Friday, October 12, 2018

Calamity


Embrace your epic destiny and there's no turning back.

Is there? - excerpt from book.

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson is sadly the last book in the trilogy and it was such an awesome one. No doubt the author has continued to impress me and stays on my favourite fantasy authors list with the jam packed action, plot twist after plot twist and of course the wonderful characters. The story picks up right where it stopped and all you can feel is anxiousness for the team, without an important leader they strive to continue what they do best which is to kill epics.

The dynamic of team had a good change even without the support of its side characters. The main character David continues to amaze me with his growth and his craziness which always shows in his impulsive actions. David carries the story well with his beliefs and ideals but it's all with the help of great side characters. They all are crucial to the plot line and make good interactions with David. The introduction of a few new epics is a must to elevate the story and I quite like their uniqueness. The characters in the book have different hopes but their goal is the same, it's wonderful to see how these people can work together to push the team. The ideals are often life lessons and this is what I love about the author, incorporating life values that makes sense to our current world. Relating those people to the real world is easy which makes understanding so much fun.

Capturing my attention with ease is definitely through the plot line as all twists came as a surprise for me. I love how everything happens for a reason and how it was triggered. The only thing that I was a little bit sad is that it wasn't long enough and towards the end it felt rushed.  From the start to mid book it was super fun and exciting, the plot is smooth as butter keeping you on your toes. After mid point things escalated too quickly and then it was already the end. Overall Brandon does not let you down with his plot, it was unpredictable from chapter to chapter. 

All three books were very exciting, fun and capturing but I would definitely pick the second book as my favourite simply because one of my favourite character's involvement is not to my liking but it did give a good plot twist for the series. The uniqueness of this whole series is what captured me the most, highlighting certain aspects of being human, what it means to wield power and having the will to be good. It's the realistic ideals of the author that drives this book, the anti-hero subject made it even more interesting. This is one series that I cannot find a resemblance to any other and that's what makes Brandon Sanderson one of the best fantasy writers of our current time. I highly, highly recommend this series if you have not read any from this author and you will love him. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Always Never Yours


Shouldn't a girl get to star in her own love story?

Seventeen-year-old Megan Harper is about due for her next sweeping romance. It's inevitable—each of her relationships starts with the perfect guy and ends with him falling in love . . . with someone else. But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Megan focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theater, and fulfilling her dream college's acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

So when she’s cast as Juliet (yes, that Juliet) in her high school’s production, it’s a complete nightmare. Megan’s not an actress, and she’s used to being upstaged—both in and out of the theater. In fact, with her mom off in Texas and her dad remarried and on to baby #2 with his new wife, Megan worries that, just like her exes, her family is moving on without her.

Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright inspired by Rosaline from Shakespeare's R+J. A character who, like Megan, knows a thing or two about short-lived relationships. Megan agrees to help Owen with his play in exchange for help catching the eye of a sexy stagehand/potential new boyfriend. Yet Megan finds herself growing closer to Owen, and wonders if he could be the Romeo she never expected. - excerpt from book.

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is about a teenage girl finding love in many aspects of her life. With a cute cover attracting your attention, do you think it will be a good book or just meh? Having two authors co-write a book can be quite difficult but this was just seamless as there isn't a sign of different writing style. Each chapter starts with a quote from Shakespeare which made it fun and then we're reading the point of view Megan. I have to say Shakespeare is not the key element of this book but Megan's belief. 

The main character is a complicated person, she may seem easy but the more you read about her interactions with others and her thoughts, you'll discover the real her along with the story progressing. I love how the side characters influence her life and how the bond with another key character forms. You'll definitely love her when she's with this certain character because he brings out a side that not many will see. Her reactions to other's actions were getting more and more realistic as the plot advances which makes it quite a page turner.

For the plot I think it had a good pace, when you feel like things might start to get boring then something happens to capture your attention. I was impressed that a marketed young adult love story had so much more meaning and life challenges that were highlighted. There were some funny moments as well which is my favourite parts of the book. I would conclude that this book is more of a slice of life and targetting issues such as changes, family dynamics and of course feeling not loved. Incorporating real life issues into a cutesy young adult book is simply perfect, there was one feeling of Megan's that I can relate too and seeing how it was overcame was just touching for me. 

Pick this book up as it's not your typical teenage romance, the common cliche love at sight does not happen here which definitely gives it more points. Your main heroine seems like the mundane, typical bitch but I assure you there's always more to a person that you can see. What you can't see, others might be able to. So learning some life lessons is also included in this contemporary genre.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Firefight



Babylon Restored, formerly Manhattan, may give David answers. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers. - excerpt from book.

