The Afterlife of Holly Chase

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By Cynthia Hand

Rating: 4 / 5

Synopsis: A retelling of A Christmas Carol, Holly Chase was visited by three ghosts during Christmas to encourage her to alter and lead a more generous life. Thinking this was a huge joke, Holly disregarded the warnings of the ghosts, and ended up dying a tragic death; now, she’s stuck in a company called Project Scrooge to help people just like her. Though initially a dull job, this year’s Scrooge, a 17 year old attractive boy, suddenly makes this job a lot more interesting…and a lot more complicated.

Review: This was another one of those books that I wished I picked up sooner but didn’t, because I thought it would be boring based off of the synopsis. I wasn’t expecting to relate so much to Holly, which is what what drew me most to this book. (I’d barely read 30 pages and had already tabbed a page that I liked). Then again, I do have a history of rooting for the unlikable character (what is this revealing about my psyche).

I guess I saw a lot of myself and my own struggles in Holly, and I sympathized with her troubles. Tbh, Holly’s my girl; even when she was on another one of her problematic bullshit I was still cheering her on from the sidelines. This book is not dreary or heavy, it’s a light, funny read that will leave you smiling for the rest of the day (or if you’re like me, smiling for the next few minutes before you return back into a state of comfortable bitterness). Personally, I think December is the perfect time to read this, as it is a retelling of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Or if you’re a person who gets into a festive mood in the middle of July, read it then too.

There’s a plot twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, and there are little revelations throughout the story that keep pleasantly surprising you, especially because the author does a very good job at making you think one way, but then suddenly dropping the plot twist (or maybe I’m just especially ignorant and can’t see anything coming ha, wouldn’t be the first time; ANYWAY).

I highly recommend checking this book out if you’re looking for a light, festive book!

A slight disclaimer: I read an ARC version of this book.
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A Short History of the Girl Next Door

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By Jared Reck

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Review: *Contains spoilers*

For the record, this book did not go how I envisioned it. At all. And I was very pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did, as I’ve been disliking most contemporaries that I’ve picked up. This book, however, had me laughing one second and then clutching my chest in pain because I felt for the main character.

It is so hard not to like Matt, and though I (thankfully) cannot relate to the tragic experience of the death of a childhood friend/crush, I couldn’t help but hurt alongside Matt. He’s a unique character that I haven’t encountered in YA literature before, and I genuinely love his sense of humor. The author did a fantastic job in fleshing Matt out; by the end of the book, it felt like he was a friend, and one that I didn’t want to say goodbye to.

Thinking about how Matt progresses from crushing on Tabby to genuine love to soul-crushing sadness to recovery makes my heart warm, because you can’t help but be inspired by this young boy fighting to overcome a tragic loss. And I couldn’t help but be surprised that he was able to reign his anger and frustration for as long as he did.

I definitely didn’t see Tabby’s death coming, I thought her whole disappearance was to segue into Matt finding out where she is, then Tabby realizing that Matt was the one who really cared about her, them falling in love, etc. I remember putting the book down and going “No. No. No no no.” when I read about Tabby’s death, and I was hesitant to continue forward because I knew that Matt would be crushed.

Thinking about this book puts such a smile to my face, and I’ve tabbed my favorite parts of the book to revisit another time. I’m really, genuinely happy that I picked this book up.

Clockwork Princess

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By Cassandra Clare

Rating: 5 / 5 (more like 10 / 5 tbh)

Review: *Contains spoilers*

I AM IN SO MUCH PAIN. SO MUCH PAIN. I haven’t cried this much for a book in AGES. There were SO many points in the book where I broke down and had to take a break because I couldn’t READ THROUGH THE TEARS CLOUDING MY VISION.

Where do I even begin? Jem and Will’s friendship was the #1 reason why I was having a hard time breathing. Jem is such a gem of a person, and his friendship with Will was so, so endearing that I genuinely do not have words to encompass how beautiful it was to witness their exchange of words towards each other; their love and admiration for each other brought tears to my eyes every time, and I want to fling myself into a wall every time I think about the fact that they’re separated from each other.

AND WILL’S DEATH, WAS THAT REALLY NECESSARY?? And once again, when beautiful Jem visited Will as he was dying, and played the violin, I cried. Surprise, surprise. I mean I get why Cassie added that in there, since Jem and Tessa eventually start dating, but the idea of Will Herondale not being alive is such a difficult concept to grasp? I guess in the back of my mind I was hoping that Will, too, would somehow attain immortality, and the idea of a man so full of life succumbing to natural death seemed impossible for a while.

There were a lot of things that I didn’t agree with in the book, and couldn’t get my head around why Tessa (and sometimes Will) would do the things that they did, but the #1 thing that left me like “???” was the “fight” scene. That whole thing was so anti-climatic, Mortmain was killed so easily and quickly. Literally all those automatons that he built weren’t even used in the end. But hey, at least no one (important) died, so I’ll take it. I’m pretty sure I myself died briefly when it was (wrongly) suggested that Henry was dead.

