Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she's pretty sure they're only good for one thing -- spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother's shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes on glance for Caymen to figure out he's oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he's one of the first people who actually get her, she's smart enough to know his interest won't last. Because if there's one thing she's learned from her mother's warnings, it's that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can't find out -- she wouldn't approve. She'd much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn't been raised by money. But just when Xander's attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she'd ever realized. And that Xander's not the only one she should've been worried about.


I started out not liking this book. After I took one look at the size of the font and the first few pages, I wanted to put it down and move on since the book seemed so... childish. Now, I know that you don't necessarily need to have to be a certain age to read any book, but I couldn't help but think that this one just didn't fit my reading level. However, at the urging of my sister, I continued on since she swore that Kasie West is an awesome author. Anyway, I'd have to say I'm glad I did. While the book wasn't the best, I did enjoy it as a light, humorous read. It was a nice break from all the serious literature I was surrounded by at the time.

The Distance Between Us is the story of Caymen Meyers meeting the uber-rich Xander Spence and falling in love with him despite her and her mother's dislike for rich people. He changes her world, and she changes his for the better. Of course, this is an insta-love story that drips cheesiness right to the core, but it somehow works for it not to cause too much eye-rolling. The characters are endearing, and the MC's sense of dry humor adds a nice touch. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the banter between the two characters. The ending felt a little rushed; more like a patched up explanation of things to give them a happily ever after, but it wasn't enough to make me completely condemn the book.

All in all, if you're in the mood for a quick, light-hearted read, this is your book.

Overall rating: 3 stars


Monday, December 29, 2014

Review: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Holiday anthologies are my favorites to read over winter break. The holiday season just doesn't feel complete without reaching for a themed book at least once. And with such a great compilation of authors, it turned out to be an awesome read. I fell head over heels in love with most of the stories and discovered some new authors to read as well. (I also enjoyed figuring out which story each of the couples ice-skating on the front were from, haha)

My Thoughts on Each Story:

1. Midnights by Rainbow Rowell

This one was about New Year's eve, and the countdown to midnight for two friends throughout a few years of their lives. This story was definitely one of my favorites. It was told creatively with the snippets of "countdown to midnights." A great start to the book. 

2. The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link

I didn't love this story as much as the others. It's about a girl who sees a mysterious man each Christmas only when it snows, and how she attempts to free him from his curse. While, the idea of the story was interesting, the magic curse portion could have been better articulated to give the story more depth. 

3. Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Peña 

Another one of my favorites. This one was about a Mexican-American kid who has to spend the holidays alone cat-sitting for his boss. He meets the love-interest when she knocks on his door asking for help with her plumbing (Yes, I know: classic story-line), but it turns out to be an in-depth and interesting read when you learn more about the main character's past. And the last lines are beautiful. I'm definitely going to read another book by this author.

4. Polaris is Where You'll Find Me by Jenny Han

I felt neutral about this story. There wasn't really anything defining about this story; pretty standard cute Christmas short. It was about a human who was left in Santa's sleigh and adopted by him to be raised at the North Pole (similar to the movie Elf). When she's older, it's a tale of unrequited love between her and another elf at the North Pole. Nothing quite special, but it did make me want to read other books by Jenny Han to see what she writes about in the YA world.

5. It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins

This story was classic Stephanie Perkins with quirky, lovable characters and back-stories, I couldn't help but love. It's an adorable romance short between a girl who goes Christmas tree shopping and the guy at the Christmas tree farm she's been in love with from afar. 

6. Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan

This one was funny and adorable. I've been meaning to read a book by David Levithan (once I finish the stack of books I have right now, but I'll get there!), so this was a nice sneak peak into his writing. It's about a boy whose boyfriend convinces him to dress up as Santa Claus in order to keep his little sister believing in Santa Claus. Overall, it was an endearing holiday story.

7. Krampuslauf by Holly Black

This one was creepily interesting. It's about a girl from the other side of the tracks who throws a New Year's party in order to expose her best friend's rich, two-timing boyfriend's lies. Without giving two much away, holiday justice is served magically. Before this, the only thing I had read by Holly Black was The Spiderwick Chronicles, so it was interesting to see her YA side in this story. I definitely will be checking out her books. 

8. What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman

I discovered Gayle Forman this year with Just One Day, and this story has the same feel to it as the book. It's about a girl who has to spend Hanukkah away from her family at college in "prairie land." She meets a guy who helps her celebrate the last day and get over her homesickness... and the rest is history. Overall, it was an enjoyable story.  

9. Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire

This one was funny and I ended up liking it. It's about the town trouble-maker and must help out with the town Christmas pageant because he accidentally burns down the church storage building. Interesting to see how he manages to save the day, and get back into everyone's good graces.

10. Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White

This one is about a girl who lives in a town called Christmas, and how much she hates it. Not much in the romance department for this one, but it was interesting to see how the main character changes in the end.

11. Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter

This one is about a girl who switches her ticket with an Icelandic exchange student, pretending to be her while living with the host family. There was also an interesting twist at the end with the main character; I truly enjoyed this one because the main character's lack of family touched me. 

12. The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

This story was my all time favorite because of its fairy tale-esque nature and writing. Laini Taylor never fails to disappoint in that department. It's about a girl whose future is decided by who makes an offer of marriage to her... and the person who does isn't someone anyone would want to be married to. But then, "the dreamer" steps into the picture and story is perfect from there. The writing was beautiful, and I loved the last lines of this story. Overall, a perfect way to end the anthology. .

Overall Rating: 5 stars


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life -- and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like characters for every movie premiere.

Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to.

Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


So... I now finally understand why everyone out there raves about and loves Rainbow Rowell. After reading this book, she manages to capture everything it means to be a teenager: all those emotions of angst, confusion, excitement, nostalgia, and binds it all together in a book called Fangirl. Truly amazing.

As you can tell by the synopsis, Fangirl is the story of Cath growing up out of her Simon Snow obsession (a character akin to Harry Potter), and making it through her first year of college -- a year full of heartbreak, new love, and lots of course work. Cath in general is a great protagonist. She's the type of bookish best friend you would want to piece apart the last episode of Doctor Who or endlessly discuss Sherlock theories with. Her introverted-ness pairs nicely with her outgoing roommate Reagan, and soon-to-be-boyfriend Levi, and leads to some memorable banter. The scene where she reads The Outsiders to him is especially endearing (surprising though, I always thought The Outsiders was required reading for most kids).

And I enjoyed reading the Simon/Baz fan fiction. The passages from Cath's fic, didn't distract from the main story at all. I completely understood the idea of wanting to live in the world forever, like Cath did, but reality has got to come in somewhere, which Cath soon realizes. This book also introduced me to the world of fan fiction, which I had only skimmed over a couple of times, but it is a huge community of people who write the "after" to every possible work: TV shows, books, Disney movies, you name it. Pretty cool.

Reading this book, I basically fell in love with every character even the antagonist/anti-love, who totally gets what he deserves at the end (and it is an oh-so-satisfying end). I didn't want to put this book down at all while reading it. It was basically my constant companion on the bus, to the mall, everywhere, just in case I had a spare minute to read another page or so. Finishing it, I had one of those "book hangover" moments: where do you go after a book that good?
Read more Rainbow Rowell books of course.

Rating: 5 stars


Thursday, November 27, 2014

November Favorites

While my blog is receiving some TLC after being in the dust for quite a while, I've decided to do a roundup of all the happenings this month, so I don't fall too behind... even thought there is a substantial amount of catching up to do.
This month has been awfully busy with school, and transitions, and of course, Thanksgiving. 
Here's this month's roundup:


Well, this month I was only able to get through two books, mainly for Outlander being so hefty and time-consuming (but worth it!).

18619684This book was definitely worth the read. I had bought a copy a while back from a used book sale over the summer. It sat on my shelf, unnoticed until I picked it up one day for lack of library books to read. I'm so glad I did. The idea of time travel as a genetic disorder is surreal, but intriguing, and it makes the main characters' lives so complicated. And the ending... heart-breakingly beautiful. Total book hangover after reading this one. 

685403Second book... Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ... the one that took up all of my time. I had the small print edition that has 850 pages as opposed to the "normal" one with the 600-some pages. All I can say after finishing this is WOW. It really was a journey getting through this book, with all the drama, intrigue, romance, and violence, but it was great. I finally understand why the people who love this series say that it's too complex to put into words. Still, I don't think I'll be picking up Dragonfly in Amber until next summer when I've got a lot more time on my hands. 
Still, I'm excited for the TV show's return in the Spring; although I'm curious to see how they'll adapt the rest of the book for the screen. 


I've fallen in love with so many new songs and artists this month. Here are a few: 

1. King and Lionheart by Of Monsters and Men

I came across this song in a fan video for Whouffle. The song completely captures Clara and the Doctor and the lyrics are hauntingly beautiful. 
I'd always heard of Of Monsters and Men, but never actually heard their music until now. After listening to the rest of the songs on the My Head is An Animal album, I've definitely found another band to add to my favorites list. 

2. Elle Me Dit by MIKA

Yes, this song is in French, but it's just so fun and make you want to dance. I came across it while helping my sister with a French project. The infectious lyrics have kept it stuck in my head this entire month. 

3. Dust to Dust by The Civil Wars

This song, like King and Lionheart is hauntingly beautiful and remains on my favorites playlist. With its breathy vocals, it definitely captures the fall mood. 

*And of course I love love love 1989 (even though it came out in October). My favorite song by far is Style.


How to Steal a Million had been in my movie queue for quite a while after I finished watching Breakfast at Tiffany's and Funny Face. It never fails to amaze me how graceful and elegant Audrey Hepburn looks even when she's trying to rob a museum. The romance was adorable, and the plot line classic. Definitely one of those movies you would want to watch again and again. 

