Monday, April 1, 2019

I Owe You One


Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?
  -  excerpt from book

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella is her latest stand alone, I was fortunate enough to get a proof read copy from Times Read (Thank you so much btw). I can proudly say I have never missed any of her standalone as I love those more than the Shopaholic series, Becky can be funny to read about but tiring as well as she's kinda annoying in her ways.

So back to the standalone, I won't say I was blown away with this title but I was quite satisfied with the story and characters. Not exactly my favourite but I could relate to Fixie. She is a character that makes you frustrated because you feel for her and you'll be rooting for her all the time. Her encounters in life is not unfortunate but nonetheless a little bit sad. There is a side that you will love about Fixie and that's what captured my attention as I want to know what happens to her. Her interactions with other characters are amusing, funny and you would want more. Her love for her family can be seen through her actions but it's also her downfall. When the lead male character was featured,  there wasn't enough sparks and I also felt that wasn't enough interactions for the both of them. From that, I concluded this book was more about family and Fixie growing than a love story.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

All Your Perfects


Can a love story with a perfect beginning survive s lifetime between two imperfect people?

THEN: The last thing Quinn expected was to meet the love of her life just outside her fiance's front door. A year after leaving behind their cheating partners, Quinn and Graham are in a perfect relationship that seems designed by fate.

NOW: Seven years later, their perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes and dreams that they have built up over the years are tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage past the point of no return.  - excerpt from book. 

All your perfects by Colleen Hoover is my latest addition to the collection. I am often worried when one writer starts to produce one book a year, like Sophie Kinsella and many other authors there would be some books that are not going to amaze me at some point. This is my fourth book and I'm very happy with this book. This book talks about how a married couple met unexpectedly and how things have hit the 7th year crisis of marriage.

It started with a twist that instantly caught my attention and slowly the plot moves back and forth through the female character's timeline in her relationship with her present husband. This type of writing is the type that encourages constant reading as you get a little excitement here and there on the past and present time. Just when you think you can guess the plot, a twist happens and you'll feel for the characters.

Quinn is definitely a realistic person, I feel like I can relate to her. Her fears and her thoughts throughout the book defines the person she is. The way she interacts with her husband is understandable. Because I can empathize with her, there are many moments of shared feelings, when she is upset I get upset, when she is sad, I'm sad too. The way her family members interact also defines their relationship and just how well they know each other. I love all the interactions that she has with her family and especially the husband. As for her husband, it's from Quinn's point of view so the readers don't really know what goes through his head. But judging from her view and then having to read about him later on as the plot goes on, it will shock you.

This book came with a strong message behind and I truly appreciated it. It was a realistic story about marriage and how this couple dealt with it. There are many types of marriage in this world but this one in particular speaks to my heart as I am somewhat similar to Quinn in terms of personality. I learnt from this book and I will keep in mind when there are troubled times in my relationship. I highly recommend this to the ladies who are married, if you are single you can still read this book but it will be harder to relate to Quinn. Definitely a new favourite for my Colleen Hoover collection, this keeps me excited to read more of her books.

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. 
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