Aisuru by Anma Natsu

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goodreads-synopsis

“You told me before that you’d never regret meeting me. Do you still feel that way now?”

Eighteen-year-old Sakura has spent her high school years living in self-imposed isolation. She’s carefully perfected her role as a cold, stuck up snob at school to keep her classmates, her teacher, the world at a distance so they will never learn the truth: about the night her father’s mental illness tore her world apart, leaving her an orphan and living on borrowed time.

To help her get through the pain, the kind man who adopted her would spin fantastical stories about his childhood friend Kazuki, a magical yokai from another world. Harmless fairy tales to take her mind off things, or so she always thought…

Until the night she finds Kazuki lying wounded in her garden. With the handsome yokai now sharing her house, a jealous young tengu living in her cherry tree, and new friends pushing their way past her walls, Sakura’s stoic acceptance of her fate is slipping.

But is she only opening herself up to further heartache and regret or is she opening the door to a happiness she never imagined possible?

 

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I received Aisuru  on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of Aisuru. I haven’t seen many reviews on the internet, but I decided to go ahead and read it. What got me to read the book was the synopsis since it sounded like a blend of contemporary and fantasy. I was intrigued by the characters, especially Sakura. Aisuru reminded me a bit of Inuyasha and Kamisama Hajimemashita, just the whole human-yokai romantic relationship, but that’s just it.

What I was expecting was an action-paced book filled with a lot of magical scenarios and political drama. Now what I got was different than what I expected. It was good, but it wasn’t bad. I was a tad disappointed that most of the book focused on Hakodate, Japan rather than the magical kingdom of Throklana.

Alright, basic plot of the book is that Sakura is dying and has less than a year of life left. Sakura tries to be an ice queen to those around her. Most of her classmates have invented rumors about her due to her cold personality. Though Sakura puts on an act, she is actually sweet and caring. She has hidden her illness from everyone; she wants to be treated like a normal girl. She wants to do many things in her life, but knows she can’t achieve those goals. When I was reading Sakura’s pov, I did tear up. Sakura was very accepting of her fate in the beginning of the story. As chapters progressed, it became harder for her to accept her death. Though Sakura has little character growth in the book, she at least tried to live as a normal girl. She got to accomplish some of her goals on her bucket list. One of my favorite moments of the book was the introduction of Sakura’s classmates that eventually became her friends. I have to say that this book did really great when it came to friendship.

I was actually surprised that this book was a bit dark at some times. Sakura’s past was extremely sad, especially what happened to her parents. Though she was adopted into a loving home after the traumatizing events of her childhood, she grew up mostly independent. That’s one thing that I really liked about Sakura, she always did her best no matter her limitations.

Moving on to Kazuki, I felt okay about him. Kazuki is the yokai prince who is supposed to take over the kingdom while his father is on his pilgrimage. Kazuki never wanted to be king. He is the oldest sibling, but he knows that his younger brother is far more capable of being the next crown king. The author didn’t really give a great description of his features besides his long claws and white hair. So I imagined him like this that whole time:

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Though Tomoe is a far more better character than Kazuki, just saying.

Kazuki was a good guy, but a horrible leader. Here’s the thing: his kingdom is in turmoil and his brother turned against him. What does Kazuki do? Reside in the human realm and leaves his kingdom in hands of his advisors. He abandoned the throne, and though his duty is to the kingdom, he never really does anything to contribute anything. I can see why he is fascinated with the human world, but it annoyed me that it wasn’t till 75% of the book that he decided to take action. As I’ve mentioned, he was a good guy…he did have some cute moments especially with Karasu. Now Karasu was one of my favorite characters in the story. He is a yokai as well and very devoted to his master. He initially hates Sakura and doesn’t trust her whatsoever. I found Karasu to be an adorable jealous little brother. He had a sad backstory that I wish got expanded more!

