Sunday, December 31, 2017

Library Savings 2017

Whelp, another year has come and gone. Unfortunately, I was only able to read 23 out of my initial goal of 30 books in 2017 (shhh, I changed my Goodreads goal so it would still show my goal as completed). Interestingly, I find that I read a lot more during the school semester and less (almost none) during the summer. My theory is that working in the summer months exhausts me so much that I simply don't feel like doing anything and, during the semester, I will do anything to procrastinate my school work! It's so frustrating since I have way more free time in the summer than I do during the semester. 🤦

In 2018, my goal is to read a total of 24 books. I am hoping that two books per month will be manageable for me as I'll be dealing with my LAST SEMESTER OF COLLEGE, studying for the CPA exam in the summer, and beginning my career (woot 🙌) in the fall. Also, in an effort to "expand my horizons," I will attempt to read one nonfiction book per month. This may not happen every month, but it is something I would like to achieve a few times next year. I will also be reading more "adult" books. When I say "adult," I don't mean smut, but rather books that are not children's, middle grade, or YA. As you guys could probably tell, I have been reading more adult books lately (Big Little Lies, Murder on the Orient Express, Odd Thomas, etc.). I especially enjoy reading books that will be adapted to the big screen, because I LOVE seeing a book "come to life." So, although I'll still be reading YA, expect some other genres thrown in the mix. If anyone has good recommendations for any genre, please share in the comments!

Last year, I posted how much I saved by checking books out from libraries instead of purchasing them on my kindle. I figured it would be a fun tradition to keep up year after year, and it's strangely satisfying for me to see how much I've saved. No offense to bibliophiles; I'm the type of person that gets really obsessive about my budget and I'm trying to work toward a more minimalist lifestyle. I only buy books that I absolutely love or can't find at a local library. Below are my magnificent savings:

Book TitleSourceAmount Saved
Morning StarKindle11.99
The Sun is Also a StarKindle10.99
I'll Give You The SunKindle9.99
When Dimple Met RishiKindle10.99
13 Reasons WhyKindle8.99
Total Saved$90.91

Compared to last year's $107.02 in savings, that's not too bad considering how many books I managed to finish this year. Also, this does not include books that I borrowed from other people. 

Cheers to a new year and new books!! Happy New Year, readers! ✌

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

~Audiobook Review~
Title: Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables #1)
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Released 1908
Listened via Audible subscription
Rating: 5/5


Everyone's favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over (Summary from Goodreads).


I feel like Anne of Green Gables is one of those books that everyone has read except for me. Well, not anymore! I am so happy I decided to listen to this book. The only reason I added it to my TBR was that Rachel McAdams narrates the audiobook. 

I need to watch ALL the film/TV adaptions now 
It's impossible not to like our main character Anne. She was an orphan until Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decided to adopt a boy to help on the farm. A misunderstanding led to Anne being delivered to the Cuthberts rather than a boy. Marilla was set on having a boy, but Anne's voluble nature won her over.

I can't speak for everybody, but I found Anne to be an incredibly relatable character to my childhood self. Although I have always been very quiet and reserved, I used to daydream almost as much as Anne. I would completely zone out during lectures in school, and then be forced to figure assignments out on my own (I'm really good at self-study now 😆). Despite my daydreaming, I was also just as competitive as Anne when it came to grades, and I still am. I would even get questioned by my "friends" about why I use such big words, just like Anne! Anne is, basically, a much more extra version of myself. 

Although Anne is textbook smart, she makes some funny mistakes throughout the book, like accidentally dying her hair green! I also loved that she is sensitive, yet stands up for herself on many occasions. And she isn't perfect, either. Anne holds a grudge against Gilbert Blythe (who I am adding to my list of fictional boyfriends) after he tugs her braid and calls her "carrots." I mean, it's totally understandable to hold a grudge for a while, but Anne's animosity is legendary because it lasts for several years after this one event. Again, this is actually really relatable because I never forget when someone is rude to me, and I think about whatever they said to me every time I see them, even if they became nicer over time. I would tell myself that I would "beat" them in grades, similar to Anne's competitiveness with Gilbert. But readers will hopefully find that Gilbert is actually a Precious Cinnamon Roll™ as I did.

I also appreciated Marilla as a character. Marilla is a stern woman in her 60s. She never had children before Anne, so she is not always sure how to show her affection for Anne. I found myself smiling and laughing out loud when Marilla couldn't help but burst into laughter at the words that came out of Anne's mouth! I loved that her love for Anne became easier to show as the book progressed. And, of course, I can't end this review without mentioning Matthew. 

I was truly saddened when Matthew died at the end, especially since he was the one that convinced Marilla to keep Anne. As I mentioned, I was always a quiet one, so I found Matthew to be just as relatable as Anne. As a fellow quiet person, I love being around talkative people like Anne. I prefer to just listen to what others are saying rather than feel pressured into saying something of little value.

