One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

one paris summer

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

overall feelings copy

I received One Paris Summer in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

Over the weekend, I finished reading One Paris Summer. Now, I didn’t have high hopes for this book, but I was in the mood to read a contemporary book. One Paris Summer is about siblings who are forced to go to Paris for their summer vacation. Sophie, the protagonist, loathes the idea of going to Paris. Why? The reason why she doesn’t want to travel to Paris is because her father left her. Abandoned. Gone for good.
It is understandable why Sophie feels bitterness towards her father. Did he even try to win her or her brother back? Not really. One Paris Summer was jammed packed with a lot of drama. Much more than I had anticipated. I’ve seen some comparisons to Anna and the French Kiss since both books are set in Paris and contemporary. Anyways, Anna and The French Kiss is a delightful, fluffy read while One Paris Summer is a bit more dramatic.

As for the characters, I really liked Sophie. She was stubborn most of the time, and she wasn’t allowing herself to enjoy Paris, let alone learn the language. She constantly feels betrayed by her father. He left without saying goodbye, left the country to live abroad, and remarried. Sophie’s father never bothered to even email or call his children. I found myself annoyed at the actions of the father. Worst YA father of 2016, calling it already. Her new stepmom is surprisingly not evil, but a kind lady who wants Sophie and her brother to feel like family in her home. Life would seem great, but Sophie has an evil stepsister that makes Sophie’s summer vacation nearly impossible to enjoy. Sophie doesn’t have a backbone. She endures all the malice coming from her sister. Sophie doesn’t have anyone to defend her expect her older brother. I like how much the book focused on Sophie’s relationship with her brother. At first, they were the typical siblings that didn’t get along, but as they moved to Paris for the summer, they had to team up in order to survive. He is a good older brother towards Sophie; he cares for her and stands up for her against Camille. He may be a bit overprotective when it comes to guys.

As for Camille, I actually liked her. She was bitter to no end, and was the only “villain” in this book. She was a walking cliché. She is extremely good looking and a “boyfriend” stealer. She is manipulative and makes Sophie feel like a constant outcast. She controls her group of friends to go against Sophie and her brother. Camille was very petty throughout the whole book. She doesn’t get any character growth till the very end of the book.

Moving on to the romance, I wasn’t a huge fan of it. Alright, so it is very instalove. Sophie is a crybaby, and she becomes very emotional especially when Camille is involved. She meets the mysterious stranger and instantly feels a connection towards him. The love interest randomly shows up whenever Sophie cries, but he does have a crucial role in this story. Mathieu is Camille’s ex-boyfriend, and he is instantly drawn to Sophie. He keeps mostly to himself, and tries to avoid the wrath of Camille. He is sweet to Sophie, but Sophie takes his kindness the opposite way. She thinks that Mathieu will hurt her in return. As the story progressed, there were some cute interactions between Sophie and Mathieu, but there was a lot of drama between them. Honestly, I would have been happier if Sophie was single.

Lastly, I thought the world building was beautiful. It felt like I was experiencing Paris. I liked that the author was very descriptive. I would actually like this book to be made into a movie only to see Sophie’s musical abilities. Other than that, Sophie was the most likable character.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

 

Orange by Ichigo Takano: Manga Review

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆Synopsis: One day, Takamiya Naho receives a letter written to herself from ten years in the future. As Naho reads on, the letter recites the exact events of the day, including the transfer of a new student into her class named Naruse Kakeru.

The Naho from ten years later repeatedly states that she has many regrets, and she wants to fix these by making sure the Naho from the past can make the right decisions—especially regarding Kakeru. What’s more shocking is that she discovers that ten years later, Kakeru will no longer be with them. Future Naho asks her to watch over him closely.

Commentary: I highly recommend this manga! It was so good and really short. It’s only 22 chapters and sadly, the mangaka said she is quit her job. Before the release of the last chapter, I was worried that Orange was going to be discontinued, but it wasn’t! Thank the heavens! This story was amazing. I really enjoyed it. I was rooting for Naho to change the future. I really thought it was cute when all her friends team up to save Kakeru from committing suicide. I was on the edge of my seat near the last chapters because it felt that Kakeru was going to go through with it. I am completely satisfied with the ending. I really liked Suwa because he was always there for Naho. It broke my heart how he had to put his feelings aside and let her be with Kakeru. He was very mature about the situation. I liked both of the male protagonists, it was hard to find them unlikeable. On the other hand, you just want to hug Kakeru and tell him everything is going to be all right. I also liked the idea of parallel universe in this manga. In the original universe, Naho and her friends weren’t able to save Kakeru. By sending letters to the past, the group of friends were able to change Kakeru’s fate in an alternate universe. I was seriously happy that they were able to save Kakeru. Lastly, I am excited for the live action of this movie. I highly recommend this manga!! It’s so good!! The ending had me in tears!! ❣╰(⸝⸝⸝´꒳`⸝⸝⸝)╯❣

