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. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hero At The Fall

Firstly thank you so much to Times reads for sending me this copy.

This book took some time to as I was trying to complete the second book first. Continuing where the  second book left us, we jump right into action giving you much excitement but then it just goes on and on with the same pattern, exciting then long winded then back to exciting moments and etc. With this pattern I often get bored and would try to speed read where I end up skipping descriptions that were just not needed in my opinion. 

I would say that the introduction of a few characters were good but the main cast was just too scattered and with not much growth. As for our main heroine, the point of view was hers hence the readers get a full force of her actions and thoughts. Many a times I would not agree with her, shaking my head from left to right. Maybe I was too harsh or too strict of her because I wanted more from her. Although she had many conflicts and decisions to make, it did not make the situation any better for us readers because you could also see her thoughts running in circles before she truly grows as a person. As for the side characters, there was one who caught me by surprise because he did not act the way he was introduced in the second book. He definitely had the most growth in the book and his conversations were so entertaining to read. I would often be on my toes when it came to the characters that I liked but then sometimes it will just disappoint me.

This book was written a tad too long as there were many parts that I felt were draggy and some parts that needed more actions. It felt like you're reading a timeline that is quite long but in the end it's just a short span of time. Time is not clearly written hence I get lost at recalling how long the charactes were travelling in the desert. Comparing the plots to roller coasters ride that don't have loops is how I'll put it. It just goes up and down continously. I would applaud that nothing was predictable in the plots, which salvage my attention and patience in completing the book.

Overall it ended well and satisfying for me but I was not truly amazed. For a desert theme fantasy book, I think there could be more places of improvements. I am quite critique as I've been spoilt by many good fantasy writers that drives story with just strong personalities, or characters with very unique backgrounds. The characters in this book was not built to leave any memorable moments. I can tell you that even if I can't recall a book from start to end, the unique plotlines or characters are the ones that stick with me. I would recommend if you're not a picky reader on fantasy but for me I think I'll stay off arabian nights/desert themed fantasies for now.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Crooked Kingdom

When you can't beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem
, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world. - excerpt from book

Ending with much suspense, this book continues right where Six of Crows ended. Kaz and his crew have to fight for their life and freedom. The game is not in their favour as they were outplayed by Wylan's father. As they struggle to get out of the pinch, a new heist is planned. Leigh has done a good job capturing my attention and knowing that this is the last book, I was so excited to finish it. There were so many things that I did not expect at all. With multiple character viewpoints just like the first book, you never want one character's part to end just yet.

We're pretty set with who these crew of people are, but there were quite a bit of the past revealed and not to mention the notorious Kaz has more of his revealed. I absolutely enjoyed how each character look at the situation and how they perform the task needed without too much questioning portraying their trust and loyalty to Kaz. There's also some growth for the characters as the incidents slightly changes their fate. I love their interactions with each other, especially Kaz and Inej, Nina and Matthias. Their relationships really gets you emotional because you'll be rooting for them strongly. I can never get enough of the scenes between them and wished for so much more. I find that the one that surprised me would be Wylan as there's so much revealed compared to his mysterious background in the first book. Leigh really does an awesome job when it comes to tying all the characters together with their personalities that compliments the story.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Traitor to the Throne

This is not about blood, or love. This is about treason.

Amani has always been more gunpowder than girl. But as the Blue-Eyed Bandit her powers have gone from strength - as has the rebellion she risks her life for.

Then a brutal kidnapping leads her straight to the Sultan's palace, and she is forced to return to her desert-girl's instincts for survival. Betrayal, cunning and espionage are a way of life here - and Amani finds she fits right in.

But with the ghosts of her past swirling all around her, Amani's greatest fight may be to keep her own secret heart and desires under control...- excerpt from book

Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton continues right where we left off in the first book and it had an interesting start. I wouldn't say my attention was instantly captured but the action was good. I enjoyed the book a little but I read real quickly through most parts and focused more on conversations and only when it's exciting. There was quite a number of plot twists that caught me by surprise and it was really really good. The author have done a great job planning the story that leads to those incidents. All characters have such important roles to play in it.