But I’m extremely joyful that Jem can finally be with Tessa now, and I hope to see more of them in The Mortal Instruments series. The only thing giving me peace is that I’ll get to read more of Tessa and Will in Cassie’s upcoming series. And, while reading The Infernal Devies, Will and Tessa mentioned some books (A Tale of Two Cities, Vathek, Ivanhoe, etc) that I now plan on reading, simply because they liked those books. 🙂

Anyways, goodbye for now, I have to go lay down on my bed and rethink my entire existence. My life, from henceforth, will be divided as such: before I read Clockwork Princess, and after I read Clockwork Princess.

Favorite Quotes“You endure what is unbearable, and you bear it. That is all.” 

“There are so many worse things than death. Not to be loved or not to be able to love: that is worse.” 

“Do not seek revenge and call it justice.”

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

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By Iain Reading

Synopsis: “After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.” (x)

Review: What immediately stood out to me is that Kitty is a 19 year adventurer, but her interests lay in marine life. I was also pleasantly surprised that a little bit of history was thrown in (as a history nerd myself, this was highly entertaining to read).

Kitty was a very likable character: she is driven and ambitious, while funny and sassy. However, she does act quite young for her age, and there is a certain level of immaturity that caused be brief annoyances, but nothing big enough that I disliked her as a character entirely.

If you love adventure books, and are looking for elementary/middle-grade books, this would be a good one to pick up, as there is a lot of action in this novel. The author did a good job in keeping me hooked until the very end, and I found that I didn’t want to set the book down once I really got into it.

*I was sent a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

November Wrap-Up!

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Happy December! I can’t believe 2017 is almost over, this year went by insanely fast. While I was thoroughly excited that the weather would get colder, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year…? Or maybe it’s just where I live, because the weather is still relatively warm.

But let’s put the talk of the weather aside and get to the fun part: the books I read! November was unexpectedly a hectic month, as it was full of quizzes, tests, and project deadlines, and I wasn’t planning on getting through more than one book, but as always, I surprise myself by finding adequate time to read.

Here’s what I managed to get through last month:

  • Carry on – Rainbow Rowell
    • So so good, I was laughing one second and crying the next
  • Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare
  • City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare
  • Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare
  • Clockwork Princess – Cassandra Clare
    • aka the book that ruined me

I was also into a weird children’s book phase this month (probably because the holiday season gets me all sentimental and nostalgic), so I read two children’s books, both of which were adorable:

  • Santa’s Underwear – Marty Rhodes Figley
  • Pete the Cat Saves Christmas – Eric Litwin

And finally, I attempted my very first Adam Silvera book, More Happy Than Not, which I DNF’d because I couldn’t get invested into the story and felt no connection for the characters. I really tried to push through this book because there have been many good reviews on this, but the more I kept reading, the less I cared about what happened to the characters. 😦

Total: 7

New York Street Style

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By Zoe de Las Cases

Rating: 5 / 5

Review: This is the first adult coloring book I’ve ever used, and I’m not disappointed. The artwork in this coloring book is simple, yet intricate. The designs alternate between floral designs and street wear that is commonly found on the New York Streets. There is plenty of white-space on some of the pages and designs, allowing you to add your own touch.

I colored a page with colored pencils and markers, and the markers didn’t bleed through, which would’ve been a problem since the designs are back-to-back. I also used watercolor paint on a page (which turned out really beautiful), and that also did not bleed through any of the pages, though the page did turn a tab bit crumpled. However, I doubt this coloring book was meant to have paint on it, so I’m very impressed.

The pages are good quality: they are not thin, and feel sturdy, and the book overall is very aesthetically pleasing. There’s a ribbon bookmark (I know!) to mark your page, and there’s also a stretchy strap you can use to close the coloring book.

Zoe de Las Cases also has Tokyo Street Fashion coloring book that I recommend checking out, as it seems a little more quirky!

I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FROM BLOGGING FOR BOOKS FOR THIS REVIEW.

September + October Wrap-Up!

Happy November! I forgot to upload a September wrap-up last month, so I’m going to be sticking that in this post. I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween (I didn’t go trick-or-treating this year, I’m just going to steal my sibling’s candy 😛 ), and that October went well for you!

I wasn’t planning on reading a lot last month since I had two exams, but I ended up reading Cassie Clare’s books in about two days each because they were so good. I had tried to read City of Bones before but I didn’t like it, and I think it was because I was in the middle of Heir of Fire when it picked up CoB. Now that I’m not in the middle of a series, I’m enjoying The Mortal Instruments series a lot more. Here’s the books that I was able to get to these past two months:

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  • Cinderella, Necromancer – F. M. Boughan
  • Empire of Storms – Sarah J. Maas
  • Black Bird of the Gallows – Meg Kassel
  • Because You Love to Hate Me – 13 Authors + 13 Booktubers
    • Very enjoyable. I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll post a review on this or not.
  • Shine – Allison Allen
    • Review to come.

Total: 5

october

 

Total: 10

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