Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay | ARC Review #PatronSaintsPH

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A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

Publication Date: June 2019

Date Read: June 2019

Publisher: Kokila

No. of Pages: 318

Setting: Manila, Philippines

Genre: YA Contemporary

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A very timely and relevant book. It enscapsulated what Filipinos go through. A perfect book to showcase to the world what has been going on in our society – and a brave book at that.

First off would like to thank JM from BookFreakRevelations Book Worms Unite PH and Penguin Random House for making me a part of the Patron Saints PH Tour! It is an honor to be a part of this!

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Upon reading the blurb of this book for the first time, I knew then I had to read it. It is very brave for the author to come up with such a controversial book and I wanted to be a part of it by reading and reviewing it. Patron Saints of Nothing is not your typical feel good YA book, it is not your average dose of self-discovery and coming of age, this book is monumental. This book is the perfect depiction of the lives of the Filipinos from outside looking in. It was honest and gritty, it was relevant and timely. It was everything a good book and then some.

Relevant and very timely. 

Patron Saints of Nothing will take us to the nitty gritty details of Duterte’s war on drugs and how it was depicted in the media and what really lies beyond it. We are taken into Jay’s journey on finding out what happened to his cousin, Jun who was a victim of Duterte’s war on drugs and everything that happened in between it all. An own voices book that would transcend from pages to reality. It is with much joy to see it hit the international bookshelves and be read by many not only by Filipinos, in that alone I am beaming with pride.

Good sense of awakening whilst highlighting Filipino cultures taking the good ones with the bad.

Reading this book can be likened to watching a good Filipino Indie film, you get that sense of awakening that only good films/books can ever give. To my fellow Filipinos, think of On The Job and Buy Bust not as violent or as intense as those two films, but an ultimately softer and subtler version of it. I commend how this book presented the predicament and the status of the Philippine nation, that although we are known to be one of the happiest people we too have monsters we carry day in and day out. I love how things weren’t sugar-coated, how it was presented in both the good light and the bad one. How every country has its own flaws to deal with, how it isn’t perfect but ultimately human, vulnerable, fragile but resilient. This book also highlighted the stark contrast of how privileged Americans are as opposed to Filipinos or other race for that matter. It gave us a taste of what it is for Jay Reguero a Filipino-American to get to know his roots and be able to relate to it. I love how Jay’s character was equal parts curious and determined. His character for me wasn’t the most likable, honestly Jay frustrates me sometimes, but this was what made his character realistic. The book’s ability to give distinct characters was amazing in itself. We have Tito Maning, Jay’s father, Grace, Angel, Tita Ines, Tita Chato and Jun amongst all the others, characters that gave color on what it is like to be Filipinos. A true depiction, taken with everything else, the good and the bad.

Few inaccuracies and inconsistencies. 

There were few inaccuracies but maybe it is just me being critical since this is a book about my country and about my culture. All these didn’t affect the story, it was just something one can easily shrug off. But nearing towards the end, I just had a few issues with it. I don’t want to spoil the book, but let me give you a bit of a hint. I just didn’t like how the truth was presented to Jay. I am pretty sure that’s not how it works in Catholic teachings. I am not Catholic myself but I went to a Catholic school in high school and in college, thus I am very exposed to their teachings and ways. This specific instance how the truth was revealed to Jay didn’t sit well with me. I was a bit disappointed how it was played out. This was only the major issue I had, thus refraining me from giving it full five stars.

The message the book is trying to convey.

Patron Saints of Nothing gave us that sense of removing one’s self from the situation and see it in a bigger perspective or in another light. It made us ponder on the frailty of humans and how this doesn’t define what their fates should be or it shouldn’t define whether they are worthy or not. At the end of the day we always seek and believe in humanity and cry foul whenever this thin line had been crossed, and that’s what this book was trying to make us see, to see past the people’s moments of weakness and indecisions and rather value them much like everyone else. Goes without saying, I recommend this one.

 

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“That’s not how stories work, is it? They are shifting things that re-form with each new telling, transform with each new teller. Less solid, and more liquid taking the shape of its container.”
Randy Ribay, Patron Saints of Nothing

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Surprise surprise!!! Patron Saints of Nothing is having a book launch on June 23rd! Get the chance to meet the brilliant author behind this book!!!