The heroine is a well established character in the first book and you would expect less from her. In this book there is just little growth to her as she still lives up to her Blue Eyed Bandit role but then situations does not permit her to be herself and that's when she had to change to survive. I love her interactions with certain characters with moves the story forward with ease. The introduction of new characters into the story also brought a breath of fresh air to it. These new characters are unexpected and they all play really important roles. Sometimes you wished there was more interaction of them with Amani. One thing that disappointed me was the absent of some other characters which I liked in the first book.

This was a really thick book and there was just enough action. I expected more to happen but the timeline was short and we can't have too much happening actually. But still I felt that there was a lack of incidents and also too much focus on the main heroine. The book would be more exciting if there was another point of view introduced. Maybe I expected too much hence I got a tad disappointed. Overall this was a good second book with a good ending that will want you reading the last book. The only reason why I speed read was because I have the last book on my hands and I just wanted to breeze through this book. I think I  might not do it enough justice but then again with speed reading I skipped through parts that were what I felt unnecessary in the stories. If the first book didn't capture you then I think there is no point in continuing the series.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It Only Happens In The Movies

When Audrey meets Harry, it's the start of a truly cinematic romance- or is it?

Audrey knows that Harry is every movie cliche rolled into one. But she still chooses to let him into her heart....- excerpt from book.

It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne is about falling in love at first sight, about how a divorced family is like and also about dealing with a heartbreak. Which teenager never had struggles? It's just a common thing and honestly this book highlights family problems, relationship problems which are quite average but what makes this book deserving a publication? I would say the uniqueness of discussing romance movies is what kept my attention captured, otherwise I felt that the female character was just an ordinary teenager.

To my annoyance I felt that there wasn't enough growth to the main heroine but it did happen gradually instead of an instant. Throughout the plot she has many interactions with her peers where there were interesting ones and some boring ones which I felt I can make do without. The male counterpart needs more attention as well, he was quite sidelined and I wished there was more of his background revealed. His interaction with the main character are parts that I enjoyed but when it comes to her thoughts and her school life, it's just normal.

The plot had an okay pace with not too many plot twists making the book barely grasping my attention. Often I would just speed read through only paying attention to conversations. I definitely enjoy her assignments and thoughts to romance movies but without those parts, the plot is just meh~. I would not really recommend this book and I can't really comment on the writer as she is quite famous for a trilogy. Maybe I need to read those to properly judge her writing style but in all honesty I just liked it, I don't think you're missing out on anything if you did not read it.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there's still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach week after graduation, and her dad's wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she'll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekend.

Life couldn't be more perfect!

At least, that's what Lara Jean thinks...until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans-but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? - excerpt from book.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han is the last book in the series, it's truly a bitter sweet one for me as I was reluctant to finish the book, dreading the ending. With an eagerness to read, I jump into the story the instant I've gotten the book and my attention was easily captured. The author made this young adult romance so exciting to read about as there were many new events for Lara Jean and her family. The ups and downs were just so entertaining, never failing to amaze me through the reactions of the characters. 

I was waiting and waiting for a certain male character to show up as I wanted a spicier romance for Lara Jean but sadly I was just anticipating too much. Lara Jean is on a search to find what she wants, her journey and growth truly made her special, the way she dealt with situations was genuine. I love how tight the family is and how that one person's actions and reactions would affect the family's dynamics. A heartwarming family from start till end, I love how they would stay so close and honest with each other.

To drill down on the characters, they are realistic people written by the author. The author potrays them well and pulls you in till you have that feeling that you know them well, like Lara Jean is your real life friend. I love how Lara Jean grows up gradually in the story, I often have moments of conflict when she is making decisions, I'll be like oh no sister, you shouldn't do it that way. As for every other character in the book, they fit in quite well with their personality, doing things they are meant to do perfectly.

I had no idea how the plot would go at all, I was happy that I didn't try to anticipate anything and just go with the flow. The flow was indeed good with surprises here and there. I love the plot twists although childish but very realistic. Indeed this was a heartwarming book with moments that you can treasure when it comes to family. It was a good conclusion to the series but I cannot hide that I was disappointed at some parts but nevertheless it was still acceptable. Overall I would say this series is worth picking up, giving you a good amount of romance, fun, family and teenage problems. I highly recommend this to those who want a refreshing take that is non cliche contemporary young adult series.

