29 May 2014

Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park     
Publication date: May 22nd 2014
My rating: 2 stars

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.
But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.
Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.
Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.

Eeeehhhhh.... *Insert biggest and loudest sigh in the world*

When I first started reading this book I was ready to fall in love with Celeste. I still remember Flat-Out Love and how much it was 'my type of book'. And then the novella, Flat-Out Matt which was SMOKIN'! What could possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out, so many things. 

First off I had problems with Celeste. She's a bit different from other people. She's a socially awkward genius in her senior year of high school. All Ivy-League collages are dying for her. She also talks like jumped out of an old novel. I usually love to read about 'different' characters but couldn't connect with her even though I tried. 

So, I thought: "The love interest is going to change my mind!" Wrong! At first Justin was adorable with his awkwardness. He reminded me of Cricket Bell, from Lola and the Boy Next Door and you know how much I LOVE that book! However, he started getting on my nerves with his constant babbling and running into things. He even said not a lot of people like him for those exact reasons! Hah! No kidding?! Since Justin and Celeste lived far away for a huge chunk of the book they kept in touch via email, texts and phone calls. Their conversations wasn't all that interesting. I found myself skimming most of it because I just don't care to know more about the food in some fictional restaurant o whatever else they were talking about. Didn't feel the connection there. They were already smitten with each other from the start so I didn't their feelings progressing throughout the book. 

Things were perfect for a while then Celeste had a breakdown or whatever you want to call it after Matt revealed he stayed to take care of her instead of going with Julie, his girlfriend, which ultimately resulted into them breaking up(?!).She even destroyed the precious Flat Finn. How dare she?!  haha oh,boy! At that point, I was SO ready to be done with this book. Skimming was essential once again. I skimmed to the part where she got her shit sorted right after she got Matt and Julie back together and everybody got a HEA. And what the hell was that scene where she barged in and interrupted Matt and Julie while they were doing it just so she could get the keys of the car?! :SSS 

The best part of the book were Matt and Julie and even that was a stretch because they didn't have any (cute) scenes right up until the very end. All in all, I really didn't care about this book. It was cute at the beginning but I got tired of it fast. 

22 May 2014

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of LaineyBook:The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Release Date: May 20th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

synopsis:Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

I...uh...don't get it.

I don't get the art of 'getting back with the guy or girl who broke up with you', or better yet, 'asking a friend to be your pretend boyfriend or girlfriend'.

Right from the very beginning, I had a weird feeling about this one.

Here's the thing, I'm all up for using resources to get a guy to notice me and my fabulousness as long as it's within the limits of sanity. It's entertaining and makes for a good story.
But to use 'resources' to WIN back your boyfriend who broke up with you in public? REALLY?
No, sir.

My explanation for this involves two sub-explanations:

One, to grab a man's attention is perfectly normal. It could be the perfect serendipity moment where John Cusack continues to pine for me (in the back of his mind) for seven or eight whole years, OR, it could be a moment where the guy doesn't notice me and I look towards other options because I'm a badass, OR, I do something embarrassing. By the way, embarrassing moments are the memories that usually last, so I don't mind.
But I do mind if the guy I'm committed to breaks up with me out of the blue and in public so that I don't cause a scene and then I decide that I can't live without him and TRY to win him back.
Two words: MOVE ON. If he doesn't see it, he isn't worth it.

Second, I'll just let Micah (boy-candy) do the talking,

"I've been thinking that when people break up there's usually a reason, and whatever it is, it's still going to be there even if we do get back together."

This book wouldn't have been so bad if only this moment of clarity dawned upon the protagonist some 150 pages before the end. Alas, this was not meant to be.
The protagonist and her inner debate with herself was so frustrating, in vain and prolonged, that there was a point where I thought that even divine intervention wouldn't make a difference in that silly mind of hers. Character development is the backbone of a story, but it needs to be paced. Lainey did grow up but my feelings towards her had dug it's hole and buried itself six feet under way before she could change my mind.

That's not to say that the book was pathetic, because it wasn't. With some cute scenes here and there. It was good enough to pass my time with.