Anyways, I thought that Aisuru was going have a lot of action, but I got more of a contemporary vibe. Most of the book was spent on Kazuki and Sakura doing normal errands such as cleaning, or cooking. It seemed that this was going to be a book filled with insta-love, but I am glad that the author tried to build up the romance. There wasn’t much tension between the two characters and the kiss happened out of nowhere.

As for the whole plot, I thought it could have been great if there was no conflict in the yokai realm. Since most of the book took place in the human realm, it felt a bit too much to have two conflicts because Sakura was the main focus throughout the book. The conflict in Kazuki’s realm was ignored till the end!! But, despite Aisuru’s flaws, I did find myself enjoying the book. The book did have a villain! Surprise, surprise it wasn’t the brother. I assumed it was another character…since the villain didn’t get introduced till 50% of the book. I won’t give much away, but just wow.

What I liked:

  • Sakura’s pov
  • Karasu
  • The ending was cute

I feel that Aisuru could have made a good graphic novel since the author is inspired by Japanese culture. I was mostly thinking of anime when reading this book!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

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WWW Wednesday October 5th, 2016

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. So for this week, I haven’t had that much time reading. Well, I’ve mostly been reading my required chapters for school, but that’s it. Midterms are coming up soon and I’ve started my study guides for class. Once midterms are over, then I’ll try to get back on track with my reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Falling Kingdoms: I have not advanced whatsoever. I’m not dropping the book. It would be too soon for that.

Crooked Kingdom: I’ve read five chapters and loving it!!! I’ve stayed away from spoilers. Thank the Lord. Ahaha.

What did you recently finish reading?

i'm not your manic pixie dream girl

Possibly the cheesiest book that I’ve ever read, and it became such a guilty pleasure besides how stereotypical it was.

What do you think you’ll read next?

roald-dahls-book-of-ghost-stories

Top Ten Tuesday: All About The Villains

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to join, please check out the blog!!

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This week’s topic is All About The Villains. Here is my top ten list of villains that I have found to be terrifying!!

  1. Adolf Hitler (Wolf By Wolf) – He plays a crucial role in Wolf by Wolf, the main protagonist is set to kill him at all costs. Come on, this guy is evil in the fictional world and in real life. That’s why he’s my number one.
  2. Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter Series) – He Who Should Not Be Named. He’s responsible for many atrocities in the Wizarding World. He’s absolutely terrifying. He would have been my number one if I had not read Wolf by Wolf.
  3. Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter Series) – Someone who I never, ever wan to encounter. She’s terrible. Absolutely dreadful.
  4. Queen Levana (Lunar Chronicles) – She’s the evil queen that does not have any redeeming qualities to her.
  5. The Darkling (The Grisha Trilogy) – Problematic favorite. He’s evil, but you sort of fall for him more than the main love interest.
  6. Marshall D. Teach/Blackbeard (One Piece)– I find Blackbeard to be horrifying. He’s one of the most interesting villains in One Piece. I found him scary and after what he did to Ace…well, you can see why he’s on my list.
  7. John Hobbes (The Diviners) –  Serial ghost killer? No thanks.
  8. Everyone (Lychee Light Club) – Just read it and you’ll see.
  9.  The Commandment (An Ember In The Ashes) – She was very spiteful. She’s one scary person.
  10. Light (Death Note) – Light owns the Death Note. He can write your name and you’re dead. Gone. Finished. He has all the powers in his hands. Yeah, he’s a guy that I wouldn’t mess with.

I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

i'm not your manic pixie dream girlAuthor: Gretchen McNeil

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Links: Amazon | Goodreadsgoodreads-synopsisBeatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically-guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win her boyfriend back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity, and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?he-he1

spoilers

Imagine the movie you really like right, and it gets a sequel that no one asked for, but the sequel is sort of good. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil felt like that to me. It’s a standalone, contemporary, young adult novel that was released earlier this month.

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According to Urban Dictionary, a manic pixie dream girl is:

A Manic Pixie Dream Girl or MPDG, is a term coined by film critic Nathan Rabin after seeing Elizabethtown. It refers to “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” A pretty, outgoing, whacky female romantic lead whose sole purpose is to help broody male characters lighten up and enjoy their lives.