Finally, I am creating a little list of quotes and phrases that I enjoyed. I want to have them here in case I want to look back at this review and remember them:
  • "scope of imagination"
  • "bosom friend"
  • "kindred spirit"
  • “Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it.” 
  • “There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting.”
  • “I'm not a bit changed--not really. I'm only just pruned down and branched out. The real ME--back here--is just the same.” 
  • “Anne: "But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice".

    Marilla: "I don't know as that's much benefit when you're always making new ones.” (this quote, in particular, is literally my life)
Audiobook Performance Review
Narrator: Rachel McAdams
Rating: 5/5

As I mentioned, I chose to listen to Anne of Green Gables specifically because Rachel McAdams narrated it. I think she did a wonderful job! Her voice is so soothing and she adds the perfect amount of enthusiasm and naivete in Anne's voice. Some people criticized her voices for the other characters, saying that they are too monotone. However, I think that audiobook narrators do not necessarily have to create dramatically different voices for different characters in certain circumstances to be good, and this is one of them. There was enough distinction that I could tell the characters apart. McAdam's voicing for Anne emphasizes the fact that Anne is supposed to be noticeably more exuberant than other characters.

Overall, I LOVED her narration! I wish she would narrate the sequels, too 🙏

Friday, December 1, 2017

December TBR

Hey guys, my favorite month is here! I love December not only because of Christmas but also Winter break! The semester is almost over, and I can't wait to spend my break snuggling under a warm blanket with my feline, reading some good books! Below are the books read in November:

On my TBR for December:

1. The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova - You may recall that I've read three of Elise Kova's books in her Air Awakens series. I didn't care for book three, so I kind of gave up on that series. But my book friends say that The Alchemists of Loom has a better storyline, so I would like to give it a chance mainly because I enjoyed Air Awakens so much.

2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - I read Daughter of Smoke & Bone a long time ago, but the second book was a DNF for me. Maybe the theme this month is second chances because I decided to read Strange the Dreamer this month! My bookish friends LOVE this book, but I will keep my expectations low in case I'm disappointed.

3. Emma by Jane Austen - I will probably pick up Emma this month. I may have become obsessed with the film with Gwenyth Paltrow back in August. When I visited the New York Public Library in October, I bought beautiful editions of Pride and Prejudice and Emma. An attractive book cover is a huge motivator for me to read!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

~Audiobook Review~
Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Released July 29, 2014
Listened via Audible subscription
Rating: 4/5


Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive (Summary from Goodreads).


Desperate Housewives used to be a guilty pleasure of mine. I started watching it with my mom after it had been on for several seasons, and I was hella invested in the characters. Big Little Lies reminded me so much of the show, not only because of the drama, but also the emotional connection to the characters that you can't help but develop.

Although the genre is mystery/thriller, I felt that the tone of the story was mostly positive with some occasional serious moments. The book does deal with some tough themes including domestic violence and rape, but the majority of the book is actually quite fun and entertaining. I really liked that the author brought up these sort of issues that women face and showed that, although someone may seem to have their life together on the outside, you never know what someone is dealing with behind closed doors.

I think my fellow readers will find that this book is surprisingly addicting, even if it is not a genre you typically read. I found that I connected with older motherly characters like Madeline and Celeste (aged in their 40s and 30s), despite me being only 21 and single with no kids. I understood Jane's discomfort with being a single mother, younger and poorer than all the other moms, and I experienced anger when her son, Ziggy, was being falsely accused of bullying another child.

The story leads up to the fateful Trivia night, where one character meets his/her death. When we finally reach that moment, I was quite surprised! The ending of the book is satisfying and heartwarming. I would recommend this book to anyone!

Celeste, Madeline, and Jane portrayed by
 Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Shailene Woodley.
I am sooo looking forward to watching the mini-series! I love comparing book-to-screen adaptations, especially when the cast is terrific!

Audiobook Performance Review
Narrator: Caroline Lee
Rating: 5/5

When it comes to audiobooks, I care more about the reviews for the narrator than the actual book! I am finding that the more well-known narrators do not tend to narrate YA books, so audiobooks are expanding my horizons into the adult genre.

Caroline Lee had the perfect type of voice for depicting these drama-ridden Australian moms, especially her voice for Madeline. The distinctions between the three main female characters were recognizable, and her voicing of male characters was not annoying or outrageous. I couldn't imagine this book being narrated by anyone else.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Title: Renegades (Renegades #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release November 7, 2017
Bought Hardcover
Rating: 4/5


Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both (Summary from Goodreads).


You guys can't fathom how excited I get every time I hear about a new book coming from my favorite author, Marissa Meyer. I have been waiting months for this baby, and I had a blast reading Renegades. Marissa Meyer could write about poop, and I would still read it because I can always rely on her to create a story that completely sucks me in.

