BOOK REVIEW: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum #WTSNPhBlogTour

Title: What to Say Next

Author/s: Julie Buxbaum

Publication Date: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 272

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

My Thoughts

 I remember it too clearly, right after I finished reading Julie’s Tell Me Three Things, I said to myself: “Julia Buxbaum now belongs to my auto-buy-authors list.” 
And here it is, I’ve been given a chance to be a part of a PH Blog Tour, hosted by a fellow Filipino, and sponsored by Penguin Random House International. Thank you so much, guys!
This quick, sweet, and interesting read would have gotten a perfect 5 stars if it wasn’t for the fact that I thought the book centered on death, and I am soooo tired of stories with such subject. (I am not telling you that this novel is mainly about death)
I was once a high school student, and as everyone knows, being one is not a joke. Especially if you’re around people who are mean (the total jerk and bitches). You will be afraid to speak out. You wouldn’t like each other. You will want to be someone else. Wish that you’re in a different place. But that is high school, that is life. And you need to have courage to stand for yourself, because only you can.
I sometimes find myself connected to the characters. And that’s what makes me like this book even more, the connection. The diversity present in the novel, and the characters who have strong voices make the story stand out. I enjoyed reading about David’s qualities, as well as being inside his head, I liked that I got to learn more information about such mentality. 
Overall, this novel made it to my 2017-favorite-reads, and this has been another beautiful book written by such a lovely author.

Rating

5stars


author

Julie Buxbaum is A New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, and the critically acclaimed novels The Opposite of Love and After You.  Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish.

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BOOK REVIEW: Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Perfect

Author/s: Cecelia Ahern

Publication Date: April 4th 2017

Publisher: by Feiwel & Friends

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 341

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

“Celestine North is Flawed.

Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.

My Thoughts

In “Perfect”, I learned to love each character, be it the good and the bad ones.

Unlike in the first book, the romance was more present in this one. The characters’ real intentions were also revealed, and oh my that was just what I am looking for! the thrill, the answer to the mysteries!

Celestine North, once again, developed. And it was from a hundred to perfect. She learned how to embrace her flaws, and to accept other people.

The supporting characters were quite developed too. And that is what I loved most. How her family, those who love her, did not turn their back against Celestine. They stood beside her, fought with her, fought for her, despite knowing the fact that they are in a really dangerous place.

The novel also showed how power drives a person crazy, how much of a person is willing to give and take just to have the power that they desire.

Cecelia Ahern’s writing style is what gave this book a perfect 5 stars. It was compelling, regardless the fact that some parts are too descriptive and irrelevant, I did not dare to skip.

Perfect was a wonderful ending to the duology. I just wish that there are still more, for the reason that the first and this book was beautifully written but it felt like it was a bit rushed.

Overall, I recommend this action-packed and intense book to Dystopian lovers!

Rating

5stars


author

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.

 

 


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BOOK REVIEW: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Flawed

Author/s: Cecelia Ahern

Publication Date: April 5th 2016

Publisher: by Feiwel and Friends

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 336

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

You will be punished…

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation where she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found flawed.

In her breathtaking young adult debut, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society where perfection is paramount and flaws lead to punishment. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.

My Thoughts

**Thank you Macmillan International for providing a copy of Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, in exchange of an honest review.**

Flawed grabbed me from its very first line: “I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white.”

I don’t know why, but it happened that I used to avoid this book. No, I used to avoid books with a concept like this one. I am not a fan of Dystopian. However, Karina of @afirepages ‘ love for this book made me really curious, and got me asking for a review copy to read. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

In the first few chapters, we were introduced to the main character and the Guild- government’s temporary solution to people’s wrongdoings. If you are branded as Flawed (literally) it may be because you made a bad decision, you lied, you committed theft, or you’ve been disloyal to the Guild. The branding location will depend on the error of one’s judgement. And there are only a few things branded people are allowed to do.

Celestine North, Art Crevan’s girlfriend, daughter of an admired couple, a girl who’s been Perfect her entire life not until she made a choice of helping an old flawed man. Now she must face the consequences of her decision.

The pacing is another factor why this book was rated 5 stars. It was quick-paced but it’s pleasing enough since it has thrilling events. I think the pacing also worked for the novel’s world building.

Did I mention that this books
is diverse? Celestine having a black father and a white mother.

