ARC Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway



Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?


Cutesy dootsy. Much fluff, but also had enough depth to keep me interested and entertained. It generally made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, which was quite strange since I was expecting this book to be darker, it being about a kidnapped boy and such. Emmy and her best friend, Caroline aka Caro(?) actually talk to each other about non-boy stuff and also speaks up against slut-shaming, which was refreshing. Overall, a solid YA novel and a sweet weekend read. 3.5


ARC Review: The Paris Winter by Imogen Robertson

Hello lovely persons of the internet,

It’s been a pretty long time, since I’ve written anything. I could say it was because I’ve been extremely busy and stuffs, but honestly, I’ve been in a bit of a book slump. My reading pace slowed down to the point that it was kind of shocking. Nevertheless, I am recovering from this slump and I’m glad to be writing book reviews again. Now onward!












Release date: November 18th 2014


Maud Heighton came to Lafond’s famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris eats money. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling joys of the Belle epoque, Maud slips into poverty. Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, Maud takes a job as companion to young, beautiful Sylvie Morel. But Sylvie has a secret: an addiction to opium. As Maud is drawn into the Morels’ world of elegant luxury, their secrets become hers. Before the New Year arrives, a greater deception will plunge her into the darkness that waits beneath this glittering city of light.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I’d like to bring to your attention that the cover, is indeed, pretty. The woman in a pretty dress? Nope, it’s all about the stunning Parisian landscape.

The Paris Winter is quite a engrossing, fascinating read with lyrical descriptions of Paris, a strong plot, slow but not too slow pacing, and great female characters. Great female characters, from a female author (such a rarity), who contrast each other in the best way. They aren’t stupid, vapid, or cliche, which is simply fantastic. Maud is the epitome of the starving artist representing the hardships of trying to make it as a woman to their male counterparts.  Also, I absolutely loved the setting of Paris during the Belle Epoque, she describes it so whimsically it’s impossible not to fall in love.

The second part is where the pacing picks up quite a bit and becomes surprisingly dark and twisted after an unexpected twist. The relationships between Maud, Tanya, and Yvette deepened and were conveyed so well. They actually talk to each other about not-boys. I think after reading crappy YA fiction, my expectations for female characters are sadly, much lower.

The notes of art history and paintings at the end of each section, though, was really lovely and clever. Its inclusion is explained at the end. I’ve always loved art, history, and museums, which might also be a reason why I enjoyed this book so much. The prose, oh the prose. It’s evocative, moving, and so wonderful. It drew me in from the very beginning, one of the hallmarks of any good fiction.

The Paris Winter is the perfect blend of historical fiction, art, mystery, and thriller. I highly recommend if you’re looking a semi-short historical fiction read.

More reviews to come!


Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

I haven’t written anything in quite a while, which is quite sad. Unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a book slump with so much homework but I finished reading Dragonfly in Amber, the second book of the Outlander series, and I’m still reading Atonement. So the buddy read didn’t go quite as well as Mariel and I planned it out to but here is the review, a month or so late.


My friends and I saw this book at the LA Times Book Awards Ceremony and Festival and the author as well, and we were all in love with Nao by the first page and wanted to buy the book.

Here’s Mariel’s take on the first 10 chapters:

And her review:


In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

This book was whimsical, fascinating, and really deep and insightful. Ozeki explored so many themes that sent me in a philosophical tizzy (but in a good way.)  I think it’s the kind of book I’ll be reading over and over again, still discovering new parts of it and provoking super deep contemplation about everything. The pacing was perfect, the characters were moving and quite relatable to, and Japanese setting was captivating. The book trailer did not do it justice.