"One cannot be brave who has no fear"

From the first chapter, I was connected to our main female character, Nova. After she witnessed a tragic incident as a child, it became Nova's mission to overthrow the Renegades and instill self-sufficiency back into society. I found Nova's views extremely interesting. She believes that the presence of the Renegades makes the ordinary people lazy and unwilling to handle their own problems. I don't usually get political, but I admired her views because I am sympathetic to Libertarian ideas of relying on yourself rather than government to handle your issues. I would not go so far as to say I want complete anarchy the way the Anarchists do in Renegades, but the general idea is something that I admire. I also liked that, despite Nova's determination to fulfill her mission, she questioned her beliefs as she learned that the Renegades were not exactly what she thought they were. Honestly, you may find yourself unable to decide which side is "right." The Renegades and Anarchists are two sides of the same coin. I was happy that Meyer did not choose to give Nova some AMAZING power. Instead, she relies on her fighting abilities and skill at inventing guns and various equipment.

"There was the potential for evil everywhere, and the only way to combat it was if more people chose goodness. If more people chose heroism. Not laziness. Not apathy. Not indifference."

The book switches POVs between Nova and another main male character, Adrian. Adrian is such a PRECIOUS cinnamon roll. I will not go into too much detail about him because I want you guys to experience the book as I did. What I will say is that Adrian will make you ship the ship with all your heart. His goodness and faith in the Renegades bringing justice to the world is what prompts Nova to occasionally have second thoughts about her mission.

For those that like to see diversity in your books, I think you will appreciate this one. Nova is half Italian, half Filipino. As a fellow person of Italian descent, it was nice to see an Italian character in a YA book! Adrian's ethnicity wasn't explicitly given, but his skin was described as dark. We also have gay adoptive parents.

Overall, I thought the pacing was reasonable to me and did not feel rushed. The beginning was slower as Meyer built up the world and characters, and the second half ramped up the story progression which made it so difficult to put the book down! I like to savor Meyer's writing, so the length of her book (over 500 pages) did not bother me at all, but it might bother some people. The only reason why I docked a star was that the side characters did not feel built up enough, and some of the action toward the end was as exciting as I have experienced with Meyer's other books because it was a bit too predictable. Usually, predictability does not bother me all that much, but since others were complaining about it in their reviews, it started to get to me as well. Other than that, I LOVED this book, and I cannot wait to finish the duology once the second book is released next November.
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Title: Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10)
Author: Agatha Christie
Released 1934
Bought on Kindle
Rating 5/5


"The murderer is with us - on the train now..."

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again... (Summary from Goodreads).


Hercule Poirot is an amazing detective with a fabulous mustache.  Honestly, why would anyone commit murder on a train knowing the best detective in the world is present?  Well, I guess we wouldn't get a story as thrilling as Murder on the Orient Express.
Seriously look at that magnificent mustache.
I love Agatha Christie's writing because she can make an otherwise boring setting exciting and weave a great mystery in less than 300 pages.   There are a couple key things that I really enjoyed about this book.  First, the characters.  
Pages of dialogue can get tedious, but I found the dialogue to be extremely interesting because of the way Poirot questions the characters.  Through the questioning, we gain a view at the other character's lives and little tidbits of information that are important later in the book.  Although the characters were rather stereotypical, each had their own diverse background.  I felt like I could imagine being on this train with these people.  It is great to read books written so long ago in that time period, as opposed to a writer today writing a story based in that time period, because you know that the language used by Christie and the objects described were common back then.  It makes everything more believable.

"The impossible cannot have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances."
Daisy Ridley as Mary Debenham

On that note, the second thing I really liked about this was how the character's backgrounds unfolded in such a way where the suspicion is spread to everyone.  It is very satisfying at the end to look back and see all the little clues that point to the guilty person/persons.  I can't wait to see the new movie adaption this weekend and compare!  I know from the trailer that there are definitely some differences, as expected.  Nonetheless, the cast looks amazing, and I'm looking forward to seeing Daisy Ridley in another role.

I included the new movie trailer below - I thought the part where the character's roles hover over the actors was pretty cool!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November TBR

You guys, it's been six months since I wrote a TBR post! 😯

I know, it's terrible! But guess what??  I think I've finally broken out of my reading slump! If you guys remember my post about reading slumps, I tend to break out of them when I'm in the midpoint of a school semester, and this was no exception.  The thing is, I've not only been busy with school, but I was also prepping for job interviews like CRAZY.  I am happy to report that I have a big girl job next year! Woohoo!

Now that I am past the recruiting season and am *mostly* caught up with school reading, I have been getting into a routine every evening where I make time to read for at least a half hour.  I've been pretty successful thanks to this app called Routinist.  No, I'm not getting paid to sponsor them.  I'm just one of those people that like to try out apps for improving productivity and thought I'd share for my fellow productivity geeks.  I find that having structure to my evenings and mornings really helps me to stick with a bed time schedule and be motivated in the morning to do the majority of my work. 

Anyway, I've gotten severely off topic. Now for my November TBR:

1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - Just in time for the new film adaptation, I've decided that the best way for me to get out of my slump is to read a relatively short mystery by the legend Agatha Christie.  I've read one of her other books, And Then There Were None, back in middle school.  I have to say that it was one of my favorite mysteries (I was a huge mystery nerd back then).  I started reading this last week and thought it was appropriate for getting in the Halloween spirit!