I liked how the main character, as well as SOME of the minor ones improved. Their development are pretty much satisfying knowing that Celestine was once a people-pleaser, as well as her mother. They used to obey the rules and make sure that they aren’t doing anything that will ruin them. All of those changed when one had the courage to stand and fight for what she knows is right. Needless to say, the characters, almost all of them has loud voices. Just read between the lines and you’ll get the messages they convey.

“Remember, in this world, image is everything.”

Flawed is has perfect storyline with an amazing concept and a wonderful writing style. Hats off to Ahern!

This novel was my most favorite read last month. And Cecelia Ahern, surprisingly, made it to my “auto-buy authors” list.

Piqued your curiosity? Please do read the book.

Rating

5stars


author

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.

 


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ARC REVIEW: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Author/s: Maurene Goo

Publication Date: May 30th 2017

Publisher: by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 336

Purchase at: Amazon

synopsis

“Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She’s for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

My Thoughts

**Thank you MacMillan International for the review copy of this book.**

Being an Asian and a K-Drama fan, being approved of having to review this book brought me a-100% joy! Reading the blurb, I immediately knew that I’d love the MC, a Korean-American teenage girl with a cool father who loves watching K-Dramas… Or would I?

Meet Desi Lee, an outstanding student, a goal-setter, a complete control freak, she excels at anything except love. Then she met the artist, Luca Drakos (what a cool name right?) and she’d do anything to make the boy fall in love with her. Of course, with the help of her listed steps or Rules on How to Achieve True Love.

A round of applause for the well-made diversity. Racial and sexual diversity are present in this book. Stating the fact that the two MCs are people of colors and that Desi’s best friend is a lesbian.

Desi Lee has such a strong voice, with her being all nerdy, wanting to be in-control, setting goals, having directions in life, and planning her future. But I hated how she thought that she can manipulate EVERYTHING, I mean, who would want their feelings to be manipulated? I hated how she purposely played with Luca’s feelings, like Luca’s just another science experiment (which he was) and another trophy to put on her collection.

I also want to mention the difference between Desi and Luca’s father. Desi being really close to hers supporting her, her dad being all vocal and witty around her. While Luca has a father who always have him arrested, grounds him, and all. Makes the readers realize that parents do have different ways on raising their children.

This is my first time reading a book written by Maurene Goo. Her exceptional and brilliant writing made me want to read more of her works.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who loved Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Love Before.

 

Goodreads Review Click This Link

Rating

6171cf4f-39cf-4de2-b9c6-bebe8ed9657e


author

6549377Maurene Goo grew up in a Los Angeles suburb surrounded by floral wallpaper and piles of books. She studied communication at UC San Diego and then later received a Masters in publishing, writing, and literature at Emerson College. Before publishing her first book, Since You Asked, she worked in both textbook and art book publishing. She also has very strong feelings about tacos and houseplants and lives in Los Angeles

 


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BOOK REVIEW: The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: The Careful Undressing of Love

Author/s: Corey Ann Haydu

Publication Date: January 31st 2017

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 288

Purchase at: Amazon

Synopsis

“Everyone who really knows Brooklyn knows Devonairre Street girls are different. They’re the ones you shouldn’t fall in love with. The ones with the curse. The ones who can get you killed.

Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Street girl, and for years, paying lip service to the curse has been the small price of living in a neighborhood full of memories of her father, one of the thousands killed five years earlier in the 2001 Times Square Bombing. Then her best friend’s boyfriend is killed, and suddenly a city paralyzed by dread of another terrorist attack is obsessed with Devonairre Street and the price of falling in love.

Set in an America where recent history has followed a different path

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I am grateful that The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu was sent to me.
The novel’s synopsis hooked me. I mean, who wouldn’t want a book about girls who shouldn’t fall in love with a boy? Because if so happens, the boy they love will die.
Another magical realism! I am starting to be a fan of this genre. I love how odd and mysterious the book is, the curses, their beliefs. Problem is it became TOO mysterious, there wasn’t even a history or background about the curse, why there’s a curse, when did it start, etc. ACUOL has a nice plot if only the author did let it reach its potential. 
This novel is indeed about a careful undressing of such a powerful feeling, love. What is love per se, and all its worth. The book also focused on grief and how to cope. 
I didn’t feel any connection to characters. And I was disappointed for the whole story centered to Lorna, her grief and her beliefs. It seemed like the author forgot about the other girls who were also supposed to be in pain, grieving, questioning love and their curse. But each character has a loud voice screaming things about the importance of friendship.
I’d like to mention two of the things that made me rate this book three stars. First is the diversity. The characters have different nationalities as well as sexualities. Next in line is the gorgeous prose, one full of feelings and emotions.
Though the ending left me feeling unsatisfied, I would still say that this book deserves to be read especially by those who love mysterious magical realisms, that my dearies, is if one is open to a lot of questions

