Aug 30, 2017

Review | Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Title: Perfect Days by Raphael Montes
Series: N/A
Genre: Thriller
Publication: February 16, 2016 by Viking
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A twisted young medical student kidnaps the girl of his dreams and embarks on a road trip across Brazil in the English-language debut of one of Brazil's most celebrated young crime writers

Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn't have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver--that is, until he meets Clarice. She's almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. She's working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo begins to stalk her, first following to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, Teo kidnaps her, and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he keeps digging himself deeper, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together.

Thoughts: I was really excited to read Perfect Days because it sounded like such a creepy thriller, and I started it almost as soon as I got my copy. While I did like it, overall, I had a few issues with the writing which I think all have to do with the book being translated from Portuguese to English.

The plot was exactly what I expected, and I was intrigued in the story enough to get through the book pretty quickly, but I lacked any connection with the characters. In all fairness, there is two, and one of them is the kidnapper, so I guess that was okay. I really didn't care much for Clarice for about the first two thirds of the book, but when the last third of the book, the book got a whole lot more intense and creepy. The ending left me feeling a little freaked out, which is the reason why I ended up bumping this to a three star instead of something lower.

I'm not sure if I recommend this to fans of thrillers, because this one isn't such a great one. It's still an interesting book, but the best part of the book is the ending. Luckily the book is pretty short as well.

Aug 26, 2017

Short Story Saturday | Kin by Bruce McAllister

This feature was created by Lauren from 365 Days of Reading

Title: "Kin" by Bruce McAllister
Source: Levar Burton Reads Podcast

One Line Summary: Bruce McAllister's "Kin" is a boy-meets-alien story that hits all the standard buttons of that form.

Thoughts: Like many other reviewers on Goodreads, I listened to this short story on the podcast, Levar Burton Reads. If you're not familiar with it, Levar Burton was the host of the show Reading Rainbow, and his podcast features Burton reading one short story per episode. "Kin" was his first episode, which he narrated amazingly. I am not a big science fiction fan, but this story had me captivated from the start. It could've been because of Burton's voice, or the cinematic sounds that come along with each story (sponsored by Audible) but I wanted to know where this story was going.

The short story follows a young boy who has requested a meeting with an alien, whom he wants to hire to kill someone in order to save his sister's life. While we don't find out the full details right away, the story has a bit of a twist that kept me intrigued to continue listening, and the ending was quite heartwarming. It wasn't at all what I expected from the first episode, but was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it.

You can find this short story here

Aug 21, 2017

Series Review | To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1, #2, #3 by Jenny Han

NOTE → This is my first series review, and I think I prefer it to reviewing books individually. This will become a regular feature where I discuss series that I have finished. These posts are very likely to contain spoilers, since I will be discussing aspects of the books after the first in the series.

Title: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: March 20, 2015 by Penerbit Spring
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up To All the Boys I've Loved Before because I had heard only a few things about it, but mostly that it was super cute. It was one of the books I had on my Summer TBR because it fell into the cute, summer romance/contemporary type of book I really wanted to read. It took me a bit to get into it, and I am not sure why. I guess I just didn't give it much time when I first started to read it because I wasn't sure where the story was even going to go (I knew the premise, though.) But after I really got through the first few chapters, I flew through the book.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before was exactly what I was looking for. A sweet, fun, completely cheesy contemporary read with characters I would adore and a plot that was simple enough to be cliche, but unique enough to hold my attention. Lara Jean is a sweet, 16 year old girl who is really unlike any of the more popular female protagonists these days. She loves to bake, scrapbook, knit, and stay in instead of partying her weekends away. She has a close relationship with her older sister, Margot, and younger sister, Kitty, as well as her widowed dad, who is very present in the story. Their family dynamic was my favorite thing ever.

The story takes off when we find out that Lara Jean had a secret crush on her sister Margots' very recent ex-boyfriend. It's all fine though, because he wasn't supposed to find out she ever felt anything for him, but then we wouldn't have a story. As it's explained in the synopsis, Lara Jean writes love letters to boys she's had feelings for as a sort of goodbye to her feelings, which she never plans to send. The letters get sent out, of course, and when Josh finds out that Lara Jean might have feelings for him, her frantic attempts lead her to Peter K. who was also a recipient of a letter. They form a fake relationship to keep Josh away and make Peter K.'s ex-girlfriend.