2. Renegades by Marissa Meyer - Another reason I am able to get out of my reading slump is that my queen Marissa Meyer is releasing her new book on November 7th!! You guys best believe I've preordered this baby.  I still haven't recovered my feels from Heartless.

3. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff - I honestly had no idea what else to read this month, so I turned to one of my favorite booktubers, Little Book Owl, for ideas.  After watching her review on this book series, as well as the high reviews on Goodreads, I was sold!  I'm taking a bit of a risk, since fantasy books tend to put me in a reading slump if I'm not clicking with the writing.  However, this seems too interesting to pass up! Plus, that cover looks pretty damn cool.

Since I'm getting my evening routine together, I've also been knitting and listening to Big Little Lies again.  Hopefully I will have that audiobook done within the next month or two!

Wow, it feels so good to blog again, even if nobody actually reads my posts 😊

Friday, August 18, 2017

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Title: Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas #1)
Author: Dean Koontz
Released in 2003
Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4.5/5


"The dead don't talk. I don't know why." But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn.

Maybe he has a gift, maybe it's a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd's otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo's sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it's different.

A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world's worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd's deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

"His heavy face indeed had the quality of
a fungus, but a meaty variety. Very portobello."
Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock 'n' Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares, and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere (Summary from Goodreads).


This is one of the few fictional books my brother has ever read, and had been pushing me to read it for the last few years. Me, a stubborn panda, had my own plans. Even after seeing the film adaptation a few years ago, which I loved btw, I only just decided to read Odd Thomas.  Side note: I tagged this as "adult," but I think it could be considered "new adult" since Odd is only 20 years old. It makes me feel weird being a year older than this character!  

Odd (Anton Yelchin) being a cute little shit. 
This is such a comfy book to read. It is written like a memoir by Odd, and I adore his "voice." The great characterization is one of the reasons why I loved this book so much. Odd is a likable, quirky, and funny character. Despite his upbringing with two parents that don't seem to care about his well-being, he is amazingly positive. I couldn't help but be charmed by his humorous dialogue and thoughts even in the most suspenseful and serious situations. Despite his macabre humor, you can tell how deeply affected he is emotionally by the traumatizing events throughout the novel. I think his humor is a coping mechanism for dealing with his sixth sense. In fact, he admits he would be emotionally unstable if he didn't lead his life as simply as possible in the small town of Pico Mundo as an amazing short-order cook with three of the same pairs of shoes.

"It takes a while to realize what a lonely world it is, and when you do...then the future looks kinda scary."

Although Odd is the only one with such an "odd" name, every side character in Pico Mundo is quirky in one way or another, and Koontz builds up every characters' background so you feel the same familial connections with them that Odd does.  Even if Odd didn't have his sixth sense, I would still consider him a hero by the way he genuinely cares about the other denizens of Pico Mundo and his overall humbleness.

Gorgeous Stormy Llewellyn portrayed by Addison Timlin.
His relationship with Stormy is beautiful *sobs*. Their dialogue is wonderfully cute, and the chemistry is real. I actually felt so sad after finishing this book for reasons that would be spoilery, but also because I just loved the writing and felt like I was truly experiencing Odd's strange life. I'm looking forward to continuing the series so I can experience more Odd.

RIP Anton Yelchin. When I heard of his death, I was deeply saddened. His performance as Odd in the film adaptation was memorable, and I couldn't imagine anyone else portraying his character. I just bought the DVD so I could watch it again with fresh eyes after reading the novel.

Amazing performance by Anton, and also
my feelings after reading the novel and seeing the film.

Monday, July 24, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Released May 30, 2017
Bought on Kindle
Rating: 3.5/5


Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways (Summary from Goodreads).


This book is hard to rate because I REALLY loved the first 75%, but the last quarter was just okay.  As you guys know, I love a good ship.  The building of Dimple and Rishi's relationship was so freakin' cute that I had feels for days! As you can see by the summary, Dimple and Rishi's parents arranged for the two to eventually get married.  While Rishi is 100% on board with this, Dimple has other plans to pursue her dream of becoming a successful web developer and creating a life-changing app (yaaas you go girl).  I won't spoil anything, but the scene where the two meet for the first time was so cute, and I knew from then on that this would be an adorable ship.

The writer did such a great job of building the romance between Dimple and Rishi.  Despite Dimple's goals and initial unwillingness to date Rishi, she could not resist how nice and supportive he is.  I need to seriously stop reading books like this because it gives me unrealistic expectations of men. A lot of reviewers thought the romance built too quickly.  I didn't think this while reading the book, but in hindsight, it did seem rather fast.

I tend to rate higher when I experience a lot of feels, even if I know the writing isn't the best. However, I ended up at 3.5 because some things felt a little off.  For instance, a random talent show in the middle of this app contest supposedly makes winner more likely to win the app contest.  I just think the app contest should be solely based on the app, not the talent show.  The talent show was probably placed in the story just to incorporate an Indian dance between Dimple and Rishi.