So, how has your month been going? Any new favorites?


Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Seven Bookish Sins

I was tagged by the lovely Preethi of Time Turning Reads to reveal my seven deadly sins of reading. So here goes...

What is your most inexpensive book?

Library books! Ok, so maybe those don't count because they're not wholly "mine," but the majority of my literary adventures have been spent in library books. But let's see... the most inexpensive book I actually bought was A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I scored it at a Used Books Sale for 50 cents - total bargain, right?

What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

I would have to say Cassandra Clare (and I'm sorry to all you Cassandra Clare-lovers out there, but hear me out on this). When I first read City of Bones, I fell head over heels in love with the author (or more like I fell in love with Jace) and went on to finish the next two books, at which point I thought the Mortal Instruments series was over. But then she continued it... and thus the drama with Sebastian began. The last book of that series I read was City of Lost Souls and I'm not sure if I want to continue it, but at the same time I want to see what happens to all of my favorite characters.

What book have you read over and over with no shame?

I don't re-read books often, but I did re-read many of Gail Carson Levine's books in elementary school. The ones I read the most were Ella Enchanted, The Wish, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Ever. I loved and still love her fairy tale-esque writing.

What book have you neglected due to laziness?

The most recent book I've neglected due to laziness would be Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I've wanted to read it ever since I finished Opal, but have always put it aside to read other books. I got a copy from the library on my most recent trip, but it's pushed to the bottom every time I go back to the library and see another new book I want to read. In essence, there are a lot of books that are pushed aside for that reason *dramatic sigh*.

What book do you most talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

Haha. I don't really talk about books to sound like an intellectual reader. If I like the book, I will talk your ear off about it, but never  in a snobby, fancypants way. Of course, if this is to ask which "literary classic," I like talking about, it would for sure be Jane Eyre! I can discuss for hours and hours on the complexity of social relationships and romance in that book.

What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?

Ah yes, the boys in books are obviously fictional, but we all develop crushes on them anyway. I love it when the male protagonist is an enigmatic, dark, brooding character. The air of mystery just makes them so much more attractive. Of course, a witty humor doesn't hurt either.

What book would you like to receive as a gift?

Hmmm... I would love to get a boxed set of basically any series that's been highly recommended. I love finding and falling in love with new series. It's the best feeling ever, especially when you've finished one, and don't know how to move on from the awesomeness of it (I'm still recovering from Harry Potter). 

Your Turn!

Tag your blog below in the comments with your own reveal of your "Seven Deadly Bookish Sins." I would love to check out your blog and see what they are!


Friday, April 11, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (5)

Stacking the Shelves is an event at Tynga's Reviews where we showcase books we've bought, borrowed or received during the week.

Hi! Of course, another pile of books to add to my TBR Shelves. Here they are: 

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide #1) by Douglas Adams 
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 
Carrie by Stephen King
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson 

I feel like it's been a pretty well-rounded book haul this time around. A little bit of everything :)


The Friday 56 (12): Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
*Grab a book, any book
*Turn to page 56, or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it!) that grabs you
*Post it
*Comment with your (url) post.

This week's pick: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Under these circumstances I remained solitary. I smelt the rich scent of the heating spices; and admired the shining kitchen utensils, the polished clock, decked in holly, the silver mugs ranged on a tray ready to be filled with mulled ale for supper; and, above all, the speckless purity of my particular care -- the scoured and well-swept floor. 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.


This was my first read by Colleen Hoover, and it made me realize why her books are talked about all the time. Slammed was an angst-filled story of teenage romance and family love. On a side note, if you love a story with lots of drama, this book is your slice of cake. Personally, I felt it was a tad too tension-filled, the characters could obviously avoid a lot of their problems if they just made smart choices, but then, where would our story be?

Slammed follows the story of Layken, a teenager who moves to Michigan with her family after her dad's death due to cancer the past year. Layken, a determinedly stubborn teenager, carries around a pessimistic attitude about her new life until she meets (you guessed it) Will.

Will is the epitome of the concept "book boyfriend." He's got a past full of secrets, has a caring personality, loves kids, is athletic, recites poetry.... the list goes on. Layken is the opposite of this placid personality (of course the age difference is a factor in this). She makes brash decisions, and shuffles along the fuzzy line of teenage girl to mature adult. While their love story is supposed to be dramatic, some of Layken's actions do put a damper on the enduring love story part. In addition, there are several smaller plots that weave in and out of the romance aspect. I liked how Colleen Hoover portrays them with the romance; they definitely add more depth to the story.

Coming back to poetry. Poetry, particularly slam poetry is a huge aspect of the book. I've never seen or heard slam poetry before in my reading experience, and this book really opened my eyes to that world. I find it fascinating how the characters convey their feelings through slam by just placing the right emphasis on the right words.

Overall, I liked this book quite a lot even with all the drama. Quite the page-turner.

Rating: ★ 4 stars

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