Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill | Book Review

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Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women. 

Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.

But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.

Date Published: September 11, 2018

Date Read: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Hatchette Books

Genre: Poetry

Number of Pages: 159

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

 

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Great premise, mediocre execution. 

I’ve read her previous poetry book Your Soul is a River and quite enjoyed the same. I remember tabbing few poems that resonated with me more than the others. It has a theme of self-love, self-healing, love, loss and heartbreak, which I appreciated. Now comes her newest poetry book Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul which delves on a different take on our most loved fairy tales. Incorporated herein, are the same themes she’s been actively advocating — feminism and self-love. And while I enjoyed some of the poems and stories in this collection, I found them to be repetitive to a fault. There are stories that could have been executed better. Some of the poems were too literal leaving less imagination to its readers. This collection of poetry is great for beginners, for those who just ventured out into the genre, but to those people who have been exposed to poetry, this book can be another mediocre one. While I appreciate the message this book was trying to convey, I just felt like it could be so much more. It had a great potential and premise but just wasn’t maximize to its full potential. Would you believe that it took me almost three months to finish this? Because to be completely honest, it didn’t hold much of my attention. I felt like I have read so many similar poems contained here, that it has become too overrated already. It doesn’t serve anything new, but only made a different spin on stories we knew by heart. While there is nothing wrong with that, but it could be a tricky one. An author should be able to incorporate newness in a familiar thing for it to work, but that isn’t the case here.

I was expecting something different, something more profound, something that would pack a punch – but didn’t get any of that here. I was trying to love it because of the feminist theme, but I just couldn’t  bring myself to do just that. This book was trying to put some twist on our most-loved fairy tales and at first that excited me, but half way through the book all the magic was lost on me. It was meh. I just finished the book just so I could move on to better books. I guess this book just wasn’t for me.

Still thank you Hachette books for sending me a copy!

 

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“I hope you summon your courage and you invite your demons to tea, and you learn to listen to all their stories.”
― Nikita Gill, Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh | Book Review

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Entertainment Weekly’s #1 Book of 2018 

New York Times Notable Book and Times Critics’ Top Books of 2018

The New York Times bestseller.

From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.

Named a Best Book of the Year by:
The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Amazon, Vice, BustleThe New York TimesThe GuardianKirkus ReviewsEntertainment Weekly, The AV Club, & Audible

Date Published: July 10, 2018

Date Read: January 2019

Publisher: Penguin Press

No. of Pages: 368 pages

Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Psycological Fiction

Setting: New York

Get Your Copy: Amazon | Book Depository

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Ottessa Moshfegh is a good writer, but her fiction maybe isn’t my cup of tea.

My first read for 2019 has proven to be somewhat a letdown. Otessa Moshfegh is an author I’ve been hearing for quite sometime, and I thought it is high time to finally get acquainted with her works. I gave My Year of Rest and Relaxation a try since it has been named by Time and The Washington Post  as Book Of The Year, a pretty huge thing to throw out there. And so the ever curious self in me picked it up, gave the most regal title of first read of the year. I was hoping it would start my 2019 reading year on a good note, but I have never been so wrong. I regret picking it up to be completely honest. or maybe it was just a bad timing. I don’t know. This book is definitely not for me. It feels like this book was just this huge montage of doctor visits, bodega visits, blacking out, ordering Chinese food and letting it stale, drinking too much pills, oh those poor kidney, participating in things our protagonist couldn’t remember anything about and this went on and on like a sick cycle. I was waiting for things to pick up but it was just a monotonous song lacking rhythm and rhyme. It was titled My Year of Rest and Relaxation but I was more restless and annoyed the more I read it. Half of the time I had no idea what was going on. I laughed a few times, yes, but that didn’t serve as a redeeming quality of the book. I feel like I don’t get the humor, I am supposed to laugh but I couldn’t find it in me to fully do it. It is as if everybody got the joke except me.

I love flawed characters, I enjoy reading about them. But our protagonist in this book is flawed yes, but I was more annoyed than interested. She was just flat, plain boring and even repulsive to a fault. Am I supposed to like her? I know I am not supposed to but at least I wast hoping there would be something I could relate to, or heck at least make it a worthwhile read. It was a struggle reading her narration, I just wanted it to end.

And that ending, wtf was that? Starting this book I thought it was centered on the 9/11 event, but boy was I wrong. It was January when she started taking Infermiterol, I thought after her stint with it with PingXi it will fast forward to the 9/11, but I just ended up frustrated because the 9/11 event seemed like an afterthought, I know it was somewhat a metaphor but it was so lost on me. I am not the right audience for this. I am one of the poor souls that won’t get Ottessa Moshfegh’s fiction.