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❝I expected the truth to iilluminate, to resurrect. Not to ruin.❞ – Patron Saints of Nothing, Randy Ribay ••• My full review on #PatronSaintsofNothing by #RandyRibay is now up on my blog! Link in bio ✨ ••• Patron Saints of Nothing could not have come at a perfect timing! It is relevant and timely. A book that talks about Philippines’ struggle on war on drugs and the extrajudicial killings surrounding it. The author is very brave in writing Jay and Jun’s story. This book may or may not have painted the Filipinos in a bad light, but it was what the book needed for the story to be told, and that’s what I like about it – it’s raw honesty to tell a story. I can’t wait for people to read it! . ••• A huge thank you to @bookfreakrevelations @bookwormsuniteph @penguinrandomhouse for making #PatrongSaintsPH tour possible! Andddd an exciting news! Randy Ribay will be having a book launch and signing on the 23rd! Now’s your chance to get a copy and have it signed! #RandyRibayinPH #BUPHxRandyRibay #Bookwormsuniteph

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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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phonto

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Book Review

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If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Date Published: February 3, 2015

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 388

Setting: Creek View, California

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book Depository, Amazon

 

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This is it! This is the soft safe harbor amidst all the chaos that is life.

I’ll Meet You There has been sitting on my shelf for a good year now, always looking at it and telling it “I’ll read you one day.” To be honest, it wasn’t on my top to-be-read list, it wasn’t a priority, but boy was I wrong not making it so. I’ll Meet You There brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bedtime to finish up a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading, that old self who’s happy hunkered down in her little corner not minding the world outside, and how I’ve missed that! I miss it so bad I was starting to believe I will never be able to bring her back.

I’ll Meet You There is a mixture of depth, great character build-up and realistic life-lessons. It was everything good and then some. It wasn’t your typical YA book, it has this sense of maturity that was hard to miss. I don’t know why but I am always drawn to books with Marines, I think I have mentioned this quite a few times already. This was angsty, but it was well-played out, it was perfectly incorporated in the book making it more engaging that what the premise had promised. I’ll Meet You There is the story of Skylar who couldn’t wait to get out of Creek View and Josh Mitchell who was able to get out but was back to the hell-hole as an amputee. This was the story of loss, healing and young love.

The romance was slow-burn, something I would choose over insta-love at any given day. I loved how Skylar and Josh complement each other, how their characters manage to navigate through the ins and outs of their hard life. How they are able to get by and deal with their own respective demons. The push and pull that is their love story, was definitely not lost on me, I blurted out loud at one point how they should just fall in love already, I was the one being frustrated how they manage to make the infamous one-step-forward-two-steps-back dance, but despite this frustration, I was glued to my seat reading as much as I can before the world borrows me to do the most mundane stuff, like you know, sleeping and eating. I finished it in two days, that’s saying a lot since I haven’t finished a book in a long while for such short period of time. It only proves how good this book was. And though the story line isn’t as original, I’m still giving it the full 5 stars. It was that good for me, it made me ugly-cry – something I haven’t done in a long while and ultimately this book helped me forget the complexities of my reality – it was indeed that safe haven amidst this chaotic world. So yep, it definitely deserved my five-star rating.

What I loved most about I’ll Meet You There is its quality of sincerity. How the characters felt real as if they were just ordinary people you could meet in your lifetime. I loved how flawed they are too, especially Josh. He was just this shell of a man he used to be because of what happened to him in Afghanistan. What transpired was a real depiction and sometimes too raw and honest description of how war can fck a person up. And it was painted in such captivating yet angsty light. Then we have Skylar Evans, who deals with her own demons. I liked her character, how sometimes she has this no-nonsense approach in life and sometimes she’s too calculated or guarded. I loved how they ease into each other’s lives. I loved how their love story was well-played out, and was not rushed at all. It progressed just right, and when they finally admitted to themselves what they truly feel for each other it was beautiful. I love that in a book, it’s power to suck you into the story and you just willingly immerse yourself into it. And though the ending was somewhat open-ended, I love that it gives room for readers to imagine more, it does not limit itself, it gives power to the readers to make out something more out of the story.  This book now has a special place in my heart. Highly recommend!

 

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“It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages–no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
― Heather DemetriosI’ll Meet You There

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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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Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu | ARC Review

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Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Date Published: January 2, 2018

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Date Read: January 8, 2018

Setting: Gotham City

Number of Pages: 272

Source: Part of a blog tour hosted by JM from The Book Freak Revelations

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon, Book Depository

 

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Before anything else, I would like to thank Penguin Random House International and JM of The Book Freak Revelations  for making me a part of this Book Tour! You can check JM’s review here.