This entire situation reminded me so much of this ridiculously amazing Bollywood movie that I saw in March.

In the movie, Rani is about to get married to her boyfriend in two days when her boyfriend breaks up with her in a coffee shop.

Rani feels lost and wants him back because her entire world revolved around the guy.

But to get over her pain she goes to Paris on her honeymoon, alone.
In Paris, she's lost and scared and lonely. Over the years, she had become so dependent on him, that when the time came to cross the road, she couldn't.

Little promises and little memories surface up and remind her of her glorious relationship with him.

She even sends him a text with a picture of herself in new clothes.

THEN, she meets a friend who helps her grow out of her shell for one night. This is soon followed by days of awesomeness and a trip to Amsterdam where she meets three guys who become her bestfriends.

In the end, when the guy realises his mistake and begs her to come back to him, she sends him packing and runs back to her friends to catch a rock concert! THEN. You see transition. You see a girl who was so scared, lonely, lost, dependent become this independent and confident woman. Also, she finally learns to cross the road.

Maybe this is what Paula Stokes aimed for. To see the transition and realize the 'true you'. Maybe this is what she hoped her readers would feel and there are people who really have enjoyed this book, who knows? Maybe you would too. :)

11 May 2014

Finally, Forever by Katie Kacvinsky

Finally, Forever by Katie Kacvinsky      
Publication date: May 9th 2014
My rating: 5 stars

College baseball player, Gray Thomas, had to go far out into left field to find a girl like Dylan, the ex-love-of-his-life. More than a year later, literally at a crossroads, they find each other together on a journey that is a pause between a painful past and an uncertain future. In this sexy and offbeat summer read, Gray and Dylan discover that a destination isn't always a place. More often, it's a person. Now it's time for them to finally decide, is this forever?

What a perfect book! I admire Katie Kacvinsky and must check her dystopian novels as soon as possible because there's no way they something other that great as well. 

It's been year and a half since Gray said goodbye to Dylan and released her. Now they meet again and of course nothing is going the way they planned. He's helping her find her pregnant sister which ran away from home with her older, stand up comedian boyfriend. On the way they had to deal with tornadoes, driving a robber, getting arrested, misunderstanding about people they're 'dating', undeniable sexual tension and a sore crotch(haha). It all sounds insane but it worked, trust me. 

I found this book funnier than both First Comes Love and Second Chance combined. First Comes Love was about letting go of the past, moving on and Second Chance was about allowing yourself to try even when it's hard and accepting the inedible. Finally, Forever didn't take itself to serious. In a way it was a beginning of a romance and growing up. It was cuter as well. It's hard to describe how I felt reading this book without spoiling it. 

Even though I love Dylan just the was she is I wanted to yell at her for not doing more about their relationship. I love her optimism, her gentle spirit and creativity but at times she could be a coward. I really can't explain it any other way. When you love someone, you should be able to do everything possible to stay by their side, not just think about yourself. She does refer Gray as the love of her life even to her parents. Gray was the real star in this book. He developed into this great guy. Hell, I'd love to date someone like him. 

In the end I do think Gray sacrificed more. It's hard to explain without spoiling everything but whoever picks the book will know what I mean. 

I'm satisfied with the ending but I  do think there could be at least one more book. We did get 3 books already. What's one more, am I right? Nothing for Katie. She can write another one, at least so I know how things are going for Lenny, if not because of Gray and Dylan. I'd gladly beg. I want to read more books with interesting, unique characters. No one's writing these book, except Katie Kacvinsky. 

08 May 2014

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

The Taking by Kimberly Derting 
Publisher: Harper Teen      
Publication date: April 29th 2014
My rating: 3.5 stars

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing. 
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. 
Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. 
Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

After a softball match Kyra starts fighting with her father and sees a strange light. She wakes up behind a dumpster with no recollection of how she ended up there. When she goes home she finds her mother has a new husband and a son while her father's become a conspiracy theory pro who's living in a trailer. Her boyfriend has moved on and is dating her best friend and the only person she can rely on is her ex boyfriend's little brother, Tyler who's now older than her. You see, Kyra's been gone for 5 years. 