Sad that this is how my 2019 reading year started, but I won’t stop reading until I find my next favorite read!

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Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay. I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.”

― Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation

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Nerdy Talks’ Top Reads of 2018

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Another year ended, another year full of adventures through the pages of books.  Though 2018 was not a great reading year for me, I am still pretty satisfied with the 40 books I managed to read this year, and I am happy I found few gems! Stories that will stay with me in this lifetime, without further ado, here are my Top Reads of 2018!

1. Circe by Madeline Miller

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❝I had no right to claim him, I know it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.❞ – Madeline Miller, Circe . ••• Just finished reading Circe! As much as I want to prolong the experience and the delight of reading it, I’ve come to the inevitable end – and what a great book! It rekindled my love for greek mythology! Now I crave to read everything greek myth! Pretty sure I will be reading Song of Achilles sooner rather than later. Circe was such a great narrator, I love her weaknesses and imperfections, and love her more because she always came out of it stronger and wiser. No one messes with Circe! Ahhhh new favorite book and new favorite author. I am one happy nerd! 😁 5/5⭐️ ••• Are you planning to read it? Please do!! You will not regret it!🧡 Circe is @bookofthemonth Selection this April! You can still get it!!! ••• #Circe #MadelineMiller #bookofthemonth #botmbookbassador #botm

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Circe is my first Madeline Miller book. And to be completely honest I did not know what to expect. It turned out to be at my advantage,  I kept my expectations at a minimum and so when the book blew me away I was completely head over heels with it. Circe is a greek god I knew next to nothing about, reading it was a mixture of excitement and of curiosity. Reading Circe is getting more out of a 400 page book, it was so condensed, you have to give your undivided attention to fully appreciate everything. And once you already immersed yourself in it, you’ll notice how everything becomes a distant sound, how you entirely space out completely oblivious of the world around you. That’s one thing a good book could give you, and Circe gave so much more than that. Circe is a character driven book, a kind of book I have not read a lot of. I am more of a plot-driven reader, Circe proved to be a breath of fresh air. This book will make you fall in love with Greek Mythology harder than ever! You can check my full review here. And now Madeline Miller is an author I would always be watching out for.

 

2. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

 

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“In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste.” – Andre Aciman; Call Me By Your Name ••• Just finished reading this book last night and I was reduced into a crying blob of a mess. I knew it was the inevitable end, I’ve been warned, but then it still made me bawl, wow that one hurts me more than I had anticipated! And the writing style is just pure masterpiece, I wish I could write like that! I have found a new favorite author and a new fave book! The hype surrounding the book and the movie is so real, probably one of few real things in this world, haha! I will watch the movie tonight. I partly listened to the audiobook, specially the “peach” part 🍑 *wink* and damn if that isn’t the hottest thing! Gahhh how to move on from this? Halp! Have you read it? What did you think? Full review to come! ••• . . . . . . . . #callmebyyourname #andreaciman #lgbtq #reading #ilovetoread #nerdytalksbookblog #pages #bookworm #bibliophile #booklover #writtenwords #justread #read #ipromotereading #vscocam #vscobooks #goodreads #blogger #bookblogger

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Call Me By Your Name is unapologetically honest and unabashedly deviant. It is that kind of book you never thought you needed. It will captivate you by how beautifully it was written and it would rip your heart as well by how everything unfolded. I read this book earlier in 2018 and knew to myself I am in for a good reading year. Call Me By Your Name isn’t my usual cup of tea, and that was what surprised me in the end, I didn’t expect to like it this much. Call Me By Your Name is a beautiful story on the discovery of sexual orientation and sexual preference, the inevitable confusion of the people involved and how were they able to reconcile with themselves. It was relevant and painted in such a beautiful light. You feel with the characters like it is second nature. I also immediately watched the movie after reading the book. Best reading experience if you ask me. Check out my review here.

3. Behind Closed Door by B.A. Paris

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❝I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine.❞ ― B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors ••• An excerpt from my review (link in bio): “There are scenes in this book that is just too much, so much so, that you find yourself momentarily stunned. Frozen for a brief moment psycho-analyzing what you just read. Your imagination gets the best of you and you involuntarily shudder. But then during those momentary reprieve, you couldn’t stop yourself thinking about it, so you pick it back up and resume reading, eager to know what will unfold, how will the story conclude or is there ever hope for the characters….” ••• I finished this book in just a day. It was a total page-turner. You can check my full review, link in bio. I really loved the ending, I literally had goosebumps after turning the last page. I highly recommend this one. ••• #BehindClosedDoors #BAParis #psychologicalthriller

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Behind Closed Doors shook me to my core. It was disturbing and intense, and I don’t say that often. Impossible to put down.  It’s the kind of book you finish in one sitting. It is about what seemed to be a perfect married couple with some horrifying secret they both have to keep. I never really had any plans reading Behind Closed Doors, but you know what they say, the perfect book will find you at the perfect moment. I was glad I came across this one, it is the kind of book I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. And can I just say, Behind Closed Doors has one of the best endings. That ending was so good I literally had goosebumps! It was the sweetest redemption, it was poetic justice.  Find out for yourself! Check my review of the book here.