Batman: Nightwalker is the second book in the DC Icons, the first one being Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, the third one Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas and the fourth one is Superman by Matt Dela Pena. In Batman: Nighwalker,  we follow the origin story of Bruce Wayne during his teen days, back when he is not Batman just yet. We are taken into this story where we get to know more about Bruce Wayne and how everything started. To be upfront, I am not a fan of Batman, I am more of  a Superman kind of girl, but this book showed a different side of Batman that made me like him more than I do before. Neither I am a fan of the comics, I am not a connoisseur by a long stretch of imagination, thus I have the most meagre knowledge of the history of DC Superheroes especially Batman. I have barely scratched the surface of the DC world, but I hope you won’t discount my thoughts on this book. Even with my palpable lack of vast knowledge about the DC world, I find this book quite an enjoyable read. Maybe the fact that everything seemed new to me added to the thrill of finding out what’s about to unfold. And I guess it would be safe to say, that whether you’re a big fan of DC or not, you will still find yourself engrossed in the story. Win-win situation for everyone if you ask me.

Would you believe me if I say this is the first Marie Lu book I have ever read? Yes, it’s true my friends, I am quite ashamed about that and I am slowly remedying it. Marie Lu from a Marie Lu virgin’s opinion is quite the story teller, I now can understand why she is loved by many. She has this way with words that truly jump out of the page, and has this sense of depth into her writing that made the atmosphere of each scene almost tangible. She sets the perfect tone in each page it as if you can very well feel the cold mist descending upon you and instantly sends shivers down your spine. That’s what I first adored in this book, its power to make it as real as it could get.

Bruce Wayne‘s character always had this reserved and quiet persona, which is more often than not construed to be mysterious. This book was able to highlight Bruce Wayne’s more vulnerable side, which I appreciate a whole lot. We got to see a different side that isn’t exposed all the time. (I don’t watch the TV show Gotham too, so pardon me for this) Also Bruce Wayne’s friends, Harvey and Dianne, are quite fun to read too, especially Dianne, who is a Filipino, ahhh you don’t know how much this made me happy! Harvey, however felt like he was pushed on the side line and not given much exposure as a character should have been given. And then we have Madeleine Wallace this enigmatic girl whom Bruce met in the Arkham Asylum when he was doing his community service. I love how Madeleine Wallace’s character was written, she toys with Bruce’s mind as well as the reader’s. You are constantly questioning whether she is telling the truth or not, which is a plus for me. I loved how this tactic works its way up to the reader’s mind and make them stick to the story and find out how everything will unfold. The perfect formula to keep the readers interested, if you ask me. Now, let’s talk about the Nightwalkers, to be completely honest, they fell a little short for me, I was expecting so much more from them. I think it could have been executed well than what they have been portrayed in the book. There was definitely build up as the book progressed but the excitement was lost on me.

The book was well-paced, not too slow and not too fast either. Just right for a book under three hundred pages. And though short, this book definitely packed some punch, not entirely the wow-it-left-me-in-daze kind of impact but enough to keep me at the edge of my seat. There was the right amount of intensity, mystery and grit. That plot twist though, I can’t say I saw that one coming, but it was something I have already seen countless times before, that when it finally unfolded I wasn’t so shocked at all.

So all in all, you should give this book a try, you’ll never know you might enjoy it like I did, even if you’re not the biggest fan of DC Superheroes out there *peace*.

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“People always expect you to move on so quickly after loss, don’t they?” Madeleine looked away.”For the first few months the sympathy pours on you. Then, gradually, it dwindles down, and one day you find yourself standing alone at the grave site, wondering why everyone else has moved on to caring about something else while you still stay right here, silently, carrying the same hurt. People get bored with grief. They want something new to talk about. So you stop bringing it up, because you don’t want to bore anyone” 

– Marie Lu; Batman: Nightwalker 

phonto

 

Every Day by David Levithan | Book Review

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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Date Published: August 28, 2012

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date Read: December 27, 2017

Source and Format: National Book Store / Paperback

Setting: Maryland, USA

No. of Pages: 322

Get your copy here: Book Depository, Amazon

 

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WHY DID I WAIT FOUR YEARS TO FINALLY READ IT? DON’T BE LIKE ME, I NEVER KNEW I WAS MISSING OUT ON THE GOOD STUFF FOR FOUR FREAKING YEARS!