I'm really conflicted about this book. On one hand I did like the first half of the book which focuses on Kyra and Tyler. Tyler was so cute, sweet and thoughtful. I was gushing whenever he was around. If there's a reason someone should read this book, it would be Tyler. He's had a crush on Kyra since he was a little kid but she didn't notice him because she was dating his brother. Kyra was nice enough even though nothing stood out about her character. She's one of those forgettable main characters. 

Like I mentioned this before. The first part of the book was all about Kyra and Tyler while the second half focused on solving the mystery or should I say running around without knowing what they're going to do next. I wish the characters wanted to ind out what happened before, in the first half of the book. This way the book was split in half, like The Taking was actually two different versions of the same book.  As if the author wanted to focus more on the romance but then, halfway, she changed her mind. Sadly, I didn't find the science fiction part as compelling as the romance. One last thing, romance in the second part of the book was too cheesy. It was one of those 'oh, how I love you. I would gladly give up my life for you' type of romances.  I hope the author fixes this in the sequel because I plan to read the whole trilogy.

06 May 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #29

This weeks Top 10's super fun! I really had hard time picking out just 10 covers because they have gotten really pretty over the last couple of years. 

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea- One of the main reasons I decided to buy this book was the cover. The dangerous cliff, the gothic font and the couple on the top just screamed buy me! buy me! 

A World Without Princes- I still haven't bought this book but I'm planing on doing it after I read the first one. I've heard there are pretty illustrations inside as well.

Seraphina- This cover has such an impressive line art. Wow! 

Every Day- I like the vision behind this cover-male and female bodies falling. And I love the break on the left side. I don't think I've ever seen something like that on a book cover before. 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue- Honestly, I could've put The Dream Thieves cover instead of this book because I love that one as well. Maggie has the best luck with her cover designs. All of them are great. 

Heir of Fire- I love the pose Celaena struck, her bow and for the first time I prefer the US cover over the UK one, mainly because of the background. I think it works better with the colors of the robe, hair and face. 

Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell. Another author with wonderful cover. I like this cover a lot because it appeals to my inner fangirl and makes me proud to be one. I just wish there were illustration inside as well because I wanted to see those two guys kissing. haha 

Kinslayer- Slayage! Badassery! I'm going to be completely honest. I bought Stormdancer and Kinslayer because of the covers. I still haven't read the books. They've been sitting on my shelf begging to be picked up. 

Plus One- Whoever designed with cover is a genius. I've actually read this book was back, before it even had the cover and once it was revealed I said to myself they did it because it matches the story really well. Boy living during the day and the girl during night time. His pink, fluffy clouds with her dark stars! Oh! Just perfect! And the gradient title is lovely as well. 

Unravel Me- At first I was mad about the cover change because I bought the original hardcover with the girl in a dress. I knew my books wouldn't match and I was so pissed! I didn't like it at all. But I did even eventually fell in love with it. 

04 May 2014

Love, In English by Karina Halle

Love, In English
Author: Karina Halle
File Type: e-book
Release Date: April 20th,2014
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

synopsis:He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.
Or so she thinks.

I had once liked a dude who already had a girlfriend. It wasn't a very nice experience. 

I have loved married men too. Sorry Jennifer, Ben is fabulous. 

I've heard so much about Karina Halle and her magnficient books. 
Her books have been known for their intensity. Intensity in the plot. Intensity in the romance. Intensity in the climax. INTENSITY. And you know what? I love intensity.
This book covers concepts of adultery and infidelity and after reading the synopsis I wasn't too sure if I should be starting my Karina-Halle-Book-Journey with this one. When it comes to concepts like the ones mentioned here, lots of things could go wrong. And maybe they did. Maybe things did go wrong. but you know what? I kind of ignored it. 

Vera and Mateo's story is a passionate one albeit a tad risque.
There were times when I started questioning my principles and my character. Here was a twenty-three year old girl attracted to a thirty-eight year old married man with a five year old daughter, who by the way, not only feels the same way about the girl but also breaks the cardinal rule of 'not getting involved with someone other than his wife'. I know how this sounds. Even my roommate was looking at me weird when I was trying to explain to her why I liked the book as much as I did. It was very uncomfortable. For her. Considering it was four in the morning and I was swimming in an olympic-sized pool of catharsis and babbling about how much this book surprised me. 