P.S. I love the animation!! ʚ♡⃛ɞ(ू•ᴗ•ू❁)

orange-orange-takano-ichigo-34763347-500-442

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: Book Review

“You don’t, Kestrel, even though the god of lies loves you.”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love… 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Commentary: Oh my gosh! This book was so good! There is so much I want to discuss! First of all, this book is very political and complex. The book starts off several years after the Herran War. The Valorians were the winners of the war and forced the Herrani into slavery.

Kestrel Trajan, what a character. She isn’t your typical fighter, she’s a strategist. She is cunning, smart, manipulative, and caring. She is the General’s daughter and is constantly pressured into joining the military for her skills. Her father sees how much good she can bring to the empire if she joins. One of my favorite scenes, had to be when Kestrel won her duel against Irex when she blackmailed him, even though he was far more superior when it came to fighting. Kestrel doesn’t want to be in the military, she wants her own independence. She is far more compassionate towards the slaves compared to any other Valorians.

Arin, is a slave and spy. He is just as intelligent as Kestrel. He works under Cheat, the leader of the Herran Revolution. He and Kestrel have a complicated relationship. They think they know what is best for each other. It did feel that both of them kept playing a game to get the upper hand in their relationship. What I really appreciate about this story is that both protagonists don’t instantly fall in love with each other. Their love slowly grows and I love the theme of forbidden love so much. I loved how much he tried protecting Kestrel. He protected her from taking the poison, he protected her from Cheat’s advances, and he protected her from becoming a slave. Secondly, I loved the two alternating pov. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ )۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

Praise the Lord! No love triangles! Sorry Ronan! Kestrel and Arin are perfect for each other. Ronan tries really hard to gain her affections, but she always ignores him and falls for Arin instead.  ੧| ‾́︶ ‾́ |੭

I did not like Cheat at all. He was corrupt and creepy. I, for one, am glad that he is dead.  Man, he was definitely my least like character next to Irex.

Kestrel and Arin have conflicting ideals, and they have to overcome their issues. Arin wants his people to become a nation, while Kestrel doesn’t want any more deaths for both sides. While reading, I felt sad for the people who suffered on both sides. I was rooting for the rebels to take back their lands. I was not that ending of the book! It was so good!!! I was shocked that the she was forced into a loveless marriage, just so the Arin and his people would have their independence, but at a price. I am really excited to see what’s in store for the second book cause I am hooked!! ╰(◉ᾥ◉)╯

Quotes: 

“Arin smiled. It was a true smile, which let her know that all the others he had given her were not.”

“The truth can deceive as well as a lie.”

“My soul is yours”, he said. “You know that it is.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Book Review

I love you,’ he whispered, and kissed my brow. ‘Thorns and all.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Commentary: I really felt the book was a bit overrated, it wasn’t necessarily bad nor my favorite. I kept seeing so much love for this book. I really tried to love it, but I felt it was okay.

It’s a fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Tamlin was the hot fairy who can turn into a wolf That was my problem with the book. Sure Tamlin was cursed, but he was handsome, and not a beast. (一。一;;)

The book was a bit boring during the first half. It felt more like a Cinderella story because Feyre had to do everything for her family and her sisters were very ungrateful, especially Nesta. I really felt sorry for the protagonist because without her, her family would have died. I just hated how her family didn’t appreciate Feyre risking her life in the woods. Anyways, she kills a wolf who happens to be a faerie and is forced to live with the fae due to the Treaty between faeries and humans. The action scenes were amazing.

The first half of the book, I did not like and then, when I got to the second half, that’s when everything became exciting. There was a reason why the Spring Court had masks on their face. There was a reason why Tamlin tried so hard to make Feyre fall in love with him. Feyre risked her life to save Tamlin and the Spring Court by going through three difficult trials and the ending didn’t end in a cliffhanger. It ended on a happier note.