Every Day is the book you never thought you needed, thinking how could you go on with your mundane life when there is something so beautiful is palpably lacking in it. Good god, why did I even wait this long to crack open this book, I must have been possessed or have been so ignorant all this time. The party was over and I just arrived. Please tell me I am not the only one. And then I remembered I have this thing about hype books where I let the hype die down before I join in the bandwagon, clearly a big mistake in this instance. I had this book for the longest time, so much so that my copy already has yellow spots on the pages, but I kept on buying new books, and kept reading new releases that Every Day literally took the back seat. A huge mistake, I am perfectly aware of that now. It was because of the trailer which recently came out that prompted me to finally read it, I didn’t watch the trailer as I wouldn’t want to have preconceived notions of the characters and how will the whole story progress. I am the kind of reader who wants to imagine things on her own terms, and that’s what I did. I read the book first then watched the trailer. To say I am excited for the movie would definitely be an understatement, but of course you have to manage the expectations since there are obviously some changes for the movie, but that topic is for another time. Let’s proceed to the review.

Every Day is definitely one of the most unique books out there, it was well-thought out and the writing was flawless. I have loved David Levithan’s way of writing in his book Lover’s Dictionary it was innovative and unique, much like his style in Every Day. I have not read anything like it before and honestly I am in awe at how the author was able to concoct such beautiful story. A true story-teller if you ask me. I love how Every day was a cut above the rest, never mediocre. The story introduced us to different lives, which was so clever and so beautiful because the book was able to show plethora of experiences and how all lives seemed different yet they are the same at the same time. It was a glimpse of lives of other people and how they go about it each day. I loved how the feeling of love wasn’t caged into one definition, it is encompassing and knows no size, race and gender. This what I commend most about this book, its power to see past the physical appearance and focus on what’s inside. It was complex yet you can’t help but be sucked in. This book is worthy of every praise it has been getting and more. I loved how it made me ponder on life itself and how it was able to hold that much power over me that I didn’t know possible. I loved how the author was able to present the book in such raw yet captivating tale, the attention to details, the perfectly curated plot, it is everything good and then some.

The different characters, the lives that A inhabits each day, made the book very appealing, and what’s more beautiful about it is, these bodies can very well be real people we encounter day in and day out. I loved how A was able to at least separate himself/herself from the lives he/she has been living, but also sad at the same time for he/she can’t have what these lives have. I also commend how David Levithan took his time to put essence into each of the lives A had inhabited, how he presented each lives with such regard and respect it deserved. I loved Rhiannon’s character as well, she’s open minded and mature to handle what was going on. I loved how she respected each body A had inhabited. And though there are times that she was off about it, she handled it really well. She’s the kind of character you’ll love instantly.

I was sobbing at the end of the book, the good kind of hurt, if that’s even possible. To be honest I was hoping for some explanation how A had to live like that. I had a lot of questions, but then I was still satisfied how it ended. I will definitely be reading the next book, just so I could find the answers I needed, but for now I could live with the lesson this book had imparted in me. This book is truly a gem, and Every Day has been a reminder why I love Young Adult. There is some sense of simplicity and rawness that YA genre can give that you can’t find in any other genre. How it makes an impact on an adult like me will always be a refuge I will take anytime of the day.

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“The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.” 
― David LevithanEvery Day

phonto

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

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Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Date Published: May 2, 2017

Date Read: May 15, 2017

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 699

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This book will seriously give you the worst book hangover in the history of all book hangovers. The moment I’ve put it down I immediately wanted to reread the whole series. I’m gonna miss everyone, I’m gonna miss the adventure, the banters, the magical world, the romance, the heart-stopping scenes, the way I held my breath. Oh Cauldron, I will miss every bit of this series. Especially Cassian.

So I would have to apologize in advance if this review will come out incoherent. I just couldn’t fully grasp what went down with the final book of Rhysand and Feyre’s story, but I am happy that there would be three novels set in this world, more of Cassian please.

Also because I was dilly-dallying in writing this review, (seriously Eunice, it has been two weeks, what is wrong with you?) I’ve perused Tumblr, oh yes that magical world where everything is so beautiful but also is a dark place full of spoilers so be warned. So as I was wasting my precious time there, I stumbled upon a post where it says “A Court of Thorns and Roses is the longest prologue since everything starts at A Court of Mist and Fury” and I couldn’t help but agree 100% haha. You have to give it to Sarah J. Maas to turn a prologue into a full blown book, haha but seriously though, that is the most real short description of this series I came across with. This series had me hooked like crazy, and it has been a long time since that happened and for that I am eternally grateful.

