Saturday, September 20, 2014

From the shelf: Paradise

Title: Paradise
Author: Judith McNaught
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date read: September 9-12, 2014
Dawn Rates:  (3.5/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads)

#1 New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught brings us her most wonderful, deeply emotional novel yet...a spellbinding story of youthful passion, family loyalties, and the fateful events that lead two special lovers to the miracle of a second chance.

Meredith Bancroft, a serenley beautiful blonde, and Matthew Farrell, an intense, magnetic tycoon, are both haunted by their once-in-a-lifetime love...betrayed in a conflict of heartache and pain. When the Bancroft family empire is threatened by a hostile takeover attempt, Meredith is forced to turn to Matt. As tensions build between them, leaving them both uncertain, restless...and falling in love again...

Filled with the passion, tenderness, and deep understanding of love that are Judith McNaught's unique trademark, PARADISE is her most memorable love story yet...a novel to treasure forever.

My Review: (also in goodreads)

I couldn't decide if I would give this book a 3.5 or 4. This was just recommended in an online forum. For me, it's like having 2 parts of a book: the boring introduction vs. the fast paced story. My first reaction was: this is unbelievable, almost 700 pages of what? Then after that initial shock, I could honestly say that it was like watching a long telenovela in a summer afternoon. That was how the story went. It centers around the timid, naive rich girl Meredith Bancroft; her manipulative, bitter father; her road to her first love with Matthew Farrell and all those time a telenovela. At first I was ultimately bored with all those introductions but going through the middle at the time skip the novel kinda grew on me. 

Till the next read...

From the shelf: The Girl You Left Behind

Title: The Girl You Left Behind
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Chick-Lit
Date read: September 5-9, 2014
Dawn Rates:  (4/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads)

France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre must keep her family safe whilst her adored husband Edouard fights at the front. When she is ordered to serve the German officers who descend on her hotel each evening, her home becomes riven by fierce tensions. And from the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born, which will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision.

Almost a century later, and Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before he died. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and its troubled history. A history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down all over again . . .

In 'The Girl You Left Behind' two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for what they love most - whatever the cost.

My Review: (also in goodreads)

Other books: Me Before You

The reason I tried to read this book is because of the love I felt in reading her other novel, "Me Before You". I didn't try to read reviews of this book so that I would be in constant surprise and there were some scenes that made me feel exactly that. The story takes place in two time dimensions, a hundred years apart, bound by a painting threaded by different circumstances: 1916, a place where ware ensues in a little town in France and 2006, a time where a widow is struggling to make ends meet after the sudden loss of her husband. Just as I was curious on what happened to Sophie, time suddenly skips to Liv. The ending was really interesting and as the story unfolds on what really happened to the owner of the painting, Liv finally lets go of everything that binds her to the past and finally gives Sophie the justice she deserves.

Till the next read...

From the shelf: Fangirl

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Type of book: Paperback
Date read: September 3-5, 2014

Summary (cr: goodreads)
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
My Review: (also in goodreads)

Other books: Eleanor and Park

The reason why I gave this an easy 5 stars is the fact that I can relate to Cath. A lot. A person who could live off at home in front of her laptop writing fanfiction. And the immense happiness she felt when one person would even dare to dedicate his time to read it. Like any other books, readers are demanding but equally very passionate about the story that one may feel pressured in writing the next chapter. But unlike books, fanfiction could only borrow the characters and plot. This is a book of finding oneself. Although at first I was irritated at what Wren when she left her sister alone when she was dependent on her, I could sympathize at her need to create something out of her relationship with her sister. But when she came back to what they had, she now knows that she should work to fit into Cath's world something she worked hard for with Levi and Raegan. So maybe being apart was the best decision after all. I was having goosebumps on the part where both Cath and Wren cried clutching the last book of their well-loved series. That is what I feel whenever a new book from a well-loved author comes out. So those fellow book nerds who got to the point in writing fanfiction read this, I would definitely say that Rainbow Rowell captured the general feeling a fanfic author has: the obsession, the need to finish and get the chapter worthwhile out there...also the slump, especially the slump.

"Fangirl" gets (5/5)

Till the next read...

From the shelf: Before I Go To Sleep

Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Author: SJ Watson
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Date read: September 1-2, 2014
Dawn Rates:  (4.5/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...' 

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. 