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson is the second book of the trilogy where the story continues on smoothly from book one. Here the reckoners are at a new adventure and possibly more critical and dire than previous attempts. They travel to a new city with one new aim and David feels there's something missing. I love how that immediately starting the book you're in a lot of action. Catching you off guard is what the author is extremely good at, you can never predict the book. 

The characters are complex and they have much growth in the story. Their actions and reactions greatly moves the story forward. I love David as he is always considerate and written uniquely when it comes to his obsession. His interactions with other characters really drives the book and I always want more of it whenever it comes to his love life. Other characters that keep me on my toes are certainly the lady of the book and also the leader of reckoners as you can tell there is so much more to them that the author has yet to reveal. The more I read the more eager I am to know their stories.

The pace of this book was so good, so much excitement and plot twists in the story. I guess plot twists happens because of the character making impromptu plans on the go. As exciting as a roller coasters, there are moments where it's a bit more relaxing and those are the times where we get to know the characters a bit better. Brandon Sanderson does magic in the way how the story unfolds, I wouldn't say its unique but the on going attention capturing is not achieved by many and he is one of the rare fantasy authors that does.

If I would have to compare, the story just keeps getting better and this book was so much fun and excitement to read. If you love the first, the second will not disappoint and it will even escalate your love for his writing. Kudos to Brandon Sanderson for making me want to read more and more of his books and onward to the final book right after this one. I highly recommend to fantasy lovers to pick up this series as it's has a unique world and anti hero aspect to it.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Windfall



Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.  - excerpt from book.

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith talks about friendship, love, family and most importantly self-growth. A change in luck is all it took to change the fate of the characters in the book. The main character herself is one with issues and throughout the book she faces her flaws when pointed out by other characters. Events trigger her which causes her growth in the story. I love Alice's interaction with other characters as her personality shines from it. Her thoughts greatly depict her actions which makes her a realistic character. As for the people around her, they play a crucial part in shaping her, guiding her and also influencing her actions. Every time she interacts with Teddy, there's always an outcome that pushes the story forward. I felt I could understand the characters quite well even though they are not exactly fascinating or over the top.

As for the plot it's quite smooth having minor events/incidents happening occasionally hence it was not boring to read through. The story line wasn't predictable but it isn't too surprising at the same time. I would say the book is entertaining enough that I won't stop reading when I'm in a good mood yet it's not a great page turner. The aspects that I love about this book is how the author addresses issues that comes with easy money, family issues when you lose your parents and also the fear of having too good of a life. I think even though these issues seems small it shouldn't be ignored, it's definitely a good lesson to learn for the target audience of young adult contemporary. I would recommend if you like this author but it wouldn't be a great introduction for the author. It's a book that is between good and great, just needed a little bit more to push it to great. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Truly Devious



Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder. - excerpt from book.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson is the first of a trilogy which will absolutely be your new favourite this year. I first came across this book from Epic Reads webpage and there was a link to read the first two chapters. The summary itself was already exciting so no harm in reading that. The first chapter itself got me hooked and I cannot wait to get my hands on the book since last year. So I waited patiently until the book reaches my nearest bookstore and when I've gotten it, within 3 days I finished it and I just wanted the next book desperately.

The characters in this book are so unique with mysterious backstories. I'm totally intrigued by all of them and often want more of their history revealed. Whenever our main heroine interacts with someone I'm just on my toes, excited for the story that keeps moving forward. One would say that these characters are too good to be true but yet they have flaws that make them somewhat realistic. Their actions fit what a typical teenager would act and yet it still amazes me. Every action and reaction is unpredictable from each character which is one of the main driving points of this book.

The plot alternates between the past and present which makes it super exciting as every chapters kinda ends at a cliffhanger sort of atmosphere. You'll keep reading for more and more as the story builds up with the character's actions. There is nothing but mystery in this book as the plot thickens, twist after twist will capture your attention. This is one roller coaster ride that you can't get enough of. Even though the timeline alternates, you'll never get lost in this smooth flowing plot. 

I cannot stress how much I love a good murder mystery and this book just blew my mind. From the well written characters to the unpredictable plot, this book just ends with a jaw dropping cliffhanger (at least it is for me). I was in such a reading slump and then this wonderful book brought back my love for reading. I love the excitement of reading each chapter and trying to solve the mystery on my own but it was a tough one. Although it's not like Sherlock Holmes  as this is a modernised version but the fact that it's a mystery that is hard to solve and left hanging at the end certainly brings nostalgic emotions related to reading Sherlock. I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie's work and you will not regret it, only one warning that I can give is that this book is first and the next one will be next year.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians




When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. 
 