I loved Nao’s perspective. The writing style is humorous and quirky, sometimes a little blunt in a way that made me raise my eyebrows. But Nao is a teenager, still curious about the world. The descriptions of the Japanese monastery/temple and her urban environment were really enjoyable, since I’ve never been to Japan. Nao’s experiences in bullying were also pretty surprising and eye-opening because stereotypically, Japanese people are very well-known for their politeness and courtesy. However, she is subjected to awful, demeaning jokes by her fellow classmates. Her grandmother is a anarchist/feminist/buddhist nun. She definitely goes on the list for Best Grandmas in Books. The BGB, it has a nice ring to it. In some ways I could relate to her, like her perspective of the world and her experiences of being bullied but in other ways, like some of her darker experiences, I couldn’t imagine a girl her age going through.

Some of my favorite quotes from her are:

“It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart.”

I can relate so much that it hurts.

“But don’t worry about it. You need to be a little bit crazy. Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination. It’s your superpower. Tapping into the dream. It’s a good thing not a bad thing.”

Haruki!!!!!! Yay for the beautiful magic realism and exploring the themes of blurring the lines between dreams and reality. And superpowers, ’cause they’re pretty cool and inspiring.

Ruth perspective was also pretty interesting. It’s fascinating because this sounded a little autobiographical since in the book Ruth’s husband is named Oliver and the author is named Ruth and has a husband named Oliver. Another part of her perspective that was unique was that she was reacting to and experiencing Nao’s diary while I was as well, so I could read her thoughts on it while formulating my own. And I could react to her reactions which is so much inception and mind-bogglingness that I can’t handle. Her perspective is a contrast from Nao’s as she is older, from a different time period (theme: past and present and once again, blurring the lines between them), and is more reserved.

Overall: 5 stars, so please read this book


Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon



The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon–when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach–an “outlander”–in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life…and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


This book is . . . interesting. I feel extremely conflicted about it, so bear with me. Let’s start with what I did like. Scotland is such a gorgeous setting and I never got tired of the descriptions of it. The plot was perfectly paced and the characterization of Claire and Jaime was great. Kind of, but I’ll get to that. I felt totally immersed in this world, on late nights curled up with this book. Now on to the stuff that’s both like great and cool but at times WHAT THE F***!?Namely, Claire and Jaime’s romance. In the beginning, I was totally infatuated with Jaime and their romance was cute and really hot (because romance can be both cute and hot). Until Jaime beat Claire. As mentioned before, WHAT THE F***!? He falsely accused her of the motives of her attempted escape, which the real reason was because she wanted to GO BACK HOME. The feminist in me was all kinds of freaked out and angry while cringing during this scene. She wanted me to throw this book into the corner while cursing Jaime the hell out.


Then, all the other parts of me were like, hmm. . . this is really disturbing. Yet it depicts relationships between a heterosexual married couple during that time period accurately.

“Without one word of direct explanation or apology, he had given me the message he intended. I gave you justice, it said, as I was taught it. And I gave you mercy, too, so far as I could. While I could not spare you pain and humiliation, I make you a gift of my own pains and humiliations, that yours might be easier to bear.Without one word of direct explanation or apology, he had given me the message he intended. I gave you justice, it said, as I was taught it. And I gave you mercy, too, so far as I could. While I could not spare you pain and humiliation, I make you a gift of my own pains and humiliations, that yours might be easier to bear.”

Justice as you were taught it, Jaime? Your punishment as you received as a son from your father is vastly different, oceans apart from the “punishment” you doled out on Claire because these two relationships are vastly different. As you can see, deeply conflicted. Turns out the review section of this wasn’t lighter.

To add even more to my oh-so deep struggle, Jaime will experience more bad stuff than he has revealed that he has already suffered through. This book is definitely NOT a light read, there are themes of sadism, abuse, and assault prevalent throughout the whole book. If you’re ok with reading about this, than I do recommend this book. If not, don’t come near within 10 feet of it. I have started reading the second book in the series, which I will probably write about as well.

August 2014 Wrap-up

(blurbs from Goodreads)



“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls. “Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another. I am that girl. I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through. I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame. Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.


