Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014 - No comments

Stacking the Shelves (7):

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where book bloggers share what we've recently added to our physical and/or virtual shelves! Since it's nearing Christmas and holiday season, I'm hoping that this list can give provide you with some awesome bookish gifts :D!

 Hopeless by Colleen Hoover:
I'd heard sooooooo many good comments about Hopeless that I decided to give it a shot. Wow, just wow. There were a ton of plot twists and jaw dropping moments that I seriously didn't see coming. Also, the romance aspect was very well done, but maybe a little too mushy for my tastes. Don't let the title fool you, because this book isn't depressing, nor is it about being hopeless. 

4 out of 5 stars 

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins:
This was my first Stephanie Perkins novel and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed. At the time of purchase I didn't know that this was book 3 in the Anna and the French Kiss series. However, speaking from experience you don't need to have any prior knowledge to enjoy this book. I went in knowing absolutely nothing and LOVED the book! It honestly made me want to read more books with a French setting.

4.5 out of 5 stars

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin:
The cover of this book is what initially drew my attention. After all, it's shiny, has bold coloring, and has a non symmetrical design, what more could you want? As for the story, I wasn't a fan for the first 50 pages or so, but very shortly after hitting that mark I became obsessed with the story. 

4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014 - , , No comments

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage:

Rating: 5 Stars
Author: Haruki Murakami
Version: Hardback

Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine', and Oumi, ‘blue sea', while the girls' names were Shirane, ‘white root', and Kurono, ‘black field'. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.

Ok, so this book was absolutely amazing and I'm no doubt going to go ahead and call it the best read of 2014. Let's just start with the book design. It's unique, but an awesome unique! The size is a little smaller than your normal sized book, the colors are elegant, and when you remove the dust jacket it's a map!

I'm sure you've heard of Colorless, it was highly, highly discussed by both book bloggers and just about every other type media you can imagine. In Japan alone, it sold over 1 million copies just one month after publication. As for me, I love all things Japan. So, I was super excited about reading this book and I remember putting this book on my TBR list, but it never seemed to get purchased. However, I was fortunate enough to have the book jump out at me when I was browsing my local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I cracked open the book, read the first page, and decided that I HAD TO HAVE IT!

There were so many parts of this story that I could relate to that it was almost like Tsukuru was a personification of myself. In fact, this was the first book that ever made me want to highlight - physically.. with a highlighter - specific passages and quotes. The way Haruki Murakami tells this story is absolutely captivating. It's both elegant and simplistic, but so effortlessly done that you can't help but devour this book. Now, I had never read any of Murakami's previous works, but he quickly became a favorite author of mine and I plan on reading more of his publications very soon. 

As for the plot, I believe the GoodReads summary does a well enough job, so I won't be elaborating any further. However, I just want to make it clear that this book was hyped for a reason. Usually, I tend to avoid books that are overhyped, simply because they typically don't live up to my expectations. Colorless not only lived up to, but surpassed my expectations in every way possible. Needless to say, I wanted to reread it as soon as I turned the last page, but I'm saving it for another day. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'll Give You the Sun

Rating: 5 stars
Author: Jandy Nelson
Version: Hardback


A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell 

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.


I’ll Give You the Sun wasn’t only a contemporary, but almost a mystery novel as well. The reason I say this is because as you progress through the story, you gain more clues as to why Jude and Noah’s relationship fell apart, as well as some shocking truths that escalated that separation. Also, on top of this being an extremely awesome story, Nelson tackles a few modern issues such as sexual identity; coping with death and grief; personal discovery and growth; and of course, love.  

This story was unique in it’s telling, because the chapters are told from not only alternating points of view, but also from different periods in time. For instance, one chapter might be coming from a 12 year old Noah, while the next will be told from a 16 year old Jude. However, the way she blended Jude and Noah’s story together seemed almost effortlessly done, since the story progressed very fluidly. Needless to say, this method of storytelling was very interesting, because to progress further into the book, you had to delve deeper into the past. 

As for the characters, I would probably say that Noah was my favorite. Although, I loved reading Jude’s journey as she rediscovered/reclaimed her former self, Noah and I could relate on so many different levels. As for Noah, he is not your typical child, he’s creative, funny, introverted, passionate, and a bit of an evil genius. Jude on the other hand, is bold, creative, superstitious, emotional, and extremely caring. Another one of my favorite characters was the grandmother, despite most of her appearances being in ghostly form. There’s no way you couldn’t like the grandmother, she had such an influential part in Jude’s life and the “Bible” she was infamously known for, was simply hilarious! The dad on the other hand was pretty terrible. I couldn’t believe some of the comments he made to his sonand I lost all respect for him when he fell apart when his children needed him most. Although, he does get a little redemption towards the end :). 