After Dimple and Rishi got together, the story slowed down for me.  After all, the best part of a ship is the chase! I did like that we got to see what their relationship was like as a couple, because a lot of YA books end when they get together.  I liked seeing how they made decisions together and worked through problems.  The rest of the story just dragged for me and was a bit predictable.  Something causes the two to fight and split apart, both decide to pursue their dreams, both realize they still love each other, and they live happily ever after.

Overall, it was nice to read another cute and fluffy contemporary with diverse characters.  I liked googling the Indian references and traditions to get a better idea of Dimple and Rishi's backgrounds. I feel like there is more I wanted to say, but this book took me a month to read for some reason and I honestly can't remember a lot of the details.  I think fans of Anna and the French Kiss would really enjoy this!
Monday, June 19, 2017

Saga, Vol.1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Title: Saga, Vol. 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Released October 23, 2012
Bought Paperback from Amazon
Rating: 4.5/5


When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults (Summary from Goodreads).


So this book reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones. They aren't similar in any way whatsoever in terms of story-line, it's just that both had me hooked because of how, ahem, "adult" some of the scenes were, as well as the violence and overall dark tone set by the illustrations. The art, by the way, is so colorful and captures all my attention.

There are so many weird things in this book.  We have people with wings, people with horns, people with TVs as heads, hipster ghosts, a lynx that senses when people are lying, etc.  I mean, it's weird as hell, but somehow it works.

The characters are witty and multi-faceted.  There are hints in the book that they have history and I feel there is a boatload of info that I can't wait to learn about them.  Already, a potential adversary for our main characters shows he can kill without a thought, yet tries to save a 6-year old from being a sex slave.

The bad thing about graphic novels is that they are too short! I can't tell if I will really like this series until I read more. I definitely want to read the next one, though!! I'm keeping this review short and spoiler-free, but future reviews for this series will probably have spoilers.
Friday, June 2, 2017

Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money

Title: Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money
Author: Dave Ramsey
Released March 3, 2015
Bought from Amazon
Rating: 5/5


Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money covers the A to Z of Dave’s money teaching, including how to budget, save, dump debt, and invest. If you’re looking for practical information to answer all your “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions about money, this book is for you. You’ll also learn all about insurance, mortgage options, marketing, bargain hunting and the most important element of all—giving. Now let’s be honest: This is the handbook of Financial Peace University (Summary from Goodreads).


This is actually the first self-help book that I've read in its entirety, because the writing was easy to understand and this book made me feel excited, actually excited, to follow Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps.  Personal finance is a topic that interests me, but I often feel overwhelmed by all the information out there.  I'm always wondering if I'm really reading the right information, or if I'm getting sucked into a scam.

I don't even remember how I suddenly decided to look at Dave Ramsey's books, but I asked my dad if he's ever heard of him.  My dad meets the definition of Nerd in Dave Ramsey's book when it comes to finances, so when my dad told me he liked him, I thought this could be a good guy to learn something from.  You see, when I ask my dad about financial stuff, he just says "I'll get you set up right when you graduate college." But all I can think of is, God forbid, what if he dies tomorrow? I need to know this stuff now or I might not have anyone as financially literate and trustworthy as my own dad to teach me (okay, there are others I trust in my family, but my dad is my go-to person for advice).  I decided to read this book now so I can get some of my dad's input to verify what I was reading.

So, if you are in a similar situation as me, in college or starting a career with little knowledge of how to handle your personal finances, I think this book is an excellent starting point.  You don't have to follow his steps if you don't trust them, but it's great for learning the basic options out there for insurance, retirement, and mortgages.  Personally, I think the thousands of great reviews from the people he has helped is a testament to his advice.  His advice may seem simplistic, but I think over-complicating things is what gets us into messes in the first place.

One of the things that I really liked about Dave is that he stresses giving.  Although he presents it from a Christian perspective (as a Catholic this resonated with me), I think that giving is something that can make most people feel good about themselves and give some purpose to life. Not only that, but he challenges the notion that being financially well-off makes you selfish.  After all, you can't give to others if you have nothing to give!

After finishing this book, I felt empowered.  I'm a big-time worrier, so having a basic plan (the Baby Steps) to follow after college has eased my mind greatly.  If you don't want to purchase the book, but are curious about the Baby Steps, you can find information on his website. There are also several nice infographics floating around on Pinterest.
Thursday, June 1, 2017

June TBR

I finally managed to read the following books last month! Yay!

On the TBR for June:

1. Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey- Not YA. Like at all, but I'm in the mood to read about personal finance.  Don't worry, the YA books are coming!  Besides, a little practical advice never hurt anyone.

2. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - This has been on my radar all year. It's supposed to be light and fluffy, and Maria likes light and fluffy.

3. Saga: Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan - I really need to catch up on my Goodreads challenge with some shorter books, so I thought I would read some weird-looking graphic novels that have high ratings!  Depending on how much I like this one, I may read other volumes in this series this month.

4. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - My brother was bugging me to read this book years ago, and I kinda randomly decided: it's time. I'm in the mood for something different, as you can tell by my selection of books for this month 😉

5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Audiobook) - When I was looking for good audiobooks to spend my credits on, I recognized the name of this book from the tv show.  It has fantastic ratings and I've been in the mood for a mystery lately!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed

~Audiobook Review~
Title: Rogue One (Star Wars Disney Canon Novel)
Author: Alexander Freed
Released December 20, 2016
Listened via Audible subscription
Rating: 4/5


As the shadows of the Empire loom ever larger across the galaxy, so do deeply troubling rumors. The Rebellion has learned of a sinister Imperial plot to bring entire worlds to their knees. Deep in Empire-dominated space, a machine of unimaginable destructive power is nearing completion. A weapon too terrifying to contemplate . . . and a threat that may be too great to overcome.

If the worlds at the Empire's mercy stand any chance, it lies with an unlikely band of allies: Jyn Erso, a resourceful young woman seeking vengeance; Cassian Andor, a war-weary rebel commander; Bodhi Rook, a defector from the Empire's military; Chirrut Imwe, a blind holy man and his crack-shot companion, Baze Malbus; and K-2SO, a deadly Imperial droid turned against its former masters. In their hands rests the new hope that could turn the tide toward a crucial Rebellion victory--if only they can capture the plans to the Empire's new weapon.

But even as they race toward their dangerous goal, the specter of their ultimate enemy--a monstrous world unto itself--darkens the skies. Waiting to herald the Empire's brutal reign with a burst of annihilation worthy of its dreaded name: Death Star (Summary from Goodreads).


I saw the Rogue One film last December and knew that there was something about it that stood out to me more than the other Star Wars films.  As soon as I saw that there was a novelization of the film, I knew I wanted to read it to get an in-depth view of the characters' thoughts.

The novelization is very similar to the film, but has a few extra scenes.  Listening to the audiobook was almost like seeing the movie again, especially during the anxiety-inducing final scenes.  The relationship between Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor really stood out to me on screen, and their relationship is the main reason why I decided to either listen to or read the novelization.  I think the book is successful in developing these two characters up.  We get a better picture of their thought processes, motivations, and character development.  Even Krennic's POV was interesting to read, as twisted as his mind is.

When it comes to the side characters like Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, the novelization did not add much to their relationship and history.  I think I felt a better emotional connection to these characters on-screen.  Overall, this was a cool novel to listen to.

Audiobook Performance Review
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Rating: 5/5

Once again, my history of audiobooks is rather short, but I thought the performance by Jonathan Davis was fantastic.  His voice acting for most of the male characters sounded very similar to the film actors.  This was nice because it made it easier for me to visual the film actors while listening to the book.  I highly recommend the audiobook, as it even has cool sound effects!
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Title: I'll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Released September 16, 2014
Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4.5/5


Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them.

But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life.

The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world (Summary from Goodreads).


For some reason I went into this book thinking it would be a light and fluffy read.  Boy, was I wrong. Although it was an easy read, it packed an emotional punch.

The book alternates POVs between twins Noah and Jude. All of Noah's chapters are accounts of the twins when they were 13 years old, and Jude's when they are 16. Both teens are artistic, Noah moreso than Jude which is evident by the super flowery prose in his POVs. I am not a fan of flowery prose, so the plethora of metaphors in Noah's POVs threw me off.  However, as the story developed it became addicting and I didn't mind it as much. The hard thing about the metaphors was decrypting them so I could split apart what was actually happening in the scene versus what the character was experiencing emotionally.

I didn't truly start to fully enjoy this book until the second time I got to Jude's POV.  I think I really enjoyed the way Jude was carrying these random objects because of her superstitions and her relationship with her grandma's ghost. And also Oscar. Who doesn't love a character with a British accent?

A Jude-and-Oscar scene that I loved:
Jude: "A boy boycott."
"Really?" he says with a grin. "I'll take that as a challenge.
As a sibling of a bro that is both my best friend and gets on my nerves on the daily, the dynamic between the twins was relatable except when bro and I fight, it's like it never happened an hour later. I think the story captured the relationship between siblings amazingly with Noah and Jude's banter and emotional moments.

I'm not sure how to describe the ending except that it was extremely satisfying. The whole book I'm feeling tense because Noah and Jude have this rift between them and I'm wondering how they will make amends. The story was weaved in such a way where the ending was, plain and simple, beautiful.
Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Released November 1, 2016
Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3/5


Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (Summary from Goodreads)


I really wanted to love this, but unfortunately I felt "meh" about it.  Oddly, it was too romantic for me.  I say "oddly" because usually I enjoy a good ship and experiencing all the feels.  I've come to realize that I might just enjoy slow-burning ships.  The dialogue seemed too unrealistic.

I did like some of the themes that were dealt with in the story (i.e.controlling parents, figuring out what you want to do with your life, identity, suicide, illegal immigration).  I could especially understand the dynamic between Daniel and his father.  Although my own dad is not nearly as controlling as Daniel's father, he has always reminded my brother and I how good we have it compared to him growing up.  

