it’s good to be back ~ ft. the house in the cerulean sea

I’ve been thinking this a lot lately since flying home over a month ago. Even now, we’re all finding peace and joy and anything else we need to keep going wherever we can. And I realized that is exactly why it’s time to return to this blog – to this small home I created online years ago.

To start off, I’m sharing my thoughts on a book that made my heart ache…

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book review: lady midnight by cassandra clare ~ an wildly compelling story

25494343.jpgPublisher: McElderry Books
Release Date
: March 8 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads Blurb: 

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

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book review: when the moon was ours by anna-marie mclemore

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Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release date: October 4, 2016
Genres: YA, Magical Realism, Fantasy

Pages: 288
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads Blurb:

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

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book review: the star-touched queen

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Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

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Lips Touch: Three Times || 3 Stories That Left Me Yearning For More

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Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Release Date: October 1st 2009

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling
Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

My Review

This is not my first Laini Taylor book. In fact, the reason I picked it up is because I love her writing so much and holy cow you guys, I am so glad I read this book! It features three different short-stories, each of them beautiful, otherworldly and terrifying.

Goblin Fruit: This is long and drawn out – so suspenseful it had be on the edge of my seat, terrified for the main character. I honestly couldn’t guess if there would be a happy ending or not until I read the ending. Reading this story gave me this feeling of satisfaction, like sinking my teeth into chocolate cake. The fact that I could relate to Kizzy’s yearning to be beautiful, also made feel more invested in her fate.

Spicy Little Curses: This story is told from different perspectives and takes place in India. The ambassador to Hell has to bargain with a demon in order to save the souls of children. But even the widow (ambassador) can’t save every life and eventually she makes a deal that she might eventually regret. This time, I had a vague idea of what would happen and the twists at the end didn’t really surprise me. But the story was made more interesting because it was told through the eyes of more than one character.

Hatchling: This is the longest story and it’s set in both the modern world and the realm of the Druj (soulless creatures/demons). You might not want to read this at night, if you’re like me and cringe every time there is a description of anything remotely scary. Other than that, I’m not going to reveal any more because I think it’s better to go into this not knowing what to expect.

I know this book might seem outdated (I’m still catching up on new releases!) because it was published six years ago. But if you love fantasy, you must read this. (And then hopefully comment below telling me what you think!)

Book Haul! (5)

Book Haul

I feel like I had a pretty decent haul this month and I even won an e-book (!!) in a Twitter giveaway. I also received quite a few e-ARCs and ended up borrowing some library books.

Won…

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I only recently started following the author on twitter/wordpress but ever since, I’ve been really psyched to read her books because she just seems really awesome. Under The Lights also appears to be an original book in one of my favorite genres (YA CONTEMPORARY!).

ARCs…

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Thank you to Full Fathom Five, Peachtree Publishers, Alloy Entertainment, and Amulet Books for the review copies of Dead Ringer, Believarexic, The Space Between Heartbeats, and Worlds of Ink and Shadow. I am most excited to read Dead Ringer because it’s a thriller and I haven’t read a book in that genre in a while. (There are also no negative ratings/reviews on Goodreads right now.. but hopefully I won’t be the first!).

Borrowed…

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It’s been a while since I borrowed books (and had to endure the added weight to my heavy backpack) but I really wanted to read these books so I decided it was worth it! Both of these books are incredible. SO INCREDIBLE. (And Through the Woods is especially beautiful) The only reason I didn’t write a review is because I don’t have time to.

The Liebster Award

the liebster award

Thank-you to Skylee @ The Night Girl and Prima @ Panda Hearts Books for nominating me for the Liebster Award!

the rules…

  • Each nominee must have under 200 followers
  • Thank and link to the nominated blog
  • Answer their 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
  • Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they have been nominated
  • Write a post containing the questions
  • Include these rules in the post

Questions from Skylee & Answers from Me:

1. Tell me about your favourite book genre? or sub genres? Why is it your favourite?

My favorite book genre is Young Adult fiction because (..this might sound cliche but) it’s relatable. I’m a teenager and being able to connect to fictional teens who are experiencing the same things, makes me feel like I’m not alone. Many of the YA books I’ve read have also taught me a lot about things like mental illness and other “taboo” topics. My favorite subgenres are contemporary and fantasy. Depending on my mood, I will reading book from either of these genres. These days, I often avoid dystopia or paranormal books (unless there is tons of hype surrounding it or the book was recommended to me) because a lot of those books are becoming kind-of cliche.