I mentioned in my review of A Court of Mist and Fury  that I could not even begin to fathom what would book three be like since ACOMAF totally outdid A Court of Thorns and Roses  and now book three – A Court of Wings and Ruin. And boy did I like it? I LOVE IT! It was way better than ACOMAF. Some may disagree with me since most of the people I know really loved ACOMAF more than ACOWAR, but I tell you ACOWAR totally did a great job concluding the story of Rhysand and Feyre. There were loose ends, yes, but it’s more of about the other characters which I am positive will be given answers to in the next three books to come. So fret not, we will all get the answers and elaborate stories we need to tie everything up into a nice satin black ribbon. Let’s cross all our damn fingers for that.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is very plot driven, so much so that I had hard time processing all the vital information coming my way. I had to take mental notes on who’s who and what happened to this and that and all that crazy back pedaling on what transpired from the first two books that correlated with what was happening with book three. This is what I get for not re-reading ACOTAR and ACOMAF, but seriously ain’t nobody got time for that. So I relied mostly on my review of the the first two books, read summaries online (which did little help to be honest), and asked friends to refresh my memory, hello Cath of To All The Books I’ve Read Before. And so I dived in. At first I was confused as hell, happens to the best of us I suppose, but here’s what I commend about ACOWAR – it was able to guide the reader into easing their way in to the book. What I’m trying to say is, it was helping out the readers to fully remember what had happened in the previous books while injecting new information in a smooth and flawless manner. It’s like you just picked up where you left off.

I cannot say much about what went down with this one since I don’t want to spoil anyone. But what I can say is kudos to SJM for writing about characters of color and painting them in the best light possible and for injecting LGBTQ theme, my heart is happy. See this guys, authors actually listen to their readers. Authors learn too. This is such a beautiful thing and I hope this continues on. So now back to the story, ACOWAR had those heart-stopping scenes, and I wish I could name a few of my favorites but again that would be spoiling you guys. But note this, Cassian and Azriel, both are more bad-ass than ever! Like seriously I could marry Cassian right now. This book was complex yet very easy to follow, if that even makes sense. There were intricacies but also they were presented in a digestible manner. Not too overwhelming and not lackluster either, it was just right and perfect. There are parts that I savored longer than necessary and there are parts that broke my heart. It was a perfect mixture of everything exciting and heartbreaking yet you wouldn’t have it any other way. Can we get the next three books now? Nope? Please release us of this agony.

The characters were also distinct from one another. You will definitely love how they have developed. We have Nesta (whom I was annoyed most of the time) who was feisty and snob haha, we have Elain whom I feared was crazy but also proved to be an important character towards the end. Also let’s not ignore the #NightCourtSquad, starting off with Cassian, my love, ahhhh Cassian is so swoon-worthy! Im pretty positive Im gonna name my kid after him. That’s how obsessed I was with his character. He took bad-assery to whole new level. Azriel on the other hand is also quite the character. Azriel and Mor’s story is just, I can’t form a coherent sentence, they make my heart hurt but also made me understand. God I wish I could say why, but again that would be a spoiler. Also Amren! Amren is also such a kick-ass character. I loved her participation towards the end, I swear every character in this book played a crucial role in the development of the story. Then of course we have Feyre, our cursebreaker, our High Lady of the Night Court. I know I made mention that I was annoyed by her character in ACOMAF, well in ACOWAR that seemed to change. Well she still isn’t a favorite but her character here is so clever and cunning that I have no choice but to like her. There certainly was a shift in her character in ACOWAR. It was more put-together. Then we have Rhysand, while he isn’t also a favorite but I don’t hate his character. I have hated him in ACOTAR but then loved him in ACOMAF, and in ACOWAR he was just all things amazing. What I specifically love about Rhysand’s character was he was always giving Feyre the choice, always putting her decision and want first more than anything. I love that he wasn’t pushy or controlling *ahem Tamlin*, but he was just so good Feyre doesn’t deserve him haha. Rhysand was selfless and a true leader, add the fact that he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to Feyre but at the same time always giving Feyre the opportunity to do things on her own or her way – which was nice for a change. And this doesn’t make him any less manly. Sarah J. Maas made sure to point this out in this book, stressed it even, that Rhysand and Feyre are equal. So yass Feminism right there! I loved that Feyre wasn’t portrayed to be a weak damsel in distress, she actually had balls! So kudos to that! I would also like to take the opportunity to tell you guys that you shouldn’t go on hating Tamlin okay, his character was unbearable most of the time but I swear he has a redeeming quality, so watch out for it! Of course I won’t forget Lucien, I remember saying in my review of ACOTAR that I am #TeamLucien but then that changed in ACOMAF, now in ACOWAR let’s just say I wanted more of him but his character fell short. I would love to know more about his back story. God so many things to watch out for.

