Friday 21 March 2014

Review: Our Song by Jordanna Fraiberg

Our Song
Author: Jordanna Fraiberg
Pages: 352
Publication Date: May 2 2013
Publisher: Razorbill

Olive Bell has spent her entire life in the beautiful suburb of Vista Valley, with a picture-perfect home, a loving family, and a seemingly perfect boyfriend. But after a near-fatal car accident, she’s haunted by a broken heart and a melody that she cannot place.

Then Olive meets Nick. He’s dark, handsome, mysterious . . . and Olive feels connected to him in a way she can’t explain. Is there such a thing as fate? The two embark on a whirlwind romance—until Nick makes a troubling confession.

Heartbroken, Olive pieces together what really happened the night of her accident and arrives at a startling revelation. Only by facing the truth can she uncover the mystery behind the song and the power of what it means to love someone.

Our Song could have been more enjoyable if I hadn't read a book similar to this. A girl has an accident and it literally takes the whole book for you to finally know the whole reasoning behind the accident. And let's not forget that the broken love interest she meets who is just filled with dark secrets. I'm sorry, but this plot is overused, especially in New Adult novels. Where is the originality here? Please, just please give me something new. I'm sick and tired of reading the same thing over and over again. 

One of the things that I hated about this novel was how blind Olive was. Derek was rude, inconsiderate and beyond selfish. Olive spends the first half of the book, complaining how on earth Derek was already over her and how he could replace her so easily with the school's most popular girl. Olive's best friend didn't even like him. Whether or not he's a good or bad guy, if your best friend doesn't like your boyfriend and thinks he isn't the perfect match for you, I suggest you take a closer look at him. I'm not saying you should dump him on the spot, but you should definitely consider their opinion. After all, they are your best friend.


I absolutely hate cheating. I cannot tolerate it at all. Olive, Derek does not deserve you. You better are off without him. Eventually, she realizes that...until the last quarter of the book. 


Moving onto Nick, the mysterious guy she meets at the Near Death Society meeting. Nick compared to a cardboard figure. So lifeless. I read this book a few days ago and  I could not remember a single thing about him. There was no substance to him at all. Yes, he was definitely better than Derek and if I had to choose one for Olive, it would be him. But at least make Nick have some sort of depth to him. 

In the synopsis, it mentioned that their dates were far more romantic than any movie and nights filled with adventure. THIS IS A LIE. 


If ever you see this book at the bookstore, I would highly recommend you to not pick this up at all. Absolute waste of time for this book is so similar to other contemporaries out there. If there was one thing that I did like about this novel, it would've been the "song" aspect to the novel since it added a tiny bit of originality. But that still couldn't even save the novel from being different from the rest. 

Monday 17 March 2014

Review: Time After Time (Time Between Us #2) by Tamara Ireland Stone

Time After Time ( Time Between Us #2) 
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Pages: 368
Publication Date: October 8 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds. 

It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?

Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us's Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

Last year, when I finished Time Between Us, I immediately stalked the author's website, hoping that she had another book coming out the following year. Surprisingly, I found out that Time Between Us was going to have a sequel.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to purchase my own copy since I had wanted it in paperback, so I waited until my own library had it available. When I had seen that it was finally in transit, I was overjoyed.

Instead of the sequel being told in Anna's narration, Stone wrote the entire sequel in Bennett's POV. I wasn't expecting it to be entirely written in his POV. I thought that Stone was simply alternating between both, Anna's and Bennett's. Though it was nice seeing Bennett in a whole new light, there were times I missed Anna. I missed reading about her family, her friends and all the struggles she went through when Bennett couldn't be there for her. I connected to Anna so well in the previous book that I missed being in her head. But don't let this disappoint you, Bennett's narration is just as excellent as Anna's. We are finally introduced to Brooke, his sister, his parents and most certainly, his friends. His life without Anna is quite realistic to any teenage boy out there. I figured it would've been different due to the power he possesses.