Laurie Halse Anderson, is a very talented writer. The prose was haunting and scathing. The protagonist, Lia, scarily clever and extremely good at hiding her disorder after returning from therapy. I think many teenagers, especially girls of course, can relate to this book for everyone has probably experienced some sort of negative self-image, self-conscious thoughts at some point in their life. However, like in The Impossible Knife of Memory with Hayley, I disliked how she portrayed Lia. She was so insensitive and unappreciative of both sets of parents, her father, her stepmother, and her mother. In addition to that, the way Anderson wrote and described these relationships, and surprisingly Lia’s friendship with Cassie, was flat and kind of lackluster. I think the main reason why I wasn’t too affected by this story, was that the root of her distorted thoughts and actions wasn’t really explored. Overall it was a solid book, but it was a little to cut and dry for me. I did enjoy Anderson’s books Speak and Fever 1793 though. But again, meh.


Starred Up is so gritty and violent and completely destroyed my stereotype of English people. Amazing movie.images

Begin Again was also a great and pretty cute hipstery.

Happy Labor Day Weekend,




A-Z Bookish Survey

I was tagged by Mariel quite a while ago and is hosted by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner but I’ve finally decided to do it. I hope it’s fun!

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Probably J.K Rowling and John Green. And maybe Cassandra Clare as well.

Best sequel ever:

I don’t knowwww. This year though, I would have to say Hollow City by Ransom Riggs or World After by Susan Ee. They were both really amazing. I highly recommend both series.

Currently Reading:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Some sort of latte for cold days and homemade lemonade for hot days. But I mostly drink water because don’t have the resources or supplies to attain this kind of sustenance.

e-Reader or physical book?

I read from both. Though, an e-reader is far more convenient, I’ll always enjoy reading with an actual book in my hands more.

Fictional Character you would have dated in the past:

Patch from Hush, Hush. Lol. In my former stupidly naive hopeless romantic days, I would have definitely dated Patch. Now, not so much. 

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance:

We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo. I saw her at the LA Times Book Festival award ceremony and her book at the Vroman’s booth a day later, the cover and the blurb drew me in. Both my friends, were kind of meh about it but I decided to buy it anyway. I’m really glad I gave this book a chance because I didn’t really read this genre and it was really eye-opening. I realized that I had many misconceptions about African culture and this book portrayed Zimbabwean life and culture in a way that I hadn’t seen in the media.

Hidden gem book:

Dark Eyes by William Richter. It isn’t a very well-known book in the YA genre and deserves a lot more attention and love. It’s fantabulous.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

Getting my first ARC!

Just Finished:

One Hundred Steps by Susan Ee like 2 minutes ago. It’s one hundred words and pretty interesting. You can read for free on wattpad.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Stupid YA books, generally mystery and crime books. Religious books. Stupid erotica.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin at 1,177 pages.

Major Book Hangover due to:

Never really had one.

Number of Bookshelves you own:

One. But does my headboard with two shelvish looking dividers count as well since I also but many of my books there as well?

One Book you have Read Multiple Times:

Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan or the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. And the series by Stieg Larson. Good stuff.

Preferred Place to Read:

On my bed, my back facing the window.

Quote that inspires you:

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” 

― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

Reading Regret:

Not being able to read more. 

Series you’ve started and need to finish:

The Legend series by Marie Lu and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I’ve been procrastinating. Oops.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Unapologetic Fangirl for:

John Green!!!!! And of course, J.K Rowling, the queen.

Very Extremely Excited for this release:

Winter by Marissa Meyer and the next Ransom Riggs book.

Worst Bookish Habit:

Putting books in the black hole of my backpack.

X Marks the Spot–Look at your bookshelf. What is the 27th book?

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Your Latest Book Purchase:

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

We Are Now Beginning Our Descent by James Meek

ZZZZ Snatcher–The Book that Kept You From Sleeping:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, a book I’m currently reading.

Whew, that took a while. But it was pretty fun.

People I’m Tagging:

Emily @BooksandCleverness





Quick Reviews!