 

4. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

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❝The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.❞ ― Christina Lauren; Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating ••• JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING is that book that will pull you out of your slump! That kind of book you never thought you needed. 😍 . . . ♥️Korean male protag (think of all those Oppas from the Kdramas you’ve been binge watching, I pictured Park Seo Joon all this tiiiime! Swoon! 😍) ♥️Female protag reminded me of Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) from New Girl. I swear she’s my new fave character! Love her eccentricities! And my god she’s funny af! ♥️Anything with asian I am sold! ♥️ Cute and fluffy!! I was a grinning fool after finishing it! ♥️ This is just begging to be made into a romcom (EHEM NETFLIX)!!! Verdict: 5/5⭐️ . Buddy read this one with @booksandacupofcoffee! I missed buddy reading with you! To more swoon-worthy stories! 😘 . ••• Please read it!!!! Thank me later ♥️ And Happy Birthday to Lauren, the other half of the genius pod! Please write more stories with Christina! You guys are awesome!! ••• #JoshAndHazelsGuideToNotDating #ChristinaLauren #nerdytalksreview #bookstagram #kindlepaperwhite #woodwe

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Ahhh this fluffy book! * insert heart eyes and heart fingers* After reading this one I couldn’t quite shake off the smile on my face. It was everything good and then some. I love how it featured an asian male protagonist (a Korean, no less! Oppa) . 2018 has really been a year of breaking stereotypes and I hope I could read more books like this in 2019! And the female protagonist, isn’t our usual damsel in distress, I love love love her eccentricities. Everything was played just right. This is just basically begging to be made into a Rom-Com movie, so Netflix do your magic!

 

5. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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❝If you can’t stand being with a woman who’s more successful than you, then leave her alone. She’s better off without you. If you actually love her, then know the value of that love and make it a promise. That is the only thing she needs from you.❞ — Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient ••• Thank you so much @berkleypub for this free book! Posted my review of The Kiss Quotient, link in bio. This is one of my fave books this year! The hype is real ya’ll. Own voices will always provide you with authenticity and rawness like no other. Truly a refreshing and adorable read! 😍 Thank you @hhoangwrites for writing this! I vow to read all the books you’ve written! ••• #TheKissQuotient #HelenHoang #tijneyewear #MichaelPhan #StellaLane #BerkleyPub #berkleybookstagram #QuinnLuxe

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The Kiss Quotient is by far the best romance book I’ve read of all time! I loved it so much it was bordering obsession already! I love that there is Asian representation, and an accurate one at that. Also The Kiss Quotient is an own voices book, it promises authenticity and rawness like no other. And oh my goodness, it has the steamiest scenes, something you wouldn’t expect. It was a total surprise and was well written you can’t help but hang on to everything that’s happening. It was more than a romance novel, and I highly believe this is how romance novel should be done!  You can check my review here.

6. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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❝And maybe some people are like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.❞ – Heather Demetrios, I'll Meet You There ••• Finished I’ll Meet You There the other day and boy did I miss reading books like this one. It brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bed time just to finish a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading. Sadly these days, I hardly have time and to be honest I am not as enthusiastic as before. So reading this one is such a breath of fresh air, it’s like the universe conspired for me to end up reading this book. . I’ll Meet You There is an honest, beautiful and realistic story about two flawed characters trying to deal with their own demons. I love how the romance was played out well, it was a slow burn and just right. Full review on the blog! Rating: 5/5⭐️ ••• Have you read this one? Can you recommend something like it? ••• #IllMeetYouThere #HeatherDemetrios #SkylarEvans #JoshMitchell

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I’ll Meet You There is a such a good YA book and I never thought I would enjoy it this much. It was everything YA promises to be: tugs at your heartstrings, wholesome and organic. There was this sense of maturity to it that was hard to miss. I’ll Meet You There is an honest, beautiful and realistic story about two flawed characters trying to deal with their own demons. I love how the romance was played out well, it was a slow burn and just right. I’ll Meet You There is a mixture of depth, great character build-up and realistic life-lessons. This was the story of loss, healing and young love. You can check my review here.