Bennett struggles throughout the whole book. Due to the complication that Anna is from 1995, the both of them  struggle to maintain a close relationship.I can't even comprehend how amazingly strong this relationship was. Anna and Bennett have to create a schedule to meet each other, but they have to be equally apart, meaning that Bennett can't see her repeatedly within the same week. More like a few times in a few months. If he visited too frequently, there would be times where he wouldn't able to travel back in time. Since Bennet is from 2012, he's been getting terrible migraines as he keeps staying in 1995. The side effects gets even worse as he discovers that he's able to save people from tragedies once again. The first time he had done it, he was so against it, knowing that whatever has happened should not be changed. But after a successful attempt from saving two kids from a fire, he wanted to try again.

Stone had me guessing for the ending. When I had about a quarter left to read, I had no idea how it was going to end. Were they going to be with each other? Was Bennett going to be with a different girl? Was Anna going to be with Justin? My feelings were all over the place. But thankfully, I was overall happy with the way things had ended. I seriously couldn't ask for more. There is definitely no room left for a sequel, but if there was I would pick it up in a heartbeat because I just love Bennett & Anna. 

A love that's worth going back for. A love that's worth reading. Time After Time is a wonderful conclusion to this marvelous duology. 

Friday 14 March 2014

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Pages: 352
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

Before I picked this one up at the library, I've come across a few reviews, pointing out this was a tear-jerker. The moment the reviewer said those words I demanded that this book be in my hands. For some odd reason, I'm gravitated towards emotional novels. I don't like crying, but yet, I want to read a book that are known for making you cry. Weird, isn't it? However, when I was reading Where the Stars Still Shine, I didn't shed a tear for this book.

One of the problems I experienced with the novel was that it failed to connect me to Callie. I just didn't like it when she was so willingly to give herself to guys. As a Christian, I don't support sex before marriage. I understand that it's common to have sex in young adult, so if I ever see a sex scene approaching, I usually skip the pages. But with a character who sleeps around a lot, it means a lot of page skipping. I just don't understand her relationship with Alex. To me, their relationship was heavily based on sex. If there was a moment I did connect with her, it would have to be when she was with her father. I loved how he so accepting to Callie. When novels have parents playing a big part in the protagonist's life, I find it to be more realistic. 

As for Alex, I find his reason to stay away from his mom was utterly stupid. I mean, really Alex? You didn't want to see your mom because you couldn't stand to see her so sick? When she dies, you'll be regretting the times you didn't come and visit her. If my mom was dying, I wouldn't be avoiding her, I would be spending every single second of my life with her. I'd rather see my mother sick than not seeing her at all. Though it isn't a guarantee that Alex and Callie will be a couple in the future, I'm glad that Doller ended the way she did. 

Though I wasn't too impressed, I'll still be checking out her debut, Something Like Normal. From what I've read, it's written in a male's point of view. I'm excited for what she has to offer, but I'm hoping that it will capture me the way Where the Stars Still Shine didn't. 

Thursday 13 March 2014

Blog Tour: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy Review & Giveaway

Welcome to my review of Side Effects May Vary! Thanks to TUABFC for letting me join this tour! I'm ecstatic to show you one of the books that showcase one of my favorite book boys. To check out the other stops, click here.

Author: Julie Murphy
Pages: 336
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

* I received an ARC for the blog tour*

Apart from reading Second Chance Summer, Julie Murphy's debut is the second book I read about cancer.
I don't usually read novels that contain cancer since I lost a family member that died from it, but this one is different.  Side Effects May Vary takes on a different route where the main character goes into remission.
 But, beware of our main character, Alice because she may not be such a likable one. There will be times where you just want to shake some sense into her or better yet, even want to smack her across the face for all the horrible things she has done, but she was an exceptionally well-done character.  

Alice is one of those characters where you can't decide if you loved or hated. When Alice had witnessed her mom cheating on her dad, I felt her pain. I sympathized for her, but I absolutely couldn't take it when she repeatedly used Harvey over and over again. And what hurts me the most is that Harvey knew he was being used. But he didn't have the heart to say no to her because he loved her so much. Alice pulled the strings and Harvey was willingly to be the puppet. But I guess that happens when you're so madly in love with someone, you end up doing everything for them even if they don't treat you fairly.  