Hello! I haven’t post anything in quite a while because I procrastinated on my summer English stuffs. Oops. However, I have read some great and not-so-great books recently so here they are:

The blurbs are from goodreads.

Throne of Glass:


“After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another.
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.”

Meh. Celeana was just soooo annoying. She’s supposed to be the “most feared assassin” and “perfect seductress” but I saw none of that. She didn’t kill anyone and wasn’t particularly bad-ass. But she was quite resourceful. And perfect seductress? Pssh, I think not. She became a friggin tomato every time she was in close proximity to Dorian and Chaol, the love triangle I did not enjoy.


The plot was somewhat exciting but not really. So basically, meh.

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller:


“A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.
Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.
Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?”



Me gusta mucho. I loved Flick, the protagonist, and I loved Joi, his love interest. She wasn’t super tough and aggressive like most females are portrayed in this genre. She was, wait for it. . . different. I read it in two sittings, staying up late at night just to finish it. The plot was fast-paced and exhilarating. And there’s DIVERSITY, which is unfortunately relatively rare in the YA genre. 

I highly recommend this book.

Dark Eyes by William Richter:


“Wally was adopted from a Russian orphanage as a child and grew up in a wealthy New York City family. At fifteen, her obsessive need to rebel led her to life on the streets.
Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and she’s just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She’ll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko – her darkeyed father – finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally’s mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wally’s had her own killer training, and she’s hungry for justice.”

I started reading this one right after How to Lead a Life of Crime. This was grittier, darker, and more violent. And so good. Wally is an honest-to-god bad-ass, she is tough, intelligent, and resourceful. She does resemble Lisbeth Salander (who is also someone I admire, kind of). There was romance but it was definitely not a large aspect of the novel. The action scenes had my palms sweaty and heart racing. And was once again, there was DIVERSITY. Never have I read about an Asian girl, who is a significant character, in a romantic relationship with a white, nevertheless stereotypically jock-ish, boy. Ever. *slow claps* Read this book, it deserves more love.

Bonk: A Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach


“The study of sexual physiology – what happens, and why, and how to make it happen better – has been a paying career or a diverting sideline for scientists as far-ranging as Leonardo da Vinci and James Watson. The research has taken place behind the closed doors of laboratories, brothels, MRI centers, pig farms, sex-toy R&D labs, and Alfred Kinsey’s attic.
Mary Roach, “the funniest science writer in the country” (Burkhard Bilger of ‘The New Yorker’), devoted the past two years to stepping behind those doors. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Why doesn’t Viagra help women or, for that matter, pandas?”

As I’ve written in one of my previous blog posts, I find sexuality fascinating. This book was like. . . getting the whole Harry Potter series for 5 bucks. Which I did. 🙂 It was mostly funny though sometimes the jokes she cracked weren’t funny. I giggled and snorted throughout the whole book. It was such an entertaining yet enlightening read. If you’re ever interested in what happens when humans and other species get down to it, this would be a great book.

That’s it!

Have a lovely week,



I’ve finished A Tale for the Time Being, the buddy read I’m doing with Mariel. I know she already posted her thoughts so I’ll get to mine soon along with the A to Z Bookish Survey.

I think one of the greatest perks of being a book blogger is the ARCs. So I’m posting the ARCs I have recently obtained through Edelweiss, Blogging for Books, LibraryThing, or NetGalley:

*** = most likely to be reviewed/urgent read

** = want to read

* = meh, I’ll read it if I’m in the mood and if I have time

I think some of these are not legitimate ARCs, just books authors want reviews for.

*War of the Gods, Book 1 Jonathan Penroc


The Final War is over. The wicked god Ahura-Mazda and Zoroaster, his evil disciple, stand victoriously astride the wretched havoc that was once a free world. Supreme ruler of humanity, the fate of all remaining living in his hands, his blood lust is not yet satisfied. There exists life somewhere beyond and the apostle Zoroaster is ordered to conquer the universe. There seems to be no one to stop him. But the germ of freedom is not yet dead. Kanati has been chosen to oppose the evil forces of Zoroaster. But chosen by whom? And how can one man, no matter how brave, battle a god?