Monday, January 22, 2018

What To Say Next

"Please don't take this the wrong way, but you're so weird," she says. I look at her, or at least her chin, and discover that an offhand comment by Kit can disrupt my respiration. "But good weird, you know?"
Good weird.
Good weird is what I've been telling myself I am for years, when being just plain weird was too much of a burdern to carry. Good weird is the only solution to the problem, when normal isn't a viable option. Good weird may very well be the opposite of cool, but I've never aspired to cool. At least, not the version I'm familiar with.
"Thank you/"
"Speaking of weird, I have a random question for you. What can you tell me about quantum mechanics?" Kit asks, and a shiver makes its way from the bottom of my spine all the way to the top.
My sister suggested that I think up some small-talk ideas in case Kit came back to my table today.
Top of my list?
Quantum mechanics.
It's almost enough to make me reconsider the entire concept of fate. - excerpt from book.

What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum is about two people who are not in the same click in high school but starts to interact with each other. A traumatising incident caused the popular girl Kit to suddenly sit at David's table.  It's definitely something that has never happened to David as he eats alone all the time. He rather have the quietness than to be bothered but why did Kit sat with him. 

I like how the author emphasise on biracial as it's not a topic often talked about, especially for those who are in America as from where I am it's quite common but there are always issues involved. I'm pretty sure it's the typical ones such as cultural differences, religious practises and principles while growing up. For someone like Kit who is half and half it's quite hard to get the correct footing as people would ask that question of "so what race are you". I find it quite rude but then again children are innocent because they don't understand how it impacts the person asked. That is just part of the important topic, another one would be a socially awkward child and how he fits in high school. 

I find David's perspective to be interesting to read when he is all alone thinking about his peers, how he views them and how his sisters gives him warning about those people. Of course all those socially awkward people are not entirely the same but they do go through the same struggles, trying to either fit in or be invisible. Of course we will never see the end of the "normal" people judging them and the extreme ones will bully. 

When those two interact, what are the conversations and activities that they partake, how they feel about each other are parts that enhances their personalities. I totally loved how the author manage to make the story flow without boring the readers, everything was light and easy yet a heavy message was subtlety told. Having a simple plot yet giving it life through the emotions and reactions of the characters made you feel closer to them. Lastly, how they grow directed the book to its plot twists.

A good page turner, this thin book packs a punch to your emotions and leaves quite an impression. For all those contemporary young adult lovers, this is one book you should not miss. I have heard that the author's debut was good, so after reading this I am convinced to pick up that other book.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Without Merit

"Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness"

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother's former nurse, the little half-brother isn't allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there's Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn't earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her---until she discovers that he's completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she's never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves -- excerpt from book

Coming from the author who took this genre with a whirlwind and a storm, her books are something you will learn to love. Latest from her collection of great books, this story focuses on a seventeen year old with family issues. She is someone who will trigger your feels in a sense that you might be able to relate to her. Her issues are not of the odd ones and definitely something common in our society.

Many characters are involved with our main heroine, she's quite conflicted with most of them. From her point of view, she would tell how she sees them. You can gauge her personality by her thoughts and action and realised that some days I'm just like her. I absolutely love it when she interacts with her family as it's the key to capturing my attention. Another character that caught my heart would be the love interest of Merit. He is one individual that is mysterious at first and when you get to know him better, the more you'll love him. Every other personnel in the household are certainly unique/normal enough to read about, I swear you'll never be bored.

As a new adult genre, do not expect too much of the plotline and you will enjoy the book. The events that happened are results of reactions from the characters of the book. You can expect a smooth and intriguing story but at some point it was slight bore where you wished something would happen already. But luckily for the plot twist it held my attention once again. 

Overall I would say this book was good but not as good as my favourite November 9. The character growth is good but the plot is average. There are certain moments that pulls at your heart string but not strong enough. The conversations about a certain issue highlighted in the  book can be related easily and that's one of the important things that I appreciate how the author approaches it. Without a doubt if you're a fan this book is a must have, but comparing it to the other two I've read, this is currently 3rd place.

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