Now onto our love interest, Harvey. His narration was an excellent addition to the novel. Not only that, but his and Alice's POV was told in "Then" and "Now." Some may have not enjoyed this writing style, but I personally think that the novel wouldn't have been complete without it. There are so many things I could say about Harvey. He's caring, sweet, and possibly one of the greatest boys I've ever read. This boy never thinks of himself when it comes to Alice. Harvey will literally do anything that will make Alice happy even if she  was rude and constantly demanded things to go her way.  If Alice was having a bad day, he would drop everything and visit her. If she needed help, Harvey was there to rescue her. Although Harvey's love for Alice may have been questionable, those two did connect well. 

Okay, maybe Alice wasn't exactly the nicest person, but she did redeem herself at the end. She did some pretty horrible things, but I still liked her. You may ask "didn't you say she was mean and manipulative?" Yeah, but Alice confessed her wrongs to Harvey, agreeing that she used him. And to me, that was very important because that was character growth. Everyone has flaws and I liked how the author made Alice admit to her mistakes. Sometimes, I get tired of reading perfect good girls with straight A's and good looking bodies because in reality, not everyone will be like that. When I dive into books, I want raw and realistic characters even if it means they are down-right horrible people, but I want to see those characters struggle through life and overcome their problems. I want to them reflect back on their mistakes and start all over again. And that was exactly what happened to Alice. She overcame her obstacles and wanted to have a second try.

With a bucket list thrown into this novel, Side Effects May Vary is filled with laughter, fun and a second chance to start living once and for all. 

About the Author:

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she's not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie's debut novel.

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One lucky reader wins a finished copy of Side Effects May Vary (US Only)

Thursday 6 March 2014

Review: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1) by Megan Shephard

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Pages: 420
Publication Date: January 23, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

Due to the sequel being released in January, I thought it was a good time to start the series. The Madman's Daughter excelled in bringing thrill and the same time, introducing me to the work of H.G. Wells. Based on The Island of Dr. Moreau, I'm very impressed with Shephard, taking on a classic and twisting it into with one of her own. One of my favourite novels Nevermore was also based on the work of someone else's - Edgar Allan Poe. I've noticed that most of the books that I loved are ones that have been revamped into a whole new definition of new and unique.

Daughter of Henri Moreau, Juliet no longer lives the wealthy life she had when she was a child. Instead of growing up with pretty dresses and glam, she takes on the role of a maid at an early age. When she discovers that her father is still alive, she follows his assistant, Montgomery to her father's private secluded island. With mystery surrounding the island, the novel was extremely hard to put down. It was the first book that I read in one day in 2014 which was challenging to achieve due to the stack load of school work that needed to be finished.

When I first discovered The Madman's Daughter, I've seen it shelved as horror, which kept me from the series. But after seeing this one being in a lot of favourites list of 2013, I thought January was a great time to pick it up especially with the sequel also being released on the same month. From my point of view, I didn't find this to be scary at all. I admit Shephard created a dark and gruesome thriller, but it didn't scare me. Let me tell you, I am the biggest wuss out there. I refuse to associate myself with the horror genre. When I first watched Paranormal Activity, I was scared out of my wits that I had my cousin accompany me to the washroom. Heck, I even slept beside by my mom for a whole month because I was so paranoid. There was not a moment in the book where I was utterly horrified or had me running to my mom's room, instead I was engrossed to the plot and the gruesome details that Shephard provided. Sure, it's creepy and dark. But horror? I don't think so.

As for the love triangle in the book, I didn't mind it too much. Was it awful? No, not at all. But was it necessary? That one is a difficult to answer. One of the things that pushed me to go on was who Juliet was going to choose. I enjoyed both love interests Montgomery and Edward. But out of the two, Montgomery wins the battle for me. Mainly, because of the chemistry and memories they had when they were younger. Montgomery was easy to unravel, but Edward was swarmed with secrets.

Leaving on a cliffhanger, it is guaranteed that I will be picking up, Her Dark Curiosity. I'm unbelievably impressed with this one so I hope that the sequel will bring no disappointment. Shocking twists and gruesome details, there is a lot to unravel with The Madman's Daughter.