Guys, I really didn’t know how to feel bout this book. Let’s start with the cover art. Not my favorite, and yeah, I judged the book by the cover. My sister looked at the book and said it looks bad. She didn’t read the synopsis. Anyways, I decided to read it. Honestly, this book is extremely cheesy…to the max. Like an extremely cheesy version of a Disney Channel Movie. (Not bashing on Disney Channel Movies, I actually like watching them.) As for my reading experience, oddly enough I couldn’t put this book down. It became a guilty pleasure despite how stereotypical it was.

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Beatrice is known as the “math girl” in her school. She has a passion for math and hopes to win the scholarship to MIT. She and her group of friends aren’t popular.  There’s Gabriel who is the ambitious, “nerdy” journalist friend, who happens to be hated by jocks because his article fired the football coach. There’s also Spencer who is sarcastic, moody, and an artist. It’s obvious that he is in love with Beatrice but the girl is oblivious. She starts dating Jesse who constantly drops hints that she should be more outgoing and try to more social. I thought he was somewhat sweet, but I still didn’t trust him.  Beatrice hopes for a better senior year. Unfortunately, she and her friends are still being bullied by the most stereotypical jock bullies who are irrelevant.

Beatrice the genius she is, comes up with a wild idea that will guarantee popularity for her friends and stop the bullying. Beatrice applies math to solve her situation. She knows numbers like there’s not tomorrow. The formula is useful for Beatrice because she decides to use it as an experiment in order to win the scholarship for MIT.

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Only she and Gabe are thrilled about applying the formula for instant popularity, while Spencer is against the idea. Long story short, all three friends apply Beatrice’s math formula. Gabe, who is gay by the way, becomes the most stereotypical version of himself by being super flamboyant, and Spencer doesn’t do much to his image besides advertise his art to people. Beatrice becomes a stereotypical version of herself by offering free tutoring to the popular folks, but she’s the only one that does not become popular.

Remember Jesse? Beatrice’s boyfriend. There’s a new girl in school that is a manic pixie dream girl. Her name is Toile Jefferies, and she steals Jesse away from Beatrice. Beatrice applies the same formula to herself and becomes a manic pixie dream girl, who ends up being Toile’s rival.

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Alright, so I summed up pretty much what happens during the first half of the story. Beatrice becomes Trixie who becomes one of the most popular girls at school. Beatrice becomes confident and far more outgoing in her Trixie persona. Everything seems to be going great for her and her friends, but what Beatrice did not expect her formula to fail her. Spencer is the voice of reason throughout this whole ordeal. He constantly reminds Beatrice that what she’s doing is foolish. He was a jerk, but the boy was being honest. He didn’t want to “change”, but did it to support Beatrice.

What ends up happening is that Beatrice becomes obsessed and competitive towards Toile. Girl literally forgets that the reason she changed her persona was to win her boyfriend back. Although Trixie is popular among the students, she almost loses her friends in the process by constantly hurting them even though she feels she’s doing the right thing. I called the ending and I didn’t stumble upon spoilers if you’re asking, it was very obvious from the moment I started the book.

What I liked from this book:

  • Spencer. The made the most sense from the cast of characters. Yeah, there were moments where he was a jerk, but he was being honest.
  • Supportive friends: It took Beatrice a while to understand she was hurting everyone, but her friends still loved her despite everything.
  • The romance: I admit that it’s not so great, but Beatrice realizes who she loves and she doesn’t get with him till the very end.
  • The comedy: This book reminded of Mean Girls. Ha ha. There were some moments that had me laughing. I enjoyed reading Beatrice’s pov, especially the situations she put herself into.
  • The rivalry

What I didn’t like:

  • Jesse….bye-felipe
  • The nerdy rival…I forgot his name, but he was so unnecessarily extra. Hated that he got a happy ending because he was a pie-hole.
  • How stereotypical the book was. This book is geared to a younger audience. I rolled my eyes a lot, but I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.
  • The cover

Overall, I was mildly surprised by I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Final rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

 

That’s What He Said Thursday | Spencer

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That’s What He Said Thursday is a bookish meme hosted by Chapter Break. For more info on what this meme is all about click here.