*Cold Spell: Deb Vanasse


With precise and evocative prose, Cold Spell tells the story of a mother who risks everything to start over and a daughter whose longings threaten to undo them both.From the moment Ruth Sanders rips a glossy photo of a glacier from a magazine, she believes her fate is intertwined with the ice. Her unsettling fascination bewilders her daughter, sixteen-year-old Sylvie, still shaken by her father’s leaving. When Ruth uproots Sylvie and her sister from their small Midwestern town to follow her growing obsession—and a man—to Alaska, they soon find themselves entangled with an unfamiliar wilderness, a divided community, and one another. As passions cross and braid, the bond between mother and daughter threatens to erode from the pressures of icy compulsion and exposed secrets. Inspired by her own experience arriving by bush plane to live on the Alaska tundra, Deb Vanasse vividly captures the reality of life in Alaska and the emotional impact of loving a remote and unforgiving land.

*Odeful: Jennifer Recchio


In this collection of poems about coming of age in the modern world, critically declaimed author Jennifer Recchio takes on such thrilling subjects as math, groceries, and oil changes. The collection includes poems that have been published in online magazines such as Word Riot and Defenestration, and other poems that have never been seen before.

**The London Project: Mark J Maxwell


Portal has transformed the lives of London’s residents. The tech giant’s centralised network is ubiquitous, its free services utilised by Londoners for everything from communications to entertainment, transport to health care. As a consequence Portal harvests the minutiae of its users’ daily lives.
On the eve of the network’s expansion throughout the UK, Detective Sergeant Louisa Bennett investigates the death of a young girl. Her body covered in lacerations, the victim’s autopsy reveals an unidentifiable cellular structure permeating her brain. The case is further complicated when no trace of the girl can be found on Portal. It’s as if she simply doesn’t exist.
Following an attack on Portal’s network, private data is leaked on all its users. In the ensuing chaos, three high-ranking members of a criminal syndicate are assassinated. It becomes clear to Louisa that the perpetrators have used Portal’s systems to coordinate the killings. When she uncovers a connection between her case and the Portal breach, Louisa becomes a target herself.
To save her own life Louisa must uncover the truth behind the girl’s death—a truth that leads her deep into the heart of The London Project.

*Zenith: Book of Ascension: Dirk Strasser


The world of the great Mountain is unstable. Giant pillars erupt from the surface and yawning chasms form unpredictably underfoot. Since the Maelir first stood on its slopes in the distant past, they have sought to still its anger and control its power. Each year, twin brothers are chosen to make a perilous journey to the summit. If they survive they will be witness to Zenith, and the secrets will be revealed to them. When Atreu and Teyth embark on their Ascent, their Talismans lead them onto conflicting paths that will ultimately set brother against brother. And this time the Ascent itself is in peril as unknown forces that have long craved the power of Zenith will stop at nothing to make it their own … even if it means destroying the very thing that sustains all life – the Mountain itself.

**Ishmael’s Oranges: Claire Hajaj


It’s April 1948 and war hangs over Jaffa. One minute seven-year-old Salim is dreaming of taking his first harvest from the family orange tree with his father; the next he is swept away by “the great catastrophe” into a life of exile. Meanwhile Jude is growing up in the north of England, a girl from a Jewish family that survived the Holocaust. When their paths collide in swinging-‘60s London and they fall in love, they think they are aware of the many challenges ahead of them, but before long they face unexpected choices. Can they defy the lessons of their childhoods, or will old seeds ripen to bitter fruits?Ishmael’s Oranges tells the story of two cultures clashing as the relentless tides of history wash over the many crossroads of the Middle East. Spanning three generations, it follows the journeys of those cast adrift by war — as well as by their own impulses — until at last they find themselves thrown headlong into it. Through Salim, Jude, and their twins, we explore the longest conflict of our era in universally human terms: the families we build, the loyalties we owe, and the stories we pass on to our children.