Can I also mention that I was too afraid about possible deaths here? The anticipation of it killed me, especially during the crucial parts of the war. All I was murmuring was “Kill everyone else, just not my Cassian please.” And why can’t they fucking leave Cassian’s wings alone! I was furious.

This incoherent review has gone on for too long, I’m going to end your suffering now. All I can say is this book was worth losing sleep over! So yes read it!!!

 

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“Night Triumphant- and the Stars Eternal.”
Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Wings and Ruin

phonto

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Book Review

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 Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Date Published: January 28, 2014

No. of Pages: 346

Date Read: April 2016

Source: Fully Booked

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Great premise, poor execution.

Oh no, I don’t know how to begin this one.

So when I heard that this one was a Beauty and The Beast retelling I knew then I had to read it. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite childhood fairytale and anything with premise like it appealed to me so much. So naturally, I did expect – a little too much I guess. Well it happens to the best of us, right? When a book sounded that it would be right up your alley, add the fact that it is a retelling of one of your favorite fairytales and all the hype surrounding it, one cannot NOT expect. I mean you’ve been teased enough already, you have no other option but put your whole trust into it. This is why I shy away from reading hyped books, I’m afraid that the hype wouldn’t live up to its promise. And that’s what happened here.

Cruel beauty had the perfect premise, what could possibly go wrong? Apparently, a lot. But let me tell you first about the good points. The mention of Mythology was a plus point for me, thanks to this book for another mythology lesson, some of it I already forgot. I liked how the book revolved into the story of greek gods or how they played an enormous part on the overall plot of the book. This added spice into it. Another good point is the uniqueness of the setting, with all the rooms that changes every time, the Hearts (fire, earth, water, air). The element of fantasy was well played out as well.

Now to the issues I had with this book. Let me tell you first that I was confused most of the time. The book really tested my attention skill. It was the only book that I put down every two paragraphs, I don’t know what’s wrong with me when I was reading it. It just wasn’t able to grip me the way a good book should. I always find myself rereading paragraphs because my mind tends to wander off  in the middle of every page, which gets me so frustrated. I found it really hard to concentrate. I don’t know if it is just a case of bad timing or the book is just not doing it for me.

Another issue, was the love triangle. It was weird, for lack of a better term. Just, no. Im not really digging it. Add the instalove (which by now we are all aware of, but for those who has been living under a rock – instalove is instant love, when characters suddenly fell in love with one another with not much basis, when there was the littlest development on their relationship. Much like instant ramen – it will kill you with all its MSG haha. So there’s that. I didn’t quite sit well with me that at one moment Nyx really hated the Gentle Lord and just like that, at another page she loved him completely. NOPE. Just don’t. She was bound to kill the Gentle Lord and save Arcadia for crying out loud, not go falling in love with that Demon – it could have been acceptable if the Gentle Lord did something so grand and profound to warrant Nyx’s love, but as far I remember there was no such thing. So where does this love come from? And can I say Nyx was the most inconsistent character I have ever come across with. She contradicts herself most of the time, at first you’ll understand that she was torn between saving Arcadia and loving the Gentle Lord but as the story went on, it annoyed the wits out of me. I hated that the first 50 pages of the book was  just Nyx whining how much she hated her father for the bargain he had with the Gentle Lord, how she hated her sister and loved her at the same time, for hating that she’d be the one to marry the demon and not her sweet sister and blah blah blah. All this can be condensed into 5 pages or so, but no it went on and on and on.

The book had loose ends, it wasn’t as polished as I hoped it to be. It was very noticeable that the author was in the process of trial and error, testing what works and what doesn’t. I cannot say that this wasn’t my cup of tea, because it is. Fantasy and retelling will always be my favorite, but this book fell a little short. Would i pick up another Rosamund Hodge book? Well yes, I heard Crimson Bound is better than Cruel Beauty so I will still definitely give it a try. Who knows, I might like it. It really had a potential, but the execution wasn’t as solid as I have expected. Based from the issues I had you may think that this is a bad book, but no it isn’t, I enjoyed it nonetheless, it just wasn’t for me I guess.

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“They said that love was terrifying and tender, wild and sweet, and none of it made any sense.
But now I knew that every mad word was true.”
― Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty

phonto