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers. - excerpt from book

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is the first book to the trilogy about Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young. Now these two met in New York and there they have their own life until Nicholas's best friend is getting married and Nick decided to bring Rachel to the wedding. Little did she knows that this is the biggest wedding of Asia and also meeting Nick's family for the first time. Let me tell you, when I saw this book a few years back I was not impressed with the title itself so I did not pick it up. With a movie to be out soon and having an all Asian cast and director, the hype was on and naturally I had to read to find out about the buzz.

Of course the trailer only shows you glimpses of the book which felt exciting and extravagant, but let me tell you the book is so much more detailed and I'm pretty sure it won't all be included in the movie. With 527 pages and fonts that are not too big, it's definitely one long story to be told. Rachel and Nick is the main characters but many others have stories of their own. Hence the point of views are written in everyone's that is mentioned at the start of every chapter. I find this quite fun to read but sometimes I wished there was more happening for Nick and Rachel in parallel timing. You could easily tell what personalities these characters have and there is not much growth for many of them as they are only side characters. The interactions between Rachel and everyone else is often quite intriguing because it's fun to read about how she experiences Singapore and also how others react to her presence as Nick's girlfriend.

One thing that really capture my attention from the book is the use of multiple dialects/slang that are spoken in Singapore. It truly made me feel more at home even though I only live in the neighbouring country but sometimes visit Singapore, hence being able to relate to the language is truly enjoyable. I would say that many incidents are happening at one time and there isn't enough pages to fit everyone. I'm pretty sure this could be a Singapore drama series just as easy where there are many plots the author could have expanded on. The story-line is quite smooth with many plot twists to keep you on your toes.  You'll just keep reading because you'll want to know how Rachel deals with Nick's family, how will they treat her and how is Singapore like.

I have one complain though, that everything in the book seems way way too exaggerated in terms of the wealth of these people but at the end of the day we have to remember it's all fiction, just enjoy the book as it is. With the ways things ended, the story has just begun and I'm looking forward to read about Rachel and Nick's growing relationship and the many obstacles that will soon to follow. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Million Worlds With You


A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.

In the conclusion to Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed. It’s a battle of the Marguerites…and only one can win.
  - excerpt from book.

A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray is the final book in the firebird series. I finally picked up this book, it has been sitting long on my shelf as I dread the ending of it. Catching up right where the book left us at the second book's ending, things are just way too exciting. We jump into action and adventure without much of a break for my favourite characters. This round they are slightly different people from the previous as they have grown and also went through some terrible experiences. Much of their actions are influenced by their new found attitude which was understandable and realistic. I love that we get to visit some old worlds and also have new ones. The author has done such a good job maintaining the difference between all the parallel worlds. It's the minor difference of the characters that get  me the most in a sense that one small detail can change so much of reality. The instance of what ifs are the core of the story.

I often sigh when it comes to Marguerite and Paul because their love is just so dreamy and real at the same time. I love all the interaction they have and I want so much more for them but alas this book is more focused on Marguerite saving the worlds. As she journeys through and discovers all the different versions of herself she learns to grow even more. At times she can be quite annoying but it fits well with her character. Seeing all the characters' consequences come into full view in this book was such a joy. A slight disappointment for me would be the lack of involvement of my favourite side character. But still with the growth and actions the plot moves forward with ease.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Country Escape



A Country Escape by Katie Fforde (courtesy of Pansing Malaysia)

Even though I read chick lit but sadly I limit myself to only a few of authors such as Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, Cecilia Ahern and a little more. This author was my first attempt and when I looked at the ratings on Goodreads I was surprised. I went in without expectations and greatly enjoyed this book. It was a good page turner at certain chapters and it will calm down the pace a bit. I find this a very good slice of life story as the characters make the story move forward.

Our main female character quit her job in the city and move into a farm to run it. Little did she know with the little experience, what type of obstacles she would meet. Fortunately for her she has supportive people to help her out, build her character and  also be a part of the reason for the plot to carry on. The male character was a good surprise with his mysterious attitude and agendas, throughout the book I could not figure him out at all. The heroine is one special lady, I totally love her personality and always enjoyed her interactions with the male character. 

The story is told from Fran's point of view and it's a good tone of voice. The stories of how she overcome her obstacles unfolds at a good pace and then suddenly a plot twist happens. This plot twist was a good one as you will not see it coming and you can't predict what the result of it would be. You will be cheering Fran on and wishing something would happen between her and Anthony. You'll get frustrated whenever she's frustrated. I'm amazed that a simple story like this could capture my attention so well and influence my emotions. Overall, this is one good slice of life book with a simple yet important message about life. I do recommend this book to those who maybe, sorta got bored with writers that are over-hyped and way too famous. 

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