0

Book Review: The Row by J.R. Johansson

27414418
Book Title: The Row
Author: J.R. Johansson
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
button (5)

A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.

Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.

Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.


MY THOUGHTS

Goddamn! This book is amazing. From the moment I read the summary, I knew I would enjoy this but I didn’t expect that I would love this so much. I think I read this book in less than a day, and considering how slow of a reader I’ve become, that just shows how much I’ve enjoyed reading this one.
To start off with this review, let me just say that this is very well-written. The scenes, however intense, are really easy to follow. Also, the way how the author gives  information a bit at a time didn’t irritate me as I thought it would. It just made me want to devour the book more.
Riley’s character, the protagonist, is also very well-written. Her emotions practically seep through the pages which made me empathize for her, and the character development is really evident. The things she was going through were really hard and I think the author did a great job in making Riley’s response to the situation realistic. Also, I like how Riley took it upon herself to find the answers she needs and not try to change her dad’s case because, let’s face it, what difference can a 17 year old make as compared to professionals. Likewise, I also appreciate how the other characters gradually become more open in giving Riley answers instead of thinking of her as a six year-old kid.
Moving on to Jordan, that perfect human being. I love him so much. He is really caring, determined, honest and smart. He also let his emotions take control at times which just shows that he is human too, and I absolutely love him for that. I honestly think that this book could have done with more scenes of Jordan and Riley because the romance here wasn’t really emphasized much. But I also think that the romance was perfect just the way it is. I don’t really understand myself, to be honest.
And can I talk about Matthew for a bit? He is Jordan’s younger brother and he just makes me smile! Scenes with Matthew are just so refreshing from the heavy drama related to the main plot. I miss that little ball of sunshine already. Now I want a younger brother as much as ever!
On the other hand, the mystery aspect in this book is great. I had a few guesses every now and then but I did not anticipate how things would unfold. The ending is amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend this to lovers of contemporary thriller. I can’t wait to try Johansson’s other works!
All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.
Advertisements
0

Book Review: Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny

40014443Book Title: Summer Constellations
Author: Alisha Sevigny
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

button (5)

Julia Ducharme is ready for a fresh start. Her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, and now she just wants to enjoy peak season at the campground her family owns. Maybe this will be the year her annual summer fling with Dan Schaeffer becomes something more?

But her summer dreams are quickly shattered. First, Dan arrives for vacation with a new girlfriend in tow, and then Julia discovers this may be her last summer in the only home she’s ever known.

Crushing medical bills have brought her single mom to the brink of bankruptcy, and a wealthy developer is sniffing around the campground. He sees what Julia sees: lush woods, a pristine lake, miles of trails for adventure. Unlike Julia, he thinks this is the perfect spot for a casino resort.

Heartbroken and afraid, Julia looks to the stars for some perspective. Taking her telescope down to the dock one night, she has a chance encounter with a guitar-playing boy who offers some helpful advice. Too bad this handsome stranger is the developer’s son, Nick Constantine.

As plans for a resort move forward, Julia is desperate to find a solution that doesn’t mean leaving the lake. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his father’s aggressive business tactics. He promises that, together, they can thwart the sale.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever she trust him with her heart?

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is a story of lost summers, hidden treasure and love written in the stars. It is also a thoughtful reflection on what it means to love — and leave — one’s childhood home.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

When I first saw this on Netgalley, I just knew that I had to request this. The book summary sounded great, and not to mention the gorgeous cover! I knew that I would like this, but I didn’t expect to love Summer Constellations.

To start off, Julia Ducharme is such an interesting character which I connected to instantly. Julia is witty, sweet, passionate, and I think her love for astronomy kinda rubbed off on me; I learned several cool facts! Aside from that, Julia wants to save their campground not only because it’s the only home she and her family grew up in, but she also wants to preserve the beautiful nature from being turned into a casino.

Nick Constantine, on the other hand, is the epitome of perfection. He is just so charming, gentle, and the best boyfriend anyone can ever ask for. He just knows what to say all the time, and he jumped in front of a freaking skunk for Julia and her little brother! Other than that, I love how Nick and Julia’s conversations are mostly about stuff that matter. Not just banter and small talk.

And don’t forget Caleb, Julia’s little brother. Oh, how I love that nine-year-old kid. He didn’t let his condition hinder him from helping out to save the campground. His passion and bravery is just so amazing to read about.

Furthermore, I love how the book mainly focuses on the relationship between Julia and her family, and Julia and Nick; the fact that Julia’s best friend, Paige, went to Osaka in the first chapter of the book contributed to that hence she wasn’t present in most of the book. I would have like a little bit more depth to Julia and Paige’s friendship, though.