Not only was this book surprising but I also relished the fact that it felt new to me. How many times have I read about a protagonist who's been cheated upon by her boyfriend or girlfriend? A lot of times. 
And now.
How many times have I read about a protagonist who's the one who actually cheats or rather, is involved in the act of adultery? Not many. 

I know I know. It's wroooong. 
But damn you,Karina! It felt so right.
I was so wrapped up in Vera's and Mateo's story and their passion that I forgot about my own moral police and just let it be. I liked how the story played out and I loved the pace of the book. The rhythm of the book came and went back like waves on the beach and it was so engrossing! Once I started, I knew that I had to finish the damn book. 

After that last page, I actually gave myself some time to ponder over what I had just read and as always, I asked myself the one question which helps me get through my muddled thoughts:

Was I satisfied?

It's safe to say that I was satisfied in each and every way. 

I don't know if you'd read this book. You'd probably not like it or maybe, you may just do. For whatever its worth, if there is one thing that this book and the author deserve, it is that standing ovation for the smoothness and that absolutely genius way of handling concepts like such. Maybe things don't work like that in the world, but for now, I'm happy to be living in this dream state of bliss and maybe if you gave it a try, you might too.

02 May 2014

Second Chance by Katie Kacvinsky

Second Chance by Katie Kacvinsky 
Publisher: Create Space      
Publication date: October 31st 2014
My rating: 5 stars

Can two drastically different, imperfect people be perfect for each other?
It’s been four months since Gray and Dylan have seen each other. Dylan’s been traveling in Europe, while Gray has college, baseball, and a life rooted in one place. Gray’s determined to forget Dylan, the girl he fell in love with in First Comes Love. Besides, how do you make a relationship work with an independent loner?
Just when he decides he’s over her, Dylan makes an unexpected entrance back into his life, hoping their steamy romance can start right where it left off. Gray realizes you can tell your mind to do one thing, but you can’t always convince your heart to follow. Dylan realizes she finally has to make a choice between freedom and her relationship with Gray.
Hilarious, intense, inspiring, and emotional, Second Chance shows that love is a journey, and there are never clear road signs or maps to guide you along. You can only navigate with your heart.

It's been over a year since I last read First Comes Love. It left a lasting impression on me.  I wasn't expecting much. Just another contemporary story I'll forget soon enough. Boy I was wrong. It was a breath of fresh air among other new adult novels with insufferable characters and stupid, pointless drama. Don't you want to read a real story for a change? Why bring up obnoxious players with six packs and insecure, beautiful virgins in the picture? Read something genuine instead! 

Katie Kacvinsky knows how write characters. They're real. They make us feel things. They are us. As far as I'm concerned, she can do no wrong. I really have nothing remotely negative to say about Second Chance which sucks for me because I love to complain about all sort of things. Everything was perfect! 

Gray's back in college, playing baseball which Dylan's backpacking through Europe. They haven't seen each other in four months. Then Dylan comes back into Gray's life. He did try to stay away from her claiming he wants to be friends with her. Since that didn't work out well, they slowly start dating again. They are perfect for each other but that doesn't mean everything works out perfectly. Dylan's trying to change herself completely so she could stay with Gray. She stopped wearing baggy jeans, found a job, started dressing like a girl and so on. I knew what was going to happen next. Gray saw Dylan lost the spark and he sets her free. I really have no idea how's Katie going to work everything out in the end. Both of these characters have different goals in life-Gray wants to have a steady future while Dylan feels at home while she's roaming the world. I still want them to be together because I love both characters so much. 

Another home run for Katie Kacvinsky. No pun intended. I can't wait to see how this all plays out. I'd love if everyone ended up reading these incredible books but I'm a realist and I know no one's going to read it if I start nagging so I'm just going to stop. Don't read it! Miss out Gray and Dylan! Go ahead! I dare you!