Through their fake relationship though, Peter K. and Lara Jean form a sort of weird, but great, friendship. Their interactions were also my favorite thing ever because they're so fun, and quirky, and normal. They're not like many YA romances today that are mostly about attraction and have cheesy romantic confessions of love. Their interactions and conversations, and little adventures all felt like real life. Lara Jean felt real, and so did all the other characters. From her best friend Chris who we hardly see, to Margot living in Scotland, to the awesome and extremely sassy Kitty, to random secondary characters like Josh, and Genevieve and John Ambrose McClaren. They all felt like real people who I knew, and in the end when I finished this book at 2am, I wanted to hug it to sleep. 

Possible Spoilers Ahead

Aug 15, 2017

Review | Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: October 6, 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who's ever been chosen.

That's what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he's probably right.

Half the time, Simon can't even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor's avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there's a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon's face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here -- it's their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon's infuriating nemesis didn't even bother to show up.

Carry On - The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

Thoughts: Carry On is based on the fan fiction from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, although you can read this without reading Fangirl first (like I did.) I wasn't expecting Carry On to be such a fun read, but it truly was. From hilarious characters and interactions, to such obvious similarities to HP, Carry On is definitely a book I truly loved.

Simon was a great character, and I loved him, along with all the other characters. At first, I kept comparing this story to HP but then I realized that it was kind of done this way on purpose, sort of a parody to all the books that have a "chosen one." Simon is a particularly terrible chosen one, constantly getting into terrible situations, and ultimately destroying things in his path (but what else could we expect?) He has an arch enemy, Baz, who he constantly needs to be fighting off, so when he doesn't show up for the first few weeks of school, Simon is weary of what this might mean.

If you're unaware, like I was, Carry On is also a LGBTQ read (highlight to read possible spoiler) → and we find out sort of early on that Baz has been hopelessly in love with Simon for years. This sort of creates a twist in the story, but it's still such a fun take on the story. Overall, I really enjoyed Carry On and it has become one of my favorites.

Aug 14, 2017

Unfinished Reads #4

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

I was extremely disappointed, I couldn’t even really read the book, sort of had to skim to the end. The writing was choppy and I had a hard time liking or connecting with the protagonist. While dealing with such a difficult topic, I found the author sort of rushed the ending and wrapped it up too nicely to feel realistic. Not what I was expecting; this book was not for me.


Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

I found this book to be dull, and really had a hard time concentrating on the story. I did not finish it because I was not able to connect with the MC. The character development wasn’t well executed, and felt no problem just DNF’ing this one. I am only giving this two stars because some of the secondary characters were a bit more interesting and the story had potential.


The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

All I could really think while reading this was, "What the hell is this about?!" and then about 20 pages in I realized I didn't want to waste my reading time this summer trying to make myself like something I didn't even understand. So I skimmed a few more pages, nothing caught my interest, and I decided not to continue.

Rating: DNF

Honeybee: Poems Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye

I was excited to read this book of poetry but it turned out to be a little boring; the poems didn't flow with one another and for the most part, I couldn't connect with them. I also skimmed through her short stories cause I found myself not caring.

Rating: DNF

Cathy's Book by by Jordan Weisman, Sean Stewart, Cathy Brigg

I was intrigued at the beginning of the book, but around half-way I really lost interest. It was written in sort of a diary entry but there were some fantastical elements that weren't immediately explained. Either way, I found myself not connecting with the MC and really didn't want to know the secrets she was trying to uncover. After about 40% I decided to skim to the end, but I was okay leaving this one unfinished.

Rating: DNF

Aug 1, 2017

A Quick Update

I was doing really well for a couple weeks there and then the Booktubeathon happened over on YouTube and Instagram and Twitter, that I literally forgot to post anything here for a couple days. By the time I remembered it was already half way through the week and I was trying to read more for the readathon, so I decided to take a week off from blogging. Now the readathon is over and I decided to join a new one for this week. So I decided to pop over here really quick and say that I'll try to post a review or two this week, or something, but it's not likely.

I am really excited to be participating in these readathons, they've pumped me up to read more, and I was sort of going in and out of slumps for the past couple months there, and now I'm not. I posted my TBR for my current readathon (the Alphabethon) which just started today and goes until August 6th. I had a lot of fun choosing the books for this one, and am going to be reading books that have been on my shelves for years. Although to be honest, I am currently still reading one of the Booktubeathon books at the moment. But I am going to get to my new TBR soon!

Anyways, I'll be back to regular posting next week when I have more time to focus on my blog. I know that I could probably get a review out every day but I really have been using all my free time to read, and that has been really nice.

Happy reading :)