***A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: Anthony Marra


In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.

**A Song for Ella Grey: David Almond


I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died. Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

***Buzz Books 2014: Young Adult:  Publishers Lunch (only one I have read)


Thoughts: There are some books such as Talon and books by Scott Westerfield, Jandy Nelson, and Ellen Hopkins I am so excited about. However, there was a wanna-be TFiOS book, a book Alexandra Adornetto among others I was shaking my head at. But overall, this compilation made me quite excited for the new Young Adult works being released.

This inaugural edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides substantial pre-publication excerpts from more than 20 forthcoming young adult and middle grade books. Now everyone can share the same access to the newest YA voices the publishing industry is broadcasting for the fall/winter season. At the end of most excerpts, you will find a link to the full galley on NetGalley!
Excerpts include new work from established giants of the field (Ellen Hopkins; Garth Nix; Scott Westerfeld), authors best-known for their adult books (Carl Hiaasen; Michael Perry; Ben Tripp; Meg Wolitzer), and genuine newsmakers—including the first of James Frey’s attention-getting Endgame trilogy, which will include interactive elements developed in association with Google’s Niantic Labs.

**Comradely Greetings Slavoj Zizek


In an extraordinary exchange of letters, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek and imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova discuss artistic subversion, political activism, and the future of democracy via the ideas of Hegel, Deleuze, Nietzsche, and even Laurie Anderson. Touching, erudite, sharp, and worldly, their correspondence unfolds with poetic urgency.

**Considering Hate Kay Whitlock


Over the centuries American society has been plagued by brutality fueled by disregard for the humanity of others: systemic violence against slaves, Native peoples, and immigrants. More recent examples include the Steubenville rape case and the murders of Matthew Shepard, Jennifer Daugherty, Marcelo Lucero, and Trayvon Martin. Most Americans see such acts as driven by hate.  But is this right? Longtime activists and political theorists Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski boldly assert that American society’s reliance on the framework of hate to explain these acts is wrongheaded, misleading, and ultimately harmful.

**Driving the King Ravi Howard


A daring and brilliant novel that explores race and class in 1950s America, witnessed through the experiences of Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary.

***Girl Runner Carrie Snyder


**Goebbels Peter Longerich


From renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich comes the definitive one-volume biography of Adolf Hitler’s malevolent minister of propaganda.

In life, and in the grisly manner of his death, Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler’s most loyal acolytes. By the end, no one in the Berlin bunker was closer to the Führer than his devoted Reich minister for public enlightenment and propaganda. But how did this clubfooted son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler’s most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?

**I Am a Bacha Posh Ukmina Manoori


“You will be a son, my daughter.” With these stunning words Ukmina learned that she was to spend her childhood as a boy.
In Afghanistan there is a widespread practice of girls dressing as boys to play the role of a son. These children are called bacha posh: literally “girls dressed as boys.” This practice offers families the freedom to allow their child to shop and work—and in some cases, it saves them from the disgrace of not having a male heir. But in adolescence, religion restores the natural law. The girls must marry, give birth, and give up their freedom.

**Isabella Kristin Downey


An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus’s journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history

*Loitering Charles D’Ambrosio


Charles D’Ambrosio’s essay collection Orphans spawned something of a cult following. In the decade since the tiny limited-edition volume sold out its print run, its devotees have pressed it upon their friends, students, and colleagues, only to find themselves begging for their copy’s safe return. For anyone familiar with D’Ambrosio’s writing, this enthusiasm should come as no surprise. His work is exacting and emotionally generous, often as funny as it is devastating.Loitering gathers those eleven original essays with new and previously uncollected work so that a broader audience might discover one of our great living essayists. No matter his subject — Native American whaling, a Pentecostal “hell house,” Mary Kay Letourneau, the work of J. D. Salinger, or, most often, his own family — D’Ambrosio approaches each piece with a singular voice and point of view; each essay, while unique and surprising, is unmistakably his own.