From the way it was described, I think that the campground is breathtaking and the author did a great job in painting a picture of it in the readers’ mind. I actually have the urge to go to a campground as well for the summer.

I definitely recommend this book, especially for fans of contemporary books. This a short but sweet, humorous book perfect for the summer! I will surely be on the look-out for more of Sevigny’s works.

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

0

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

9627755

Book Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Publication Date: August 14th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14+ years old
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

button (5)

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.


MY THOUGHTS

I started reading this because it has been sitting on my shelf for so long, just waiting to be picked up. When I was about done though, a personal problem came up and then I was desperate. Desperate to escape the cruel reality, that is. Something horrible has happened and I don’t know how to make things easier for me and my family, so I decided to escape from my problems again. I couldn’t think of any other thing more perfect than reading. Despite the chaos going on outside the four walls of my bedroom, I read. And read, and read. I got lost in Isla’s world and before I knew it, I  forgot my problems and was closing the book, bawling my eyes out.

First of all, let me just say that  you don’t effing know how much I missed Anna and St. Clair… And Meredith, and Josh, and Lola and Cricket, and all the banter too. *stares guiltily at the floor* Okay, you caught me. A small part of me only wanted to read this one in hopes of getting a glimpse of Anna and St. Clair again.

This book just made me so nostalgic of Anna and the French Kiss, and you know how much I love that, you probably don’t but whateverI really love the setting, School of America in Paris (SOAP) because I kind of got this cozy and homely feel to it because of AatFK. And I really grew attached to that setting from the first book so it was so nice to have read another story that takes place there.

Now enough with Anna and the French Kiss. Although Isla and Josh technically already have had feelings for each other before this book started, I can’t shake the feeling of insta-love I’m getting.

You know how with some books you feel like the story unfolds right in front of you? Well, it technically does with all books because you’re reading the book in front of you, but I hope you get my point. But there’s those ones that just grab you out of reality and plunges you in its world; this is one of those books.

In terms of the female main characters of this series, I didn’t really feel attached to Lola and Isla compared to how I felt for Anna. About Lola, you can about read that on my review here. But let’s talk about Isla. When the book began, I was immediately starting to warm up to her. She’s just like me. Just minus the really high grades and the charisma, I can really see the few similarities with our personalities. But as the story goes on and as her relationship with Josh was tested, I was kind of unreasonably irked. Unreasonable because I still got annoyed with her although I know that it was the jealousy and insecurity fueling her insensitive words and actions. But as the development of her character goes on, my unease started to fade.

Josh is my absolute favorite character in this story. He is just one of the best boyfriends anyone can ever ask for. He is so considerate. Even though he often breaks rules, he becomes hesitant to do things that might endanger Isla’s record and reputation. He is such an understanding guy, I bet his patience is longer than the River Nile. Seriously. Despite all the hurtful things everyone tells him, he still doesn’t lose his shit. Plus he can freaking draw! He has unrealistic skills.

I would’ve loved to get to know Kurt a bit more. He’s just such a sweet guy and he seems like the ideal (boy) best friend for me. I was so sad when he got mentioned less and less when Isla and Josh started dating.

And Hattie, I just have to mention Hattie. She is Isla’s youngest sister and despite all her bitchiness, she isn’t as bad as she seem to be. And holy shit. This book might have just solved one of the things that I’m too stupid to realize: why my youngest sister always does stuff to get under my skin.

At first I thought that the majority—if not the entirety — of this story would focus on Isla’s relationship with Josh, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was a bit of development in the family aspect as well.

And finally, the ending is so perfect. I won’t go on about it because of duh! spoilers.

I recommend this book to lovers of contemporary. Although I gave this one a perfect rating, it still isn’t gonna land on my favorites shelf simply because I didn’t like it enough for it to be put there. I don’t mean to be harsh as this book really is great, but that’s just how I feel about it.

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


P.S. Hello friends, I’m back. Finally, I will admit defeat to myself since I’ve realized that it is impossible for me to keep this blog going all-year round. School is just so hectic as most of you probably know, but I just really love blogging so I can’t abandon this. Therefore, I made a compromise with myself that I would just keep on blogging every summer vacation then take a break whenever school starts again. And, oh, in case some of you were wondering this review was written almost a year ago, and it has been sitting in my drafts, waiting to be uploaded. I haven’t read any books this summer yet but I’m looking forward to reading tons. Thank you and have a great day!

0

Favorite 2016 Reads & Bookish Resolutions for 2017

giphy

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

Luxe has
read 0 books toward
her goal of
50 books.
hide

 


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! ❤

1

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

21863335

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

button (5)

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.