7. Littles Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

 

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❝Most of the time, everyone deserves more than one chance. We all do things we regret now and then. You just have to carry them with you.❞ – Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere. . ••• Tell me your fave books you’ve read this year. We are half of 2018 already! Where did all the months go? Hahah look who’s barely keeping up with her reading challenge. 🙋🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ . My ultimate faves so far: ❣️Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng ❣️Notes from a Public Tupewriter by Michael Gustafson ❣️Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman ❣️ Circe by Madeline Miller ❣️The First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith ••• Crossing my fingers I could read more great books this year! ••• #LittleFiresEverywhere #PenguinPress #celesteng

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Little Fires Everywhere is gold. It was a book that lived up to its hype. I didn’t know what I was in for when I started reading Little Fires Everywhere turns out I would be in one emotional ride. Little Fires Everywhere will bring you that sense of foreboding, that feeling that there’s always more to it than what was presented. The lives of the characters are so intricately woven together completing a masterpiece. God, to say I am floored would be an understatement. It was a slow burn (pun intended), but ultimately something that would seep through your bones! I’ve been meaning to read Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You but never got the chance to. After reading Littles Fires Everywhere  I knew in my hearts of hearts that I will be reading anything this author writes.

8. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

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❝Until then, I will continue to love you more and more with every struggle we face than I loved you when all was perfect.❞ ― Colleen Hoover, All Your Perfects ••• 💜Mini Review:💜 Colleen Hoover has done it again. There was a period when I shied away from CoHo books, (Confess and November 9 wasn’t really a big favorite), I was afraid my relationship with her books has already run its course, but boy was All Your Perfects the sweet redemption! . All Your Perfects completely wrecked me. I cried so much, my flu came back 😅 The puffy eyes and lack of sleep were all worth it. All Your Perfects was different from other CoHo books. I might be a little biased here. I think I love All Your Perfects more than Maybe Someday and It Ends With Us, and that is saying alot. This book tackled a topic I couldn’t fully relate to, but the way it was presented was amazing it pierced through my heart. I guess that’s the gauge of a good book, how it can transcend from the pages through the reader’s emotions, regardless if the reader could relate to it or not. . ✔️Imperfect Marriage ✔️You have the CoHo’s signature weird/extraordinary first meet-up ✔️It will make you cry, like literally river of tears ✔️Fast read 5/5⭐️ . Should you ever need someone to talk to after you’ve read it. My DMs are open. Hahah I know the feeling, because after I’ve read it I immediately needed someone to pour and share my feelings with. Thank you @jayne.vs.books and @booksandacupofcoffee for being my support through that inevitable book hangover! 💜 ••• #AllYourPerfects #ColleenHoover #CoHorts #QuinnandGraham #Atriabooks

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Colleen Hoover has done it again! Wow this book made me cried buckets! I didn’t know I could cry like that over a book. But oh my goodness this book just brought out all these crazy emotions I have inside me, I was one tear away from having an emotional breakdown, hahah I kid you not! All Your Perfects is a story about an imperfect marriage. Colleen Hoover’s writing style just keeps getting better through the years. I really thought I was over Colleen Hoover, but boy this is the proof that once a Hoover fan, always a Hoover Fan. You can check my review here.

9. First Person and Other Stories by Ali Smith

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“You’re not the first person who was ever wounded by love. You’re not the first person who ever knocked on my door. You’re not the first person I ever chanced my arm with. You’re not the first person I ever tried to impress with my brilliant performance of not really being impressed with anything. You’re not the first person to make me laugh. You’re not the first person I ever made laugh. You’re not the first person full stop. But you’re the one right now. I’m the one right now. That’s enough, yes?” ― Ali Smith, The First Person and Other Stories ••• The First Person and Other Stories is my first five-star read for 2018, my first Ali Smith too! I really enjoyed it. The writing style is very distinct. Reading this book is like having a good and intellectual conversation with a stranger that you will replay for days on end. My full review is up on my blog, link in bio 😊 ••• Are you a fan of Ali Smith too? Which of her books is your fave? Which should I read next?. ••• #TheFirstPersonandOtherStories #AliSmith #ShortStories

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Finally my first Ali Smith book! I have been collecting her works since 2016, I have heard tons of amazing things about her, but I never got around to actually reading one of her books. I remedied that this 2018 and finally read her collection of short stories – The First Person and Other Stories. As said in the synopsis, Ali Smith explores the ways and whys of storytelling, and that what she did in this collection. It was weirdly satisfying, and I don’t get that much often. The First Person and Other Stories gives off dark humour and bits and pieces of everyday life that you often take for granted. I loved how every story had its own wit, its own take on everyday mundane lives and turned it into something meaningful and relevant. How something so trivial can have such a rippling effect in the future. This book didn’t stop at just telling stories, it transcends into this realm of understanding human flaws that was presented in a captivating light, not just highlighting the good parts but most especially the bad ones. That once it all meld together it was just a beautiful piece of an odd art. You can check my review here.

10. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver is my first Naomi Novik read. I have heard a ton of amazing things about her debut book – Uprooted so I had a quite high expectation with Spinning Silver and it did not disappoint. Spinning Silver is a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. At first I had a hard time getting into the story but once I got the hang of it, I wasn’t able to stop, it gripped me like a vise.  Spinning Silver was written so vividly and beautifully it is as if you are there inside the story. You cannot miss its lyrical writing. It is whimsical, layered, complex and unconventional. Truly a gem. You can check my review here.

and you thought I was done there. I’m adding one more book in this list and that is

11. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami will always have a special place in my heart. Back in 2014 when I am not yet a book collector, I have read Norwegian Wood and fell in love with it, I knew then that I had to fill my bookshelf with his works. His writing style will always be a thing of beauty, it has this calm yet impactful quality to it that is still very apparent in his collection of short stories – Men Without Women. My fave stories in this book were Men Without Women, Kino and Independent Organ. Men Without Women is about the despairs of men and how they go about it. This is a good place to start if you want to read Haruki Murakami’s books.

 

So that is it guys, the books I enjoyed immensely. I am hoping 2019 would be a great reading year for me. I cannot wait to read my next favorite book. Thank you for sticking around, even if I have a very scarce posts here and there. I promise to do better for 2019! May you have a fruitful year ahead of you, and I hope you’ll get to read your next favorite book too! Happy New Year, fam!

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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | Book Review

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Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

Date Published: July 10, 2018

Publisher: Del Rey

Date Read: October 2018

No. of Pages: 480 pages

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

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Whimsical, complex, layered and unconventional. A true gem!

Spinning Silver is my first Naomi Novik book and it definitely did not disappoint. Naomi Novik had this unique way of narrating the story. With alternating multiple point of views, it surely needed some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to digest. I was so sure to give this book a 4-star rating, because to be completely honest I was confused probably half the time, but this is on me, I won’t be blaming the book for my confusion. I was sick half of October right about the same time I was reading the book so the meds might have affected my reading experience (hahaha you need not know this but I felt the need to explain myself). Spinning Silver is a loose retelling of Rumplestiltskin, but don’t rely too much on it being a retelling as it also feels like an original story.

Complex narration

Spinning Silver was told through the different characters’ point of view. There was no indication as to who is narrating, you just have to read through the first few sentences and take it from there. This is understandably difficult to follow, but as I’ve mentioned once you get the hang of it, it’ll become easier to know who was narrating the story. Through this kind of narration, the author adds texture to the whole book. It might work for some and might not, but as for me it worked out pretty fine. It is like you’ll never know which point of view you’ll get so you’ll read through and before you know it you’re already hooked. My favourite point of view will always be that of Miryem and Irina. These two ladies, presented the story in such straight forward manner, that you couldn’t help but crave more of it.

Fierce Heroines

I love that this book dwells on strong female characters. We have Miryem, Irina and Wanda, our main protagonists. Miryem’s character come off as a strong person who takes no shit from anyone. I loved how she managed to save her family from poverty through the skills she has been given, that later on led her to be a part of something bigger and beyond her comprehension. Irina, on the other hand is the daughter of the duke, who started off weak but ended up standing for the people she loves, evoking true characteristics of a leader. And we have Wanda, who had an abusive father was taken under Miryem’s wing to help out in the household as payment for his father’s debt, learned to stand up for herself and her brothers. Wanda longed for a normal family and found it in Miryem. These ladies each struggled on their own, yet came out of it not completely unscathed but definitely wiser and better than they’ve been before. I love how this book encapsulated women’s strength and resilience despite the unfortunate hands they were dealt with.

 

Whimsical World

I have to give it to Naomi Novik for building this whimsical world. I love how it was written so vividly and how she was able to interweave the lives of the characters making this beautiful tapestry of complex and gripping world. I swear it is something you wouldn’t be able to get enough of. The shift of point of view making a shift unto this parallel world as well surely added beauty to the whole story. It is engrossing and pure entertainment.