This is my first That’s What He Said Thursday post. I will be posting one quote each Thursday. I know the hosts are doing it monthly. Anyways, my version of this book meme will be a quote from the book or books that I am currently reading. Let’s hope I can keep this up since it is a quote!

i'm not your manic pixie dream girlThis week’s pick is from I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil. Here’s my quote:

You ran into Jesse and after one look at you he expressed his undying love?

I’m not a huge fan of Beatrice/Trixie from INYMPDG, but Spencer is the best character. Anyways, finished the book because I couldn’t go to sleep and this was the best line he had. This is not a spoiler. Beatrice transforms herself into Trixie, the typical manic pixie dream girl in order to win her boyfriend Jesse back. Spencer says this to Beatrice when she tells him that she encountered Jesse in her new makeover.  He’s sarcastic and he’s very snarky! He’s the moody artist with the sensitive heart. ❤

WWW Wednesday Sept 28 2016

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. I’m out of my book slump and I’m back. Ha ha. Summer makes me lazy and it’s when I read the least amount of books. Now that I’m taking a couple classes, I’m feeling more productive. I’m taking my sweet time when it comes to reading. I’m doing good with my Goodreads book challenge.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl: I already know how it will end. Haven’t read any spoilers for it and I’m halfway done with the book. It’s so stereotypical!! It’s so cheesy, but it’s a guilty pleasure. Aha. Review will be posted either Friday or Saturday if I finish my research paper. Ha.

Falling Kingdoms: It takes me a while to read Fantasy. I really like Magnus, but not sure how I feel about it yet.

What did you recently finish reading?

Maybe Someday: Started off great…and I didn’t love it. Problematic characters, but interesting story. Hopefully the next CoHo book I pick up is better than this one.

Labyrinth Lost: Overall fun and loved the diverse cast of characters!! Loved it, and looking forward to the other books in the series.

What do you think you’ll read next?

crooked-kingdom

Yasssssssssss!! I have my copy of Crooked Kingdom on my shelf and it’s begging me to read it!!! I got the target edition of the book and it comes with a poster! Avoid tumblr like the plague.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you want to join, please check out the blog!!

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Hello, and good morning! It’s been such a long time since I last did a Top Ten Tuesday. Ha ha. Anyways, this week’s topic is Books On My Fall TBR! I have many books that I want to read and hopefully, if I don’t procrastinate, will try to read these books on my list.

  1. Crooked Kingdom.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.
  2. Vassa In The NIghtGoodreads SynopsisIn the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

    In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling out again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

    But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair. . . .

    Inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful and Sarah Porter’s years of experience teaching creative writing to New York City students.

  3. i'm not your manic pixie dream girlGoodreads Synopsis: Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

    So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically-guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win her boyfriend back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

    Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity, and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

  4. The Night Itself.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: A breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.

    When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana – an ancestral Japanese sword – out of its hiding place in her parent’s attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

    The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend’s party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

    The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

    Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it’s already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.

    With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru – and the devoted protection of the betwitchingly familiar Shinobu – Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn’t learn how to control the katana’s incredible powers, she’s in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can’t keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she’ll lose not only her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

  5. The GracesGoodreads Synopsis: Everyone said the Graces were witches.

    They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

    They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

    All I had to do was show them that person was me.

    Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

    This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

  6. roald-dahls-book-of-ghost-storiesGoodreads Synopis:Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl? Of the many permutations of the macabre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. For this superbly disquieting collection, he selected fourteen of his favorite tales by such authors as E.F. Benson, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton

    Includes:
    “W.S.” L.P. Hartley
    “Harry” Rosemary Timperley
    “The Corner Shop” Cynthia Asquith
    “In the Tube” E.F. Benson
    “Christmas Meeting” Rosemary Timperley
    “Elias and the Draug” Jonas Lie
    “Playmates” A.M. Burrage
    “Ringing the Changes” Robert Aickman
    “The Telephone” Mary Treadgold
    “The Ghost of a Hand” J. Sheridan Le Fanu
    “The Sweeper” A.M. Burrage
    “Afterward” Edith Wharton
    “On the Brighton Road” Richard Middleton
    “The Upper Berth” F. Marion CrawfordMilk and Honey.jpg

  7. Goodreads Synopsis: milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
  8. The Lightning Thief.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
  9. vengeance road.jpgGoodreads Synopsis: Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

    When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

  10. anne-of-green-gablesGoodreads Synopsis: Everyone’s favorite redhead, the spunky Anne Shirley, begins her adventures at Green Gables, a farm outside Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. When the freckled girl realizes that the elderly Cuthberts wanted to adopt a boy instead, she begins to try to win them and, consequently, the reader, over.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

maybe someday.jpgAuthor: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: Contains exclusive content: songs from Griffin Peterson

Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she’s a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope….

Maybe someday…

Colleen Hoover draws you in to this passionate tale of music, love and betrayal…

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I’ve never read a Colleen Hoover book until now. I’ve notice that readers have a love-hate relationship with her books. I came in with no expectations of her books. Maybe Someday is everyone’s favorite. My favorite reviewers absolutely love Maybe Someday, and I was hoping for the best when I picked this book.

Maybe Someday had an interesting concept since it dealt with cheating. Starting off, Sydney’s life is turned upside down when she discovers her boyfriend and best friend having an affair behind her back. She feels betrayed by both of them, and she was completely unaware of what was happening to her. The best that Sydney does for herself is packing her belongings since she can no longer call her apartment a home. Ridge is her neighbor that lives in the apartment complex across from her. He is the mysterious guitar player that Sydney feels a connection to. For the first couple of chapters, the book alternates between the past and present. Ridge isn’t some stranger as I had initially thought. Ridge and Sydney become friends due to their shared connection of music. He writes the music, while Sydney is the lyricist. Because of Sydney’s almost homelessness when she leaves her apartment, Ridge decides it is best for Sydney to live with him and his roommates for the time being. The chemistry between Ridge and Sydney is undeniable. Maybe Someday is a slow burn romance filled with a lot of unnecessary angst.

Maybe Someday was an interesting book, because I had a love-relationship with the story. Starting off with what I enjoyed was how likable Ridge started off in the beginning. I’ve never read a book where the male protagonist was deaf. It made the book far more interesting than I had anticipated. He was sweet and caring, and I found myself liking Ridge. Also, I enjoyed the soundtrack that accompanied the book, which was really cool. I’ve never read a book that had a companion album until this book. My favorite song off the soundtrack was I’m In Trouble. I found myself liking Maggie far more than I like Sydney. Though Maggie was a secondary character, I enjoyed her far more than the main protagonist. She was fun, mature, and overall such a nice character. It was hard to dislike her even though Sydney was the main protagonist.

I disliked Sydney a lot. She was very troublesome for me. I felt she was being unnecessarily extra. At some points of the book, I found her to be mature, but most of the time she was acting like a child. She was very angry during certain situations. She was very jealous, and the same goes for Ridge. Ridge, the guy who I found to be charming became the opposite. He was very controlling over Sydney even though he had a girlfriend. Spoiler alert: I was bothered with how he and Sydney decided to stay silent over the kiss fiasco and he never told Maggie anything. He and Maggie have been together for years, and he never decides to tell her what went on with he and Sydney. I found Ridge far more guilty of cheating that Sydney.