Rating

3stars


Author

5414574

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BOOK REVIEW: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson

Title: City of Saints and Thieves

Author/s: Natalie Anderson

Publication Date: January 24th 2017

Publisher: by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 401

Purchase at: Amazon

Synopsis

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

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**Thank you Penguin Random House International for providing an ARC of this title in exchange of an honest review.**

Please take note thar this review is based on an ARC.

A YA novel I never thought I’d love!

What had me hooked was the first rule in being a thief. “If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.”

The unique setting quite fascinated me. I now have enough knowledge about Kenya. I mean, if I am not mistaken not much books are set in such place. Tina lives in such a complicated yet interesting place, Congo. The originality caught my whole attention and made my reading experience more enjoyable.

I liked the characters, mostly Tina. She’s someone who’s determined, strongly-motivated, someone who knows exactly what she wants. A brave and smart young girl. Together with her is Michael and Boyboy, both played a really important role in the the story. They were also one my favorites!

There were serious issues tackled in the story like human rights, politics, economics are also included, as well as inequalities. Each has strong and unimaginable impact.

The pacing of the story is what annoyed me, most of the time the pacing is stead-fast, while some times, it’s too slow. Though it didn’t affect my reading, I just you guys to know just in case some of you don’t like alternated pacing.

Never have I ever read a thriller book with a revenge plot mixed with street gangs. One which has relevance in our current situations. The story was too thrilling, too unpredictable, I was often at the edge of my sit. The storyline kept me guessing, thank goodness I was brought to a few new places.

Overall, City of Saints and Thieves successfully pleased me. I want to read more diverse books like this. Highly recommended if you want something different.

Rating

4stars


Author

14746831

Natalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Boston, Massachusetts. She has spent the last decade working with NGOs and the UN on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer in Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints and Thieves.


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BOOK REVIEW: Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Title: Lucky Boy

Author/s: Shanthi Sekaran

Publication Date: January 10th 2017

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 480

Purchase at: Amazon . FullyBooked . National Bookstore

 

synopsis

“Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. As Kavya learns to be a mother–the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being–she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.

thoughts

The moment Julia (from PRH International) introduced the book to us, I knew that Lucky Boy is not my cup of tea, but somehow I wanted to read something that is out of my comfort zone.

Thank you Penguin Random House International for giving me an opportunity to read and review Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran in exchange of an honest review.

Lucky Boy is one hell of a strikingly beautiful novel, wherein two main characters were introduced. Soli , an illegal immigrant from Mexico who got involved with some guys, and found herself pregnant. She is the birth mother of Ignacio “Nacho”. Since she’s an illegal immigrant, she got into trouble with the state’s laws. Soli temporarily lost custody of her child.

Then meet Kavya , and her husband Rishi , Ignacio’s foster parents. Kavya and Rishi had a hard time trying to make a baby, they were so close to having one, but all their hopes fell when the baby lost its heartbeat. They tried and tried and almost gave up, until Ignacio “Iggy” entered their life. Kavya treated him as her own, gave him a life that is close to perfection. However, only one mother can have Ignacio.

Tell me how to stop all these feelings? The novel is full of hard reality facts. Subject matters are of importance. Immigration, parenthood, issues that are prevalent in this generation. Also, though the book did not focus on this particular aspect, rape issues were present.

The book was set in a familiar place, but funny how the people aren’t. There were different beliefs, personalities, values and characters.

Even if the book did caught my interest, I can’t help but notice the flatness of the author’s writing style for the first 30 pages. Good thing that it happened to impressively improve along the way. I was too invested to the lives of the two mothers, but going close to the resolution, the story started to bore me. I lost interest. Everything happened to be predictable. And the only thing that keeps me reading is the fact that I know the importance of this book, and that I am rooting for a surprisingly different ending. BUT, the ending left me upset, disappointed.

Overall, Lucky Boy is definitely a compelling and promising book. One that is full of love and at the same time it will leave you conflicted.

Rating

4stars


author

1779547Shanthi Sekaran was born and raised in California, and now splits her time between Berkeley and London. A graduate of UC Berkeley and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, she was first published in Best New American Voices 2004 (Harcourt).

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