I really hated Amarantha. What a villain. She seemed unstoppable too, and made life worse for Tamlin and Feyre. I loved that Feyre was ready to fight and prove her love was real. I really liked Tamlin and Lucien, they were great characters. I really like Tamlin and Feyre together, they had chemistry. Overall, those two are perfect together. There were some steamy scenes as well that made me blush. Tamlin did all he could to keep Feyre safe. I was satisfied with them, but I also feel that Rhysand and Feyre have chemistry as well. I didn’t like Rhysand at first, near the end I loved him. He’s sassy and manipulative, and overall awesome. I felt he was more of the beast than Tamlin. I can’t wait to see what happens in the second book. Although, I would have preferred it being a stand alone, there is still much more the author can write about. Lastly, I wonder what kind of power Feyre now has since she is a faerie. (˃̴̀ᄇॢ˂̴́ ∗)

Would I recommend this book? It’s hard to say. It was only entertaining near the ending. Would you continue reading the series? Yes.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️(3.5) ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Hello, I Love You by Katie M Stout: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

Commentary: When I first about this book, I immediately put in on my to be read list. I really love KPOP and I thought it was going to be super interesting!! Now, I had mixed feelings about the book before I got it. It could have been great or a train wreck. Well, this book was a bit of a train wreck for me. Grace Wilde, the main protagonist, was so annoying!! She made Americans look bad! She was quite nosy, she wanted to know everything personal about the secondary characters, it’s like she has never heard of privacy…and insensitive about Korean culture. First of all, she didn’t really want to go to South Korea. She chose the first school according to Google results. If she really wanted to get away from her family, she should have chosen a place where she wanted to go to…that’s one of my main problems with this book. She could have at least been a bit more enthusiastic about her stay there, but no. Also, I thought Jason Bae was going to be in a Korean pop group, but that wasn’t the case. He was in a band, and Grace was so suprised that Koreans play instruments like Westerners. Secondly, I don’t think this book is for any KPOP fan at all. There weren’t really any references to KPOP…The book mainly focused on the developing love-hate relationship between Jason and Grace. I was very disappointed because this book was really hyped up. I felt sorry for Jason since there was a lot of miscommunication between he and Grace. Grace was mostly angry and quite annoying, I don’t know how he and his band member fell for her.  She constantly got angry at Jason…and overreacted to so many situations…I don’t know how I even finished the book. I also felt that the second guy was a bit pointless. I feel that the author tried to create drama between the characters, but I believe that it didn’t work since Grace was too distracted by Jason and how hot he was. The secondary characters were fun. I really like Sophie, Jason’s twin. She was really nice and helpful to Grace. I would have loved if Grace’s sister, Jane, were the protagonist! It would have made this book a little more readable. In addition, the synopsis says that Grace wanted to get away from the music industry, but that’s a lie. She was willing to help out Jason out with his song. Whoever wrote the synopsis should rewrite because it fooled me! The book title is based off The Door’s song, Hello I Love You. Lastly, I really couldn’t stand Grace. She was snobby and wasn’t really willing to learn in her new environment. Was the book worth the price? No, I found it to be a tad expensive for a meh book. Would I recommend it for my fellow KPOP fans? Absolutely not. I would rather read KPOP fanfictions on Wattpad.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (1.5)

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See: Book Review

“As she spoke, I wanted to cry, because sometimes it’s just so damn hard to be a mother. We have to wait and wait and wait for our children to open their hearts to us. And if that doesn’t work, we have to bide our time and look for the moment of weakness when we can sneak back into their lives and they will see us and remember us for the people who love them unconditionally.”

Lisa See is one of my favorite author’s and every time I see she has a new book published, I have to buy it. I know that Dreams of Joy came out a while ago, but I finally managed to read it. I read Shanghai Girls and I was left with wanting more because of the tragic ending. I am glad to have read the sequel and it did not disappoint. The novel is told in two perspectives Pearl (protagonist of Shanghai Girls) and Joy, her daughter. May I say, that I enjoyed this novel so much. Let’s get on with the review!

Characters: I found Joy to be very annoying in the beginning of the novel, she was a young adult who was ignorant of what was really happening in China during Mao’s rule. It felt as if she were brainwashed into believing that communism was for the greater good. She was very immature and stubborn with her mother and her biological father in the novel, but she redeems herself when she becomes a wife. Joy’s struggles as an outsider in a small village was so heartbreaking. She tried her best to fit in with the villagers, but she was more American than Chinese. She believed that she had friends in Green Dragon Village, but villagers couldn’t be trusted. I love how she realizes that communism was not as great as she imagined it to be. She suffered many cruelties from her husband and his family, but continues to be brave and face any danger in order to survive. I loved how much she changes in the novel. Pearl, I loved her in Shanghai Girls, and she changed as well. I was heartbroken that she lost Sam (he died in the previous book) and Joy in China. Pearl stays strong and never loses hope of bringing Joy back to America. I was glad that she and her sister May reconciled for the better at the end of the novel. The character that I hated had to be Tao. I liked Joy’s relationship with him at the beginning of the novel, but I have to agree that they were rushing their relationship. I thought Joy was going to be happy, but she ends up miserable. Tao is ambitious and does whatever it takes to make himself important. I don’t believe that he loved Joy, but was using her because of her connections with her father, Z.G. (he’s an important artist with many connections in the government). Lastly, I was glad to see that Z.G. had a bigger role in this novel than the first novel. I loved him more in Dreams of Joy than I did in Shanghai Girls. He does what he must to survive in communist China.