Slow Pace

I have to admit that there are parts that the book can definitely do away with, and also there are parts that are quite dragging. There are parts that I wish could have gone faster so as to hold my attention better and to give a more exciting vibe. The book generally gave off this calm mood, but also provided the necessary intensity as the need for it arose. There are parts that I wished were stretched more or should have been elaborated better, and there are parts as well that could have been shortened. This is one of the issues I have for this book, but despite this, the ending made up for everything. I have already resigned to the idea that I wouldn’t be getting the ending I wanted, that this book would not have the romance I have been craving for. I was fine with it, until the last three pages where I grinned like a fool. I reread those last pages, willing it to be longer, finding something more than what was written, because oh boy I wanted so much more, in fact I demand a novella, or an epilogue, just please give me something more.

Lyrical Writing

I don’t know why I have waited this long to read a Naomi Novik book, had I known that her writing style is lyrical I could have started with Uprooted the first time it came out. It is such a pleasure to read something so poetic and rich, I couldn’t help but be in awe of her style. Her writing isn’t something I usually come across with, and that’s why whenever I do I make sure I savour it.

It was indeed a great reading experience, even if it took me quite a while to finish it, I am so glad I was able to read it, I am so glad I had the attention span for this kind of fantasy. It has been a while since I last read a fantasy book, and I am happy it was Spinning Silver. This book was so good, I’ll be thinking about it for days.

 

 

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“A robber who steals a knife and cuts himself cannot cry out against the woman who kept it sharp.”
Naomi Novik

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❝A robber who steals a knife and cuts himself cannot cry out against the woman who kept it sharp.❞ —  Naomi Novik, Spinning Silver ••• Finished this book last night, finally after half a month. 😅 This is a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, but don’t rely too much on it being a retelling, as it also feels like an original story. The alternating povs surely confused me the first time, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and adds texture to the whole narration. This is my first Naomi Novik, and now I understand why she is loved by many. I enjoyed this book especially the last three pages! Hahaha I swear I’ve been rooting for that to happen. Naomi Novik made this complex and layered world that I couldn’t get enough of. I’m definitely reading Uprooted sooner rather than later. 5/5⭐️ ••• #SpinningSilver #NaomiNovik #botmbookbassador #bookofthemonth #botm

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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Book Review

 

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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Date Published: June 5, 2018

Date Read: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Berkley

No. of Pages: 323

Setting: Palo Alto, California

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Source: Copy provided by the publisher

Get Your Copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

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One of my favorite books of 2018!!!

I broke yet another rule I have set for myself – that is not to join in with the hype. You see hype highly affects the reading experience for me, and I wanted to enjoy it with the least influence as possible. But damn, the hype surrounding The Kiss Quotient is so real I’m so happy I jumped right in. I am afraid there’s no getting over it anytime in the foreseeable future. I’m even too scared this book will put me in the biggest slump, but know what? I’m fine with it. I’ll use that time to savor every moment, go back to the pages I have tabbed, and boy I have tabbed so many, it’s almost the whole book. A reread is definitely in order. And when I’m through with that, I’ll proceed to googling Daniel Henney our Michael Larsen and dream about him too. I LOVE THE BOOK SO MUCH, IT IS ALMOST AN OBSESSION.

Steamy, oh boy, why does it feel so suddenly hot in here?

The Kiss Quotient is more than what meets the eye. And boy I didn’t expect it to be too steamy! Too steamy, I literally felt I needed air whilst I am inside a fully air-conditioned room. The steamy scenes were perfectly and vividly written that you can very well feel the temperature go up. That’s some serious talent there, and not everyone can do just that. And don’t get me wrong, it is not just these steamy scenes that sold me. It was so, so much more, it was also sweet and tender, and ahhhh all the good stuff. It was not smut, it was adorable and fun! The hot and steamy scenes were played just right.

Asian Representation

Let’s admit it guys, asian representation is still something the publishing world needs to work on. So much so that an asian like me is too delighted to see an asian character portrayed well in a book, this shouldn’t be something we should get excited about. It should be a normal thing — to see asian everywhere and not just some fancy thing that happens once in a blue moon if we are lucky. Right representation truly matters and The Kiss Quotient was able to let us in on a fraction of Vietnamese culture, which is not far too different from other culture in Asia. Asians are big on family, we put too much value on our family so much so that we will do almost anything for them. This was portrayed in this book, and it was an amazing depiction. Michael Larsen, our male protagonist is half Vietnamese, and the way he made sacrifices for his family especially his mother was truly remarkable. True signature of Asians, if you ask me.