***Male Sex Work Editor: Victor Minichielli (Dat cover though. . .)


This new collection explores for the first time male sex work from a rich array of perspectives and disciplines. It aims to help enrich the ways in which we view both male sex work as a field of commerce and male sex worker themselves.

Leading contributors examine the field both historically and cross-culturally from fields including public health, sociology, psychology, social services, history, filmography, economics, mental health, criminal justice, geography, and migration studies, and more.

***Skylight: Jose Saramago


It’s set in Lisbon, a city I visited this spring. It’s gorgeous as is the cover! 🙂

Silvestre and Mariana, a happily married elderly couple, take in a young nomad, Abel, and soon discover their many differences. Adriana loves Beethoven more than any man, but her budding sexuality brings new feelings to the surface. Carmen left Galicia to marry humble Emilio, but hates Lisbon and longs for her first love, Manolo. Lidia used to work the streets, but now she’s kept by Paulo, a wealthy man with a wandering eye.

These are just some of the characters in this early work, completed by Saramago in 1953 but never published until now. With his characteristic compassion, depth, and wit, Saramago shows us the quiet contentment of a happy family and the infectious poison of an unhappy one. We see his characters’ most intimate moments as well as the casual encounters particular to neighbors living in close proximity. Skylight is a portrait of ordinary people, painted by a master of the quotidian, a great observer of the immense beauty and profound hardships of the modern world.

**SNEEK PEEK: Atlantia: Ally Condie



I know she’s an extremely popular author, but I only enjoyed the first book of her “Matched” series, the rest were pretty bad. I only read halfway through the second one, which is why I’m not very pumped for this new series.

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the corrupted system constructed to govern the Divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

**The Bullet and the Ballot Box: The Story of Nepal’s Maoist Revolution: Aditya Adhikari


In 1996, when Nepal’s Maoists launched their armed rebellion, their ideology was widely considered obsolete and they had limited public support. By 2008 they had gained access to state power and their ambitious plan of social transformation dominated the national agenda. How did this become possible?The Bullet and the Ballot Box offers a rich and sweeping account of a decade of revolutionary upheaval. Adhikari draws on a broad range of sources, including novels, letters and diaries, to illuminate both the history and human drama of the Maoist rebellion. An indispensible guide to Nepal’s recent history, the book also offers a fascinating case study of how communist ideology has been reinterpreted and translated into political action in the twenty-first century.

*The Chain: Ted Genoways


A powerful and important work of investigative journalism that explores the runaway growth of the American meatpacking industry and its dangerous consequences.

*The Nazis Next Door: Eric Lichtblau


Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies. When the Justice Department finally investigated and learned the truth, the results were classified and buried. Using the dramatic story of one former perpetrator who settled in New Jersey, conned the CIA into hiring him, and begged for the agency’s support when his wartime identity emerged, Eric Lichtblau tells the full, shocking story of how America became a refuge for hundreds of postwar Nazis.

*The Runaway Woman: Josephine Cox


No-one thought she had the courage…

Those looking in from the outside think Lucy Lovejoy’s life is like any other, but at the centre of her family there is a big empty hole where all the love and warmth should be. Over the years, her children have watched while their father chipped away at Lucy’s self-confidence. Now the children are following their own paths, and Lucy has never felt more alone.

When tragedy strikes at the heart of the family, it’s a wake-up call for Lucy. Everyone has taken a little piece of her, and she isn’t sure who she is anymore. So when Lucy faces a betrayal from those she loves deepest, she knows that it’s time to make a choice.

Is she brave enough to find herself again?