One of my biggest issues was how SYDNEY WHO RECENTLY BROKE UP WITH HER BOYFRIEND FALLS IN LOVE WITH A TAKEN MAN. SYDNEY DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO PROPERLY HEAL AND SHE FALLS IN LOVE WITH RIDGE. (I’ve never used caps lock for any review until this book.) I sympathized a lot with Warren when it came with the Sydney situation.

I did not like the way Colleen Hoover described certain female characters. For example, Tori was described as a bimbo Barbie and most of the time Bridgette was labeled a bitch. I felt uncomfortable with those characters descriptions. It felt as if Colleen was trying to make Sydney seem far more likable, which was the complete opposite for me. As for the ending of the book, I felt it could have ended in a nicely, wrapped package but did it really have to end with the characters having sex??? The chapters before the sex scene could have ended the book on a far happier note. I would have given it a higher rating, but then they had to had sex for the final chapter. I have no issues with sex in books, but after all of what both characters went through, it made the book weaker for me. Maybe Someday more like Maybe Not. Lastly, Maggie rocks.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth LostAuthor: Zoraida Cordova

Website: zoraidacordova.com

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“Zoraida Cordova’s prose enchants from start to finish. Labyrinth Lost is pure magic.” -Melissa Grey, author of The Girl at Midnight

“Magical and empowering, Labyrinth Lost is an incredible heroine’s journey filled with mythos come to life; but at its heart, honors the importance of love and family.” -Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine and Silver Phoenix

“A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno. Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.” -Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper

“Labyrinth Lost is a magical story of love, family, and finding yourself. Enchanting from start to finish.” -Amy Tintera, author of Ruined.

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I received Labyrinth Lost in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

When it comes to young adult books, there is a lack of diversity when it comes to the main characters. I was so thrilled that I finally encountered a Hispanic, urban fantasy, young adult novel that not only has a diverse set of characters, but is also LGBT! Let me just say that the book community needs more diversity! I cannot stress that enough. Also, it’s Hispanic Heritage Month and Labyrinth Lost was the perfect choice for me, a Latina.

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Alex is a bruja who loathes her magic, and she is one of the most powerful brujas in her family, but she hides her magical abilities from everyone. Many say that it is a blessing, but not for Alex. Alex wants to live a normal life, but she hates the complications of having to live a double life of being a bruja and a teen. An event triggers Alex to use her magic, and she can no longer hide her magic from her family. Preparations start for Alex’s Deathday, which is similar to a quinceañera. Alex tries to get rid of her magic, and it all backfires on her. She instantly looses her family to another dimenison by using her magic.

Alex grew on me. I’ll admit it.  I didn’t like her early on, but the more I read, I noticed how much changed Alex for the better. She’s responsible and studious, and only wants a normal life. She doesn’t want to be seen as a freak in school and tries her best to conceal her magical ability. She learns to become powerful from the event she faces, especially when she crosses to Los Lagos. Alex does whatever it takes to save her family. She wants to redeem herself from her mistakes. On the journey she learns to accept her fate, and she becomes far more wiser because of it.

Moving on to the love triangle. Alex is best friends with Rishi, and has romantic feelings for her. Rishi has no idea that Alex is a bruja. Rishi is makes Alex feel comfortable and safe. There is also Nova, a brujo, who has a love-hate relationship with Alex.  Nova is the opposite of safe. He’s somewhat of a bad boy. What I loved is how the love triangle reminded of Pearl and Greg from Steven Universe.

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I loved how Rishi and Nova didn’t get along at all. They seemed to be competing over Alex which I loved. Personally, I preferred Rishi over Nova, but that’s just me.

One of the best aspects of the book is not the romance, but the love Alex has for her family. I loved how Alex’s family plays a huge role in her life. They weren’t just background characters. Throughout Alex’s whole journey, they helped her in any way they could. I loved how all the women in Alex’s family were strong. Especially the part where Alex was speaking to her dead great-grandmother. Also, may I just say that Alex’s family was very accepting and forgiving.