Autism and Own Voices

Another topic that needs more attention and more representation is Autism. The Kiss Quotient gave us a glimpse of what it is to have autism and how one manages her day to day life with it. I specifically commend this book since it was written by an author who is diagnosed with autism. I am drawn to own voices books, there is authenticity and rawness you couldn’t find anywhere. And that is the case here, the author was able to provide us with a character with depth and realness about her that is hard to miss. Stella is a very smart and successful woman who had struggles when it comes to socializing which leads to having troubles having a romantic relationship with someone. She’s being pressured to have a boyfriend and eventually settle down, but all these seemed to be a challenge for her, and so she hired a male escort – which was Michael, this half-Vietnamese, half Swedish mighty specimen of a man, And the story took off into this steamy, swoon-worthy and all things amazing reading experience. Their first encounter? I was seriously contemplating to take a half day and go home and just read the day away, (yeah I was reading at the office, rebel). Don’t you just love when that happens? The book is so good you just don’t want to participate in life even if it is something that pays the bills! Hahaha

Many may not be aware of the Netflix series Atypical, the lead character has autism as well. This is why I was able to understand Stella in this book. Also the reason why I enjoyed it so much more than what I had anticipated. There are actions that may put someone off, but it is what the book required, it is what it is, and I had no problems with how Stella was portrayed. To me it was just spot on and amazing, again the authenticity is really palpable. And might I add, I love how Michael didn’t even bat an eye when he knew that Stella has autism, because he understood, he has this level of maturity that men seemed to lack these days (haha), he was patient and just the most logical person there was. He understood Stella in a way two people in love can.

This is how romance should be done!

The Kiss Quotient is definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It was everything I needed and everything I truly enjoyed. It was yes, predictable, because duh this isn’t a thriller, but the best part of the reading experience is how everything leads to that ending. The story chapter per chapter, the build up and all those sweet moments between Stella and Michael. It has been a month since I last read the book and I’m still thinking about it up to now. I can see myself rereading it whenever I need some pick me upper or when life has been unbearably stressful. Helen Hoang instantly became a favorite author, I vow to read all her books until kingdom come! So this goes without saying, this book i worth your time, go ahead and pick it up!

 

 

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“Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings. It dragged you down, forced you to places you didn’t want to go”
― Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient

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Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish. Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.

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{Thank you @berkleypub for this free book.} . THE KISS QUOTIENT by HELEN HOANG . Synopsis: A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick. Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position… Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic ••• Oh my freak yes!!! I have been eyeing this book for a while now since almost everyone I trust for book recommendations has been raving about this book. It’s is all over my bookstagram and twitter feed, not to mention the great reviews it has been getting over at goodreads. This may be too hyped up, but I can already feel it in my bones I will totally love this one! Thank you so much Berkley for sending me a copy!!! You guys are amazing! 💙💙💙 ••• #TheKissQuotient #HelenHoang #BerkleyPublishing #BerkleyBookstagram #partner

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | Book Review

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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Date Published: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Books

Date Read: September 2, 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Setting: London, England; Bangkok, Thailand

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository  | Book Outlet

 

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Disturbing and intense! I couldn’t put it down!

Behind Closed Doors will suck you in this vortex of twisted story behind what seemed to be a perfect marriage. I love how the blurb went on as vague as possible without any shred of a clue. I loved how it could toy with your mind and let your imagination go wherever it wishes to go and then smack you in the face of what really was the story all about. None of what you have expected, not even remotely close. I would try to be as vague in my review, without touching anything that could give the book away, so bear with me on this one. Just hold on to my word, this book is really good.

I was hooked from the very first chapter up until that last sentence. I loved that our narrator, Grace, was dropping subtle hints here and there, letting you picture out and keeps you guessing what is so wrong with her marriage and her husband — Jack Angel. This is what got me hooked, the small hints thrown in between. It’s like you’re given a purpose, that goal to figure out at the earliest possible opportunity what is really happening. Maybe Grace is crazy, maybe Jack is the ever loving husband. All the possibilities are there, and they are endless. Understandably, this book isn’t for everyone. There are scenes in this book that is just too much, so much so, that you find yourself momentarily stunned. Frozen for a brief moment psycho-analyzing what you just read. Your imagination gets the best of you and you involuntarily shudder. But then during those momentary reprieve, you couldn’t stop yourself thinking about it, so you pick it back up and resume reading, eager to know what will unfold, how will the story conclude or is there ever hope for the characters.

(I would not go in detail about the characters, as it would give too much of the book away. But know this, the characters will surprise you, may it be in a revolting way or in an oh-yes-i-am-so-rooting-for-you kind of way. Each character had depth and complexity within them that complements each other and the whole plot. And so sorry George Clooney, you were dragged into all this mess!)

And though I have few issues myself, I didn’t dwell on it too much. The plot wasn’t as solid or as fool-proof but it was more than enough to satisfy its readers. The characters needed more of a back story as well, they could have been presented in a more complex way, but again, I didn’t dwell too much on that, because despite all this, the book was able to deliver, more than what you have bargained for.