***The Seasons of Trouble: Rohini Mohan


Is it possible to find an ordinary life among the debris of war? Rohini Mohan’s searing account of three lives caught up in the devastation shows how the war continues long after peace has been declared. While Sarva, a city-bred young man, is dragged off the streets by the police and accused of being a spy, his mother Raji attempts to search for him through the Kafkaesque Sri Lankan bureaucracy. Meanwhile, Swarna, once a child soldier, tries to rebuild her life as a mother to toddlers. Their turbulent journeys reveal the realities of day-to-day living in a region wracked by violence and mistrust.

*The Ugly Wife is a Treasure at Home: Melissa Schenider


“The ugly wife is a treasure at home” is not just an idle expression in China. For centuries, Chinese marriage involved matchmakers, child brides, dowries, and concubines, until the People’s Republic of China was established by Mao Zedong and his Communist Party in 1949. Initially encouraging citizens to reject traditional arranged marriages and instead wed for love, the party soon spurned “the sin of putting love first,” fearful that romantic love would distract good Communists from selflessly carrying out the State’s agenda. Under Mao the party established the power to approve or reject proposed marriages, dictate where couples would live, and even determine if spouses would live together. By the 1960s and 1970s romantic love became a counterrevolutionary act punishable by “struggle sessions” or even imprisonment. The importance of Chinese sons, however, did not wane during Mao’s thirty-year regime. As such, in a world where nobody spoke of love, 99 percent of young women still married.
The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home draws the reader into the world of love in Communist China through the personal memories of those who endured the Cultural Revolution and the generations that followed. This collection of intimate and remarkable stories gives readers a rare view of Chinese history, social customs, and Communism from the perspective of today’s ordinary citizens

Blurbs are NOT MINE, taken from Amazon/Goodreads. This might be my longest post ever.



The Impossible Knife of Memory: Review



Blurb from Goodreads:

“For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.”


First of all, I like the cover, it’s attention-grabbing and unique. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for the book. I realize PTSD in returning soldiers is a really challenging topic and it has gained much attention in the news recently. However, this book doesn’t make me empathize, or feel Hayley’s or Andy’s pain and the problems they go through. Hayley’s thoughts and beliefs are understandable and I could relate to them to a certain extent but she was just so apathetic. I thought this book would be heart-wrenching and poignant and all that but it was just kind of dull. And their texting was just ridiculous, I have never seen a fellow teenager text like that. It was quite painful to read. 


Finn Ramos, Hayley’s love interest, was ok. His mom is apparently a “kick-ass feminist” but he ogles other girls’ butts while talking to another and he follows the “Man Code.” I’m maybe probably being a little too hard on him, but still. He was cute, but he didn’t make me swoon. Their romance was pretty undeveloped and contrived. They were apparently perfect for each other according to their friends, but I just didn’t see it. It was kind of bland, despite their problems arising from dealing with problems in their families. They just keep talking and kissing. 


I guess this book was well-written in the way that I liked that she gave us more insight into Andy’s memories and history through the flashbacks. I did feel a twinge of panic when Hayley had a panic attack and at the end when *SPOILER ALERT* her father was at the quarry. I’ve read one of Laurie Halse Anderson’s other books, Speak, and I thought it was pretty good. I think I’ll still try reading some of her other works. 

Overall: 3 Stars and not worth the hype

Coup D’etat!


This post will not be related to books. I just finished watching the Royal Affair and I found out that at age 16, Prince Frederick overthrew Høegh-Guldberg’s government along with his sister. I’ll probably still be a derp just reading books at that age, which is quite depressing. Which country would you overthrow? I think I’d pick North Korea. Just in a purely hypothetical situation.



First of all, who puts a picture of themselves on their own book? That’s totally humble and like not kind of conceited at all.

Anyway. . . I have finished Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, I think I’ll be posting a review of it as well. Soon. Probably. I’m currently reading required summer reading for school, The Catcher in the Rye and Things Fall Apart, and Girl Runner, one of my ARCs.

Awesome bookshelf alert!



Happy Monday! (But not really though)