Welcome to Christine's life.
My Review: (also in goodreads)

This blew me away. I would've given this book an easy 5 stars but I should be honest that at first I was confused. Scratch that, sort of bored. But like fine wine, the more I turn the page the more I get sucked in. My curiosity got the better of me. It always made me grip my seat. I'm usually sensitive to plots but this particular story was a blur to me. Christine Lucas having amnesia every time she starts her day is one great mystery enough for me. And as she recalls events from the journal, it seems like that like her, I too wants to know more. For those who haven't read this yet I must say that my favorite scene was the climax at the end, especially the road to the climax. I definitely would recommend this to everyone. The best part is, I just found out that there is a movie this October 2014 with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth no less.

Till the next read...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

From the shelf: The Staff of Serapis (Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles Crossover #2)

Title: The Staff of Serapis (Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles Crossover #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Greek/Roman Mythology
Date read: August 29, 2014

Dawn Rates:  (5/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads)

In this adventure, Annabeth encounters more oddities in the subway than usual, including a two-headed monster and a younger blond girl who reminds her a little of herself. This is the story fans have asked for, in which Annabeth Chase teams up with Sadie Kane. The demigod daughter of Athena and the young magician from Brooklyn House take on a larger-than-life foe from the ancient world. Perhaps even more disturbing than the power-hungry god they encounter is the revelation that he is being controlled by someone—someone all too familiar to Sadie. 

My Review: (also in goodreads)

After my heart practically leaped with glee reading The Son of Sobek, Rick surprised fans once again with another crossover. An Annabeth Chase-Sadie Kane epic crossover. This even cemented my dreams of having a trilogy based on a Percy Jackson-Kane Chronicles crossover. This is fanfiction heaven! Annabeth and Sadie has a more friendly relationship compared to Percy and Carter. I want more. Seriously.

Till the next read...

From the Shelf: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

Title: A Game of Thrones
Author: George R. R. Martin
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Adventure
Date read: August 9-22, 2014
Dawn Rates:  (5/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads)

In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes of the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

My Review: (also in goodreads)

I haven't seen a single episode of this well-loved series but I am aware of the craze it started. I told myself not to watch a single episode not until I am up to date with the books, and I think that would be a long way off. This books remind me of those medieval fantasy movies and RPG games. The book may be immensely long but I enjoyed every part of it. There were no chapters, only characters stating their point of view. And just when I was enjoying reading about a character's life, it harshly swifts the view to another character and that was one of the reasons why I love the pacing of this book. I love Daenerys' progression from the timid, scared princess to the worthy khaleesi. So far I hate Sansa, and I abhor Joffrey (even without watching the series) and I came to love Daenerys and Arya, especially Arya. As for the direwolves, Ghost would be number 1. 

Till the next read...

From the shelf: Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1)

Title: Dangerous Creatures
Author: Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance, Witches
Date read: June 14, 2014
Dawn Rates:  (3.5/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads)

A new series returns to the world of Beautiful Creatures. Some loves are cursed...others are dangerous.

Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she's a bad girl. She's Dark. She's a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she's around. Lucky for her, Wesley "Link" Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn't hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthors of Beautiful Creatures, are back and casting another magical spell. Their signature mixture of mystery, suspense, and romance, along with a dash of fun and danger, will pull fans in and leave them begging for more.

My Review: (also in goodreads)

Finally! A spin-off involving my favorite couple. Link and Ridley. This happens after their high school graduation where the whole gang is going to live separate lives. Ethan and Lena off to college, John and Liv to London, Link and Ridley to New York. What I loved is the binding spell of the 6 friends carves as rings. It's like having this sliver of hope that even though this was Link and Ridley's story, it would mean that we haven't seen the last of the other well-loved characters. Ridley always had an issue in expressing and receiving feelings because she's a siren. And the trouble started when Link told her he loved her. There were new characters, an old nemesis who seeks revenge and Lennox Gates. Yep, even I don't know which I would love more, Link or Nox . I would've given this 4 stars but I was a bit confused at the beginning. Plus, it was always mentioned that Ridley is a siren, like rubbing it in every time. This always happens to me whenever I start a series, even though this is a spin-off. The plot was like wine, it just keeps getting better and better. That cliffhanger was frustrating! Now, I would have to wait a whole year to find out.

"Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures #1)" gets (3.5/5) 

Till the next read...
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