You see, a psychological thriller will never please everyone. There would be people who may be appalled by it, and in the same vein there may be people would love it so much. Psychological thrillers can be a hit or miss, depending how the cards are played. Behind Closed Doors was executed well. It definitely had the ability to constantly put its reader at the edge of their seats. The shift of chapters from past to present made the book more appealing. It sets the tone of the whole book, how one chapter in the Present correlates to the chapter in the Past solidifying the plot and making the book more coherent. Each chapter served to be a glimpse of what happened before and what is about to transpire. Giving something for the reader to look forward to and something to ponder on.

That ending was so good I literally had goosebumps! It was the sweetest redemption, it was poetic justice. It was everything done wrong back fired! It was vindication, and I felt triumphant with the character! When I wasn’t sure whether to give this book full five stars, it was the ending that closed the deal for me. It was so good, I was mentally giving BA Paris a high five! Uttering to myself, that is how psychological thriller should be made – with vindication. Truly, revenge is a dish best served cold! It has been a while since I last read a psychological thriller. It was that kind of book that I never knew I needed. Now I vow to read every book she has ever written. This goes without saying, I found a new favorite author and a new favorite book! Highly recommend.

 

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“I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine”
― B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Book Review

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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Date Published: March 20, 2015

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date Read: August 31, 2018

No. of Pages: 355

Setting: Charlottesville, Virginia

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble  | National Bookstore 

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Movie was way better than the book!

I went against the unwritten rule of every reader: to read the book first before watching the movie. It was actually the movie that pushed me to read the book. I wanted to know if Movie Peter was just as dreamy as the Book Peter.

Verdict: I liked Movie Peter way more than the Book Peter. Movie Peter was less of an asshole than the book counterpart. I know we only get the sugar-coated version in the movie, and maybe that’s was what I wanted. Book Peter did a lot of things that frustrate me. Him being head over heels Gen, kind of put me off. At least in the movie it was down-played. Okay enough with the comparison with the film!

While I did get the whole dimension of the characters, understood why they acted the way they did, I was looking for something more. YA can be a bit tricky for me, there are YA books that really wow me, and there are others that fell short. Much like any other kind of genre. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before fell a little short for me. It was a little childish for my own liking. Our narrator Lara Jean, sounded like she was 12, and I almost cringe to know that she’s almost 17. Also, why does it feel like YA books written around 2012-2015 revolved around some high school drama. Like high school is the be all and end all of things. My adult self couldn’t stop rolling her eyes, but I’m aboard the train, so might as well enjoy the ride right?

If you like fake boyfriend-girlfriend trope, then this book will satisfy your cravings. I am so drawn to this kind of trope it has become unhealthy haha.  It feels like I needed to get my hands on every book with this kind of trope. But can we please stop with love triangles? It was so 2012, let’s just move past it can we? Nope? Okay.

The plot of the whole book was preposterous, but I bought it anyway. (But was that the whole point of fiction, to get us out of the crushing weight of reality? hahah) It was so ridiculous you’ll get curious how will the author pull it off. And curious, I’ve been. But after reading it, I instantly needed something more mature to cleanse my palate. So much so, that I immediately jumped into reading a psychological thriller. The shift was a breath of fresh air.

And can we talk about the ending? It ended in a cliffhanger, which leaves you with no choice but to read the sequel. Which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would or at least maybe not in the near future. That ending could have been so much better, at least in the movie there was a period or at least a semi-colon, the book ended in a comma or ellipses, which frustrated me. It could have been better. There could have been one more chapter to tie everything up and make it more put-together. Truly, it was the ending that was a total let down. But all things considered, the book was easy to get through, fun and light to read, cute too! Especially the Halloween part, that was my ultimate fave, sad it wasn’t included in the movie. This book is the perfect companion when you needed to pass time and just for once forget about the complications that is your life. Ultimately did just that for me! And for that, I am grateful.

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“Do you think there’s a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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❝Do you think there's a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?❞ ― Jenny Han; To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ••• Done reading! Verdict: 3.5⭐️ I liked Movie Peter than Book Peter. Book Peter was just hard to like. I hate it when he kept on insisting that he and Gen had history and blah blah blah. He does things that frustrate me, at least in the movie it was kind of sugar-coated already and he was less of an asshole 😅 Also I didn’t like how the book ended 🙃 it was requiring you to read the sequel, which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would. Or maybe I’ll just see what the fuss is about John Ambrose McLaren or I could wait for Netflix sequel 😁 ••• Also thank you @keepreadingkim hahah for kind of buddy reading with me! Hahah I suck at buddy reading! I’ll do better next time 😉 ••• #ToAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore #PeterKavinsky #LaraJean #Covinsky

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