I also thought it was interesting that we got information about minor characters in some chapters and could see how the main characters affected their stories.  It was a "cute" story and easy read, but it didn't impress me as much as I thought it would.
Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Released May 2, 2017
Bought on Kindle
Rating: 3/5


Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places (Summary from Goodreads).


***Review contains spoilers***

Time to FINALLY review ACOWAR, which has been all over the YA book community since its release. Going in, I forgot almost everything that happened in ACOMAF. All I knew is I wanted more Rhys! Maas did a great job bringing me back up to speed on previous events.

I'm debating where to start when reviewing such a huge book with so many characters...

I'll start with what I liked. At first, I found the beginning chapters exciting because Feyre was going all spy mode and taking down Tamlin's court. But upon reflection, I realized it was kind of stupid on Feyre's part, knowing that she would need his army later when fighting Hybern. Still, it was badass until she was caught. I also particularly enjoyed one of the war scenes toward the end when we had great descriptions of Cassian raining destruction upon Hybern's army. We are told how glorious the crew is at fighting, but it was nice to finally have a scene showing it.

Now, three stars means I liked it but there were numerous problems that prevented me from really liking or loving it. My first problem is the size of this book. There was no reason for these books to be this long, especially when they are filled with scenes that provide nothing for moving the story along. There really shouldn't have been so many sex scenes between Rhys and Feyre. I would't mind if there was one, but this book is supposed to be high fantasy and is long enough without these useless scenes getting in the way of story progression. Another part that bothered me was the scene where Rhys and Feyre were hosting a meeting to recruit the High Lords to join their forces in the war with Hybern. This scene felt ridiculously long because it was as if they were teenagers bickering rather than High Fae that have been alive for hundreds of years.

I like to read other reviews on Goodreads because they get me thinking about some elements I wouldn't have thought of on my own. One three star review mentioned that ACOWAF would have benefited from multiple POVs, and I totally agree. You could tell Maas had Feyre on the sidelines in some scenes just so that she could watch and describe what the other characters were doing. For instance, there was a scene where Feyre got into Lucien's head which was basically done just so the reader could see how much Lucien was obsessed with Elain. Which leads me to another point: wtf happened to Lucien? Maas built up his character in the beginning chapters only to throw him completely out of the picture! Again, this would have been an excellent opportunity for multiple POVs! We could have seen what Lucien was up to or the sweet exchanges between Cassian and Nesta from one of their POVs.

There were other things that bothered me as well, such as the fact that Feyre didn't even think about finding the Suriel until the worst possible time. The writing was definitely better than the first book, but a step down from the second. Not sure if I will continue the series...maybe if the next books are shorter!
Friday, May 5, 2017

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Released November 22, 2016
Borrowed from Library
Rating: 3/5


Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own (Summary from Goodreads).


Hey readers, sorry it's been awhile since I've posted anything! I didn't even bother posting a TBR for the month because I was still reading two books from last month's TBR.  The last month has been crazy busy and stressful because of school, but I only have one more exam tomorrow and then it'll be time for extreme reading.  Last May, I read 6 books in 2.5 weeks!

On to the review.  After much deliberation, I ended up rating this 3 stars because I liked the concept and the main characters, but didn't love the writing.  What I really liked about Scythe was that the idea was original.  I haven't seen any YA books remotely similar to this, except for the competition factor between the two main characters.  Our main characters actually seemed to have common sense in their actions and thought processes, unlike a lot of YA main characters.  I also liked that the beginning of each chapter had an excerpt from the Scythe's journals, which gave me a better idea of what they thought about the morality of being a Scythe and the politics in the Scythedom.

However, I couldn't help but be bored by the flat writing.  There were many times when my eyes kinda glazed over and I had to go back to reread.  Since the book was set hundreds of years into the future, there was an opportunity to do a lot of world-building and descriptions of the technology, but it lacked both.  Not only that, but the side characters were rather dull, and I would have liked to see more descriptions of how characters said things or what their facial expressions looked like.  This is another book that I think my younger middle-school self would have enjoyed more.

While I would have liked a more surprising ending, it was good in that the author could have left this a standalone book or added sequels. It looks like there will be a sequel, but I'm not sure if I'll actually read it...
Saturday, April 1, 2017

April TBR

So it appears I epically failed at my TBR last  month.  The reason I had no reviews posted is that I reread two books: Pride and Prejudice and Clockwork Angel.  I tried reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss which was on my TBR for March, but it wasn't for me.  School is kind of stressing me out, and high fantasy was the last thing I needed for my muddled brain.  Thus, I turned to rereading my old fave to prevent a reading slump.

Unfortunately, I'm at the point in the semester where shit is starting to hit the fan, and I'm finding motivation to do - well, anything - hard to come by.  I am hoping to read the following this month, but keep your expectations low:

1.  The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - I was actually going to pick up The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, but it was checked out at the time I visited the library.  Since this was also on my list of eventual reads, I decided to pick it up.  I'm not sure about the writing so far, but I'm hoping I will come to like it.