2. Do you have any other passions? if so, what are they?

Not really… If I’m not studying or doing homework, I’m reading, writing or blogging (or watching tv). I write novels (or try to anyway), short-stories and poetry. Some of my poetry and prose can be found on my tumblr blog.

3. Favourite summer activity that isn’t reading?

I’m not sure if traveling counts but I am starting to enjoy it even more (although the jet lag is a pain in the ass).

How do you feel about gardening?

I’d rather not do it…My grand parents have a garden where they grow flowers, vegetables and even a (mango) tree..but I don’t think those gardening genes got passed on to me. I’m just not someone who really enjoys getting her hands dirty. I’ve gardened a couple of times during service projects at school trips but I didn’t enjoy it that much.

Do you believe in mermaids?

Maybe. I’m skeptical but I try to be open-minded.

What historical period of time do you think you would have liked to live in?

The Renaissance period because a bunch of amazing things were created.

Do you prefer stand alone books or trilogies or even series?

If I really like a book, I’ll wish there was an entire series or trilogy for me to read because I can fangirl even longer. But if I didn’t like the book, I want it to be a standalone so I don’t have to read the entire series to get all the answers. I guess I just can’t pick. These days I read more stand alones than series (or just read one or two books from a series) because it gives me more time to try books by other authors.

If you could choose a best friend from a book (e.g. what main characters best friend would you want to be your best friend) who would it be and from what book?

Simon from Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda. He’s really sweet and cute and I just couldn’t get enough of him! The entire time I read this book, I kept on wishing it was part of a series.

If you could acquire any type of skill in the world, what would it be?

By skill..do you mean like super powers? Okay I would probably want the power to read superfast (that sounds nerdy doesn’t it?). But I honestly can’t think of anything else.. I don’t want to read minds because I mean invading privacy. And I’m scared of heights so forget flying! (Comment down below and let me know what kind of skill or super power you want!)

Do you judge books by their covers?

ALL THE TIME! Sexy, gorgeous, amazing, eye-catching, fab-(okay you get the idea) covers are all it takes to get me to read the blurb…and honestly, when I’m scrolling through Top 10/20 lists and I don’t have time to read all those blurbs, I just click on the books that have great covers and add them on goodreads (I’m lazy like that). I know that isn’t totally fair but I’m a firm believer that if a book is good, it will find it’s way to me eventually.

Questions from Prima & Answers from Me:

How do you juggle your reading time with life?

So far it hasn’t been much of a struggle. I like to read in the “in-between” moments – when I’m waiting for the bus, right before/after class..you name it (you could find me reading in a grocery store). Sometimes I sacrifice reading time to get work done so that I’ll have time to read the next day or week.

Sell me your favourite book in a sentence. (Does this even count as a question?)

Angels, demons, and the people who hunt them..? (I know this is pretty bad but I honestly can’t think of something decent right now.. oh well)  (I’m describing the Shadowhunter Chronicles.)

Who is your all time book OTP?

Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments.

Do you have any bookish merchandise? If not, what would you like to have?

Nope. I really wish I did – I’d love to get some bookish jewellery (maybe some charms). I love those really pretty bookmarks as well even though I usually read on my Kindle.

Do you write reviews all in one go or bits over a few days?

I take a couple of days to edit and polish the review but I like to get all my thoughts out at once so that I don’t forget anything I’d want to include. Sometimes I can’t get my thoughts together and end up writing half a review one day and finishing it the next day.  

Which character would be your best friend and why?

Katy from the Lux series because she’s also a book blogger and I would have so much fangirling over books with her.

What book would you love to see as a movie/tv show?

I would say City of Bones…but we crossed that bridge a while ago and oh gosh, the movie was pretty awful. So instead I’m going to say the Lux series.

Why did you decide to start a book blog?

I’d made a few blogs before but I would just post these random things like my top 10 favorite nail polish colors (even though I’m not that interested in nail polish).. I would get bored after a week or two of trying to brainstorm content and give up (but those blogs were actually really bad so whew!). Anyway, a year ago my best friend, Jessica, “introduced” me to the concept of book blogging when she started a book blog. I did some “research” and decided to make a blog (I never dreamed it would go on for this long.)