Plot: Joy suffers from an identity crisis after realizing that her relatives have been lying to her for nineteen years. Joy is shocked beyond belief after finding out that Pearl is not really her mother. Influenced by the social group she joined at her university, she views communism as the best form of government. Though she has high expectations of communism, she slowly discovers that communism is not what she expected the more she stays in China. Pearl, her adoptive mother, does whatever she must to retrieve her daughter. As I’ve mentioned the story is told in alternating perspectives.

Sad Moments: There are many sad moments in this novel. Vern dies and May finally realizes how her sister Pearl feels about being a widow. Reunion with Cook in Shanghai. I did cry when Joy was declined a divorce and her close friend Kumei betrays her. I don’t want to spoil it too much but seriously, this novel has many sad events.

Awww Moments: My favorite one has to be Joy naming her daughter Samantha after her father Sam. It really made me happy. The second one would have to be Pearl finding love in Shanghai and letting go of her feelings for Z.G.

This novel did inspire me to learn more about Mao’s regime in China. Lisa See wrote about the Great Leap Forward and how destructive that plan was for the nation. I can’t wait to start her newest novel China Dolls. Would I recommend this book? Heck yes! I feel that Lisa See takes her time to research what she wants to write about. This is a great book and so is Shanghai Girls. My rating is a 4 out of 5. 😀

Jackaby by William Ritter: Book Review

“I have a gift that is, as far as I have found, unique to me. It allows me to see truth where others see illusion – and there are many illusions, so many masks and facades. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”  – Jackaby

I won an advanced reader’s copy of the novel through a goodreads giveaway. For anyone interested in buying the book, it goes on sale September 16, 2014. Winning a free book did not influence my opinions. The Cover: Did anyone feel the cover? It’s so soft and it feels very different from your typical paperback. I loved the cover of the novel, it was quite beautiful. I loved the  details of the cover such as the woman in red. It is one of my favorite covers of 2014. The Plot: Abigail Rook is not your typical Victorian socialite, she seeks adventure and travel,  and would rather get her hands dirty be seeking a husband to maintain her. She arrives to New England after having a disappointing experience excavating dinosaurs.  Abigail seeks a employment right away because she is in need of money and meets Jackaby, her future employer who is a detective. The people of New Fiddleham view Mr. R.F. Jackaby as a maniac since he deals with the supernatural. Naturally, he is talented in his work, he is compassionate and kind to supernatural creatures. The duo works together in order to solve the mysterious murders in New Fiddleham with some help from the police force. The Characters: Abigail definitely proved that she was not your stereotypical girl, she worked hard for her job. Jackaby, I had no complaints about his character. For some reason, I kept imagining Matt Smith as Jackaby because he reminded me of the eleventh doctor. At the same time, Jackaby really reminded me of Sherlock since he sees what others can’t see.  Then there is Charlie Cane, who I thought was adorable, I thought he was human until the middle of the book. The side characters were great, I would have loved it if Jenny the ghost had a bigger backstory, the same going for Douglas the duck. The Villian: I knew it! I loved how he was a creature rather than a person! The Romance: Thank the heavens that there was no love triangle in this novel. It would have ruined the novel for me that is. I didn’t not like how some of the characters in the novel tried to ship Jackaby and Abigail, I did roll my eyes during those parts. Jackaby and Abigail make an awesome team, I loved their friendship. The only two characters that developed some feelings for each other were Abigail and Charlie Cane. I did want to them together, but it’s okay that they did not become a couple. I would like to see the author wrote more stories about Jackaby. The novel is relatively easy to read and it is only 299 pages long. I would recommend this novel for anyone wanting to read a short mystery book with a hint of fantasy. For a standalone novel, I thought it was really good and I would really love more of Jackaby’s adventures. My rating is a 4 out of 5 😀