2.  Scythe by Neal Shusterman - This was on my TBR last month.  Obviously I was failing at everything, but I have the book in my possession and hope to finally read it soon!

3.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed (Audiobook) - This was also on my TBR last month.  I am currently in the process of listening to it and absolutely LOVING every minute of it.  The audiobook has sound effects, which makes it feel like I'm watching the movie all over again.

Thanks for being patient with me, guys!
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March TBR

Phew! Made it to the halfway point of the semester.  I managed to read two books last month:

Notice I didn't end up reading Illuminae last month; it was a DNF for me at around page 130.  While the unique format was cool, I found the characters to be too annoying to continue any further.

I'm hoping my reading won't slacken too much this month, what with the Nintendo Switch coming out tomorrow! I'm SO EXCITED for the new Zelda game!! If I manage to get my shit together, I'll be reading the following this month:

1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - I'm currently reading this chunker of a book.  Hoping to finish it within the week!

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Audiobook) - I've read the book, watched the Keira Knightley movie probably over 10 times, and seen at least 2 other screen adaptations of my fave classic! This time, I'm listening to the audiobook narrated by Rosamund Pike (she played Jane in the 2005 movie!!).  I love listening to the elegance of her voice.  The ability to count rereads on Goodreads means I can finally reread my faves without feeling anxious about meeting my reading challenge!

3. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - I feel it is time to read a contemporary novel for a change! I've been reading so many high fantasy and science fiction novels lately that I really need something more simplistic.

4. Scythe by Neal Shusterman - I have to admit that I'm basically reading this for the cover and great reviews on Goodreads.

5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed (Audiobook) - I spent a few hours today trying to decide what audiobook I was going to spend my audible credit on! I went to Reddit r/YAlit for advice, but nothing appealed to me.  I then took to browsing audible and came across this! I thought about reading the novelization after seeing the film and shipping Jyn x Cassian like cray, but for some reason decided against it.  The audiobook, however, seems too good to pass up (it even has sound effects!).
Friday, February 24, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

~Audiobook Review~
Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Released January 31, 2017
Listened via Audible subscription
Rating: 2/5


Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever (Summary from Goodreads).


*Review may contain  minor spoilers*

I've seen the cover of this book EVERYWHERE - on Instagram, on peoples' TBR lists, booktube, Reddit...EVERYWHERE.

And it was a huge disappointment.

I didn't feel that way through the first half.  In fact, being on the Julian x Scarlett ship train blinded me to the flaws in the writing.  Three major things bothered me:

1. Metaphors were nonsensical

I have this bad habit of reading negative reviews on Goodreads.  Once a negative review points out something, I start to notice the problem, too.  I probably wouldn't have been bothered by the weird descriptions unless I was reading the physical book (I was listening to the audiobook), but once someone pointed them out, I couldn't stop noticing them.

Can someone tell me what violet feels like? What does midnight and wind taste like? I just can't with these descriptions.

2. The story was choppy

The summary seems pretty dang enticing - A story about magic and getting entrancing in a game! Well, we get magic and a game, and that's about it.  The story lacked structure (much like my reviews).  Most of Caraval is Scarlett reminding herself that she HAS TO SAVE HER SISTER and JULIAN'S MUSCLES!!  Every time Scarlett discovered a clue, it felt too perfect.  Too forced.

3. It was basically a fanfiction

The bridges in Caraval changed direction when people walked on them...sound familiar? It reminded me of the staircases in Harry Potter.  Okay, no big deal right?  Then we discover Scarlett is supposed to marry (*SPOILER*) a dude named Nicholas Darcy. DARCY - a rich dude that kinda acts like an asshole.  And of course I thought of Pride and Prejudice. We meet a side character named Iko and I immediately think of The Lunar Chronicles. At this point, I was starting to get annoyed.  Iko isn't exactly a common name.

But perhaps the most obvious sign that this is basically a fanfiction is the entire premise of Caraval being a mysterious show that doesn't stay in the same place for long and is a competition.  Um....even the cover resembles The Night Circus!! I mean COME ON.  How do books like this get published?

I don't typically give books such a low rating; usually I don't finish books I dislike this much.  When I don't finish, I feel like I shouldn't review unless I read over half of it.  I happened to actually finish this because it was an audiobook and I needed something to listen to while knitting a blanket.  Also, I didn't realize how much certain things bothered me until toward the end.

Audiobook Performance Review
Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
Rating: 4/5

I don't have a lot of experience with audiobooks yet, but I felt that the performance was very good considering how bad the writing is.  I think it was actually the feeling exuded by Soler that kept me from noticing a lot of the writing flaws throughout most of the novel.  I liked that Julian's accent sounded Mexican (I could be way off base so sorry if my ignorance offends anyone!), because the names of the southern islands were Mexican.  The only voice I didn't care for much was Legend's - it sounded like an evil middle aged woman.  I feel like his voice should have had more of a magician's flair to it, confident.  I also like that she didn't try to make her voice sound manly for the male characters.  Overall, the voice acting made the book bearable.

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