotland’s Highlands!


So there we go. This was so much fun to do. Thanks again to Melia @ The Immortal Readers for introducing me to this tag. Do you agree with my choices? Why or why not? Let’s talk, leave a comment below! 😀

Book cover photos are taken from Goodreads.

 

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Summer TBR Wipeout 2016: Update Post #1

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Wait… what?! How is it already the 17th? Time goes by so fast, don’t you think? But anyway, here is an update on how I’ve been doing in the first part of the Summer TBR Wipeout 2016 challenge! If you haven’t already, and would like to see my full TBR for this challenge, here’s my introductory post.

I haven’t done as much reading as I would’ve liked to. In my defense, I have been enjoying the last summer days before our school starts. Does that count as an excuse? I don’t think so as I would much rather prefer staying indoors with a great book instead of drowning swimming or getting a sunburn tan. (I can’t really do both because it’s the start of the rainy season here although it’s scorching here, but you get my point.) Also, I’m sorry for the lack of content, I guess you can say, on my Goodreads page. I really suck at updating my reading progress. Okay, I’ve rambled long enough, here we go.

Books I’ve read:

  • Me Before You (5 out of  stars) is such an amazing book. If you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor and READ IT. It is breathtakingly spectacular. Magnificent. Stunning. Hold on, I’m running out of synonyms for “amazing”. But seriously, it is beautiful. It is now in my favorites shelf (both on Goodreads and in real life) and I highly recommend it. As I’ve said on Goodreads, I don’t know if I’ll be posting my review because it’s so all over the place—I may or may not have been sobbing uncontrollably while drafting it—and quite frankly, I don’t know if my review will give justice on how incredible the book is.
  • Dreamology (4 out of 5 stars) is a fun one. I bought the eBook of it and I’m now regretting that decision because the hardback looks so pretty! I delved into this one without expectations and I think that’s just perfect. I’ll be posting a review on this sometime in the future, not sure when because I don’t have a schedule, if you want to hear my thoughts about the bok.
  • I received an eBook copy of Valley of the Moon (3 out of 5 stars) from Xpresso Book Tours (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. I have mixed feelings about this and if you want to know more, watch out for my review coming up soon.
  • I’ve only got one word for Fangirl (4 out of 5 stars), ADORABLE! When I read this, I had the aim of finishing it before our family road trip (which is yesterday) but I haven’t acheived that goal and I can’t stop reading this book to save my life so I brought it along with me even though I get carsick when reading. I endured a whole lot of dizziness but it was well worth it. I’ll have a review of this up soon also, once I actually start drafting it. Please force me into doing so or else I’ll end up forgetting.

Books I’m currently reading:

  • If you look at my introductory post, Love, Lies and Spies isn’t on my TBR for this challenge. But when I was scrolling through my TBR in search of my next read, I just didn’t feel like reading any of them so I took to my bookshelves and saw this gem and decided that I’m in the mood for historical fiction. Now, I haven’t read ANY historical fiction. Crazy, I know! But I’m loving this so far.
  • The Bookshop on the Corner also isn’t included in my TBR but I’ve been dying to read this one and now I finally got around to it, yay. The story’s been great so far, too!

Books up next:

Although I probably won’t be able to finish all the books in my To Be Read list, I’m hoping to at least read the following:


Overall, I’m pretty happy with the books I’ve read. There’s no 2-star ratings yet which is so pleasant. Who would want to read books that they hate? Have you read any of the books listed here? Are you joining this challenge too? Let’s talk in the comments below!

All book cover photos are taken from Goodreads.