Which book do you wish you have right now?

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I’ve heard so many good things about it.

Who is your least favourite character of all time and why?

I don’t really have one..I even admire the villains (extra points if they’re smart and hot).

Besides reading, what is your other obsession?

Writing. I’ve always had a passion for writing but sometimes I can’t find time to do both.

10 Questions for Nominees:

1. What is your favorite part of being a (book) blogger?

2. What are some book tropes that you hate and/or love?

3. Do you guys have any blogging or writing rituals?

4. What are some bookish turn-ons?

5. Of the top of your head, what are your top ten favorite (main or minor) characters?

6. What is your dream job (or if you already have it, what else do you think you would enjoy doing or what is your job and why do you love it so much)?

7. What are your hobbies – apart from reading?

8. Do you back up (all) your blog posts and images?…Do you back up anything?

9. How do you stay organized and/or do you have a blogging schedule?

10. Who are your book boyfriends?

My Nominations:

  1. Writing on a Vintage Typewriter
  2. Jolien @ The Fictional Reader
  3. Rebecca @ RebeccaBookReview
  4. Eviline Lunette @ Adventuring Through Pages
  5. Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf
  6. Kimberly @ Over The Bookshelf
  7. Poulami @ Daydreaming Books
I know that’s less than 10 but I wasn’t sure who else to nominate (I’m so bad at this!) And I apologize in advance if you guys have already been nominated for this award. (Also I’m not 100% sure if you guys have less than 200 followers..) Feel free to comment with a link to your post or say hi on twitter! I look forward to reading your posts! 

The Monthly Recap #4

Monthly Recap

Hey guys!

I feel like August just flew by and I almost forgot to do a recap…But luckily today was a school holiday and I decided to make use of my free time. School started halfway through last month so I apologize for the fact that I published fewer posts toward the second half of the month. I don’t think I’ll be able to blog every other day anymore (especially now that I’m taking AP World History!) but I’m still going to try to blog once or twice every week. I was also nominated for a couple of awards and if you nominated me, I assure you I haven’t forgotten. I just haven’t found the time to put together the blog post.

Blog Posts

BOOK REVIEWS

The Corridor by A.N Willis

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Mini-Reviews: Finding Audrey Pointe

Mini-Reviews: Illusions of Fate & Seraphina

OTHER

Book Haul! (4)

Versatile Blogger Award

Infinity Dreams Award

WRITING STUFF

#AmWriting :: Publication News // A WIP // Short Stories

Also, all the comics I’ve been (binge) reading have helped me catch up on my Goodreads reading challenge goal..Now, goodreads tells me I am one book ahead of schedule!

Book Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

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Publisher: Hyperion

Release Date: January 28th 2014

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

My Review

I really enjoyed The Archived so when I started reading The Unbound, I was disappointed. While The Archived was fresh and original, The Unbound seemed to drag and lacked the plot and action that made the first book an addictive enjoyable read. Mackenzie, in the first book, is obsessed with her dead brother and she makes some bad decisions because of this nostalgia. And I had hoped that Mackenzie’s character would finally become a force to be reckoned with in this second book. But she doesn’t, instead she’s obsessed with Owen – the history that she pushes into a void at the end of The Archived. She has nightmares about him, she hallucinates about him, and she keeps rehashing everything that happened with him in the first book.

Then there’s the fact that Mackenzie barely has any “real” relationships with anyone. She becomes even more closed-off because she doesn’t want to tell anyone about what she’s going through. I understood that she didn’t want to involve anyone – especially not Wesley, but this whole “lying to protect the ones I love” thing gets old pretty fast. To be honest, at some parts of this book, I was just skim-reading through all her monologues.

So I didn’t really like Mackenzie. But I did love Wesley. I loved getting to see “prep school Wesley” and I feel like I just fell in love with him even more as we learned more about him. It was frustrating because he and Mackenzie had so much potential for an amazing boyfriend-girlfriend relationship…but at the same time Mackenzie didn’t give him the attention he deserved. She’s pretty selfish and doesn’t often take time to learn more about him – which is disappointing because I just wanted to know everything. 

Overall, the book lacked action and sometimes there isn’t much of a plot. There are some action scenes dispersed throughout the book but 80% of it is rather dull – especially because the characters aren’t all that great (well except for Wesley). I’m afraid I won’t recommend this book but I loved The Archived and you might too!