Reasons to read Labyrinth Lost:

  • Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.
  • LGBT
  • Brujas
  • Awesome mythology
  • Good character arcs
  • Strong female characters
  • Fantastical creatures

As for the whole journey, I loved it. Labyrinth Lost reminded me of Alice in Wonderland and Pan’s Labyrinth. A perfect spooky package. If possible, I would love this book to get adapted into a movie, preferably an animated movie. I had high expectations for Labyrinth Lost and I was so pleased that I loved the book. It has a special place in my heart, and this is the book that has helped me get out of my book slump! This book is ideal to read for Halloween and Hispanic Heritage Month!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis

Withering Rose

Author: Kaitlyn Davis

Genre: Romance, Retellings, Fantasy, YA

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don’t miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast.

“As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name–a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall.”

Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.

But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.

*This is the second book in Once Upon A Curse, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels all set in the same fantasy universe.

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I don’t know how to quite describe Withering Rose. Let me first start off by saying that it’s the second book in the series, but you don’t have to read the first book since the stories are standalone, but interconnected. 

Alright, so when I saw that Withering Rose was available on Netgalley, I wanted to read it so, so badly. The synopsis is what won me over. I’ve read a couple of Beauty and The Beast retellings and I was in the mood to read another one. I was hoping that Withering Rose was going to be the “one”. Oh, I was wrong.

I hated it. I’ve been going through a reading slump, and this book did not help whatsoever. I can’t believe I actually managed to finish reading it, because it felt like I was reading this book for months. So, the story begins with a huge earthquake as Omorose and her father are traveling to another kingdom. They find themselves transported to another world because of the earthquake, in a world without magic. Omorose is forced to keep her powers hidden because the people of her new world exterminate magical beings. Modern earth hates anything magical. In a way, present day earth can be viewed as a dystopian society in the eyes of Omorose and her father.

Her father has to work for the government in order for his and Omorose’s survival. As years go by, Omorose feels caged because she cannot use her powers. Her father forbids her from using her magic because he wants to protect her. He doesn’t want his daughter to be slaughter, but Omorose feels that by hiding her magic, she is hiding herself. Her classmates see her as the weird girl, and she hates living a second life of pretending to be someone she is not. She decides it is best to leave her father and pursue the beast. (It’s not like her father has been protecting her for years from their enemies.) The beast is a magical being that lives deep in the forest. The government has been trying to capture the beast and end magic, but his whereabouts are unknown.

The world building sucked. Completely sucked. There is no explanation on how two worlds ended up merging. It happens in the span of one chapter, the very first chapter may I add. There is no world building for Omorose’s home world. As the reader, you are left wondering what kind of world did she come from. I thought of a medieval setting, but that’s just me. I feel that if her world was based on the past, let’s say the 5th century, and somehow it merged to modern day earth, it would have been a better explanation. Anyways, the kingdoms of Omorose’s home world get transported onto modern day earth, and merge with cities. The government has been fighting off the magical users. There is no reason why there is discrimination. As you reader, you are left to assume that the present day earth is very advanced when it comes to the technology.

As for the characters, I didn’t love them. I had no attachments to the protagonist, love interest, nor secondary characters. Omorose was conflicting for me because she describes herself as strong, but honestly, she was weak for me. Her magical ability is cool. She is able to grow flowers, and every time she uses her magic, it takes a toll on her body. You would think that Omorose would be thankful for being able to survive on earth. Honestly, he father was protecting her life by forbidding her magic, but no. Unnecessary angst. Now moving on to the beast, he’s a shape-shifter and is a prince. He is angry and brooding, and isn’t loveable. Omorose and her relationship with the Beast happened instantly. At first, Omorose is completely terrified of the Beast, and he does nothing to prove her otherwise. And then, they instantly fall in love. I wasn’t a huge fan of their romance. 

After finishing Withering Rose, I won’t pick up the other books in the series. I liked the concept, but the execution wasn’t the best. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this book. A frustrating Beauty and the Beast retelling is not what I needed. I can recommend picking up A Court of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas or Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️