I highly recommend this book to all my readers. It was one of the most touching and unique stories I’ve read all year. The connection between Jude and Noah, as well as both their journeys of self discovery are truly what make this book memorable. It’s so much more than just a contemporary novel and it will quickly become one of your favorites. Also, you can’t help but smile when you learn where the title comes from because it was so... moving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Girl On a Wire:

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Version: eBook
Author: Gwenda Bond

GoodReads Summary:
A ballerina, twirling on a wire high above the crowd. Horses, prancing like salsa dancers. Trapeze artists, flying like somersaulting falcons. And magic crackling through the air. Welcome to the Cirque American!

Sixteen-year-old Jules Maroni’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as a high-wire walker. When her family is offered a prestigious role in the new Cirque American, it seems that Jules and the Amazing Maronis will finally get the spotlight they deserve. But the presence of the Flying Garcias may derail her plans. For decades, the two rival families have avoided each other as sworn enemies.
Jules ignores the drama and focuses on the wire, skyrocketing to fame as the girl in a red tutu who dances across the wire at death-defying heights. But when she discovers a peacock feather—an infamous object of bad luck—planted on her costume, Jules nearly loses her footing. She has no choice but to seek help from the unlikeliest of people: Remy Garcia, son of the Garcia clan matriarch and the best trapeze artist in the Cirque.
As more mysterious talismans believed to possess unlucky magic appear, Jules and Remy unite to find the culprit. And if they don’t figure out what’s going on soon, Jules may be the first Maroni to do the unthinkable: fall. 

This story is truly a modern day Romeo and Juliet retelling at its finest. This becomes even more apparent when you learn the true names of Remy and Jules later on in the book. Also strikingly similar to Shakespeare's cast of Montagues and Capulets, the Maronis and Garcias both possess a history of hating each other. However, the reason behind this hated remains a mystery for most of the book. Although you're given bits a pieces from different family members, you won't get the full story until it's forced out of the Grandmother, who is completely awesome by the way. The way Gwenda told the story not only kept me interested, but completely hooked me, so that I couldn't put the book down. 

The setting of the story is forever changing, since the Maronis and Garcias are members of a traveling circus. How awesome is that? Honestly, this story is packed with a ton of circus lore and it was SO GREAT! Without going into too much detail, Jules makes a decision to better her family's financial situation, but at a cost of forcing them to cooperate with the Garcia's. Now as if that fact alone wasn't enough, just as in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the attraction between Remy Garcia and Jules Maroni is almost palpable. They fall in love and struggle to keep it a secret. This becomes increasingly more difficult as a mystery killer attempts to throw Jules, who is a tightrope walker, off her balance. What's so unique is that the mystery murder uses "mystical" possessions that date back to when the feud of family originally began. Now, it's left for the reader to decided if these objects are inherently magical or if it's the superstitions that give them strength. As for the mystery killer, can you figure out who it is before the story ends? I couldn't. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - No comments

Stacking the Shelves (6):

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where book bloggers share what we've recently added to our physical and/or virtual shelves! I know. It's been a while and I apologize for my lack of presence. However, I'm back, and I'm here to share what I've collected over the past few weeks!! Don't get too excited though, school's been hectic and I've literally had just about every kind of drama thrown at me that's humanly possible. 


  • None recently, however I highly, highly recommend Girl on a Wire. Not only was it the most recent eBook I read, but it was EXTREMELY good :>!

Physical Books:

1. Dust - Joan Frances Turner: This book was a gift and although I really love the cover design, I'm not looking forward to reading it. The plot doesn't sound too interesting and the GoodReads rating is relatively low. However, I'll surely give it a try sometime the future. 

2. I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson: I was in desperate need of some contemporary fiction, so this was the book I reached for. Not only does it have good reviews, but the plot sounded extremely unique, since the story is told from both twins at different stages of time. I recently finished this book and will have a review up shortly!

3. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage - Haruki Murakami: I've been wanting this book for AGES! So, while I was browsing at Barnes & Noble, I just so happened to see this book and it's like I literally heard it shout my name. Needless to say, I purchased it and IT WAS AMAZING. Yes, I finished this book as well and the review will be posted just as soon as I figure out how to convey how much I loved this book. 

4. Empty - K. M. Walton: Yep, I'm on a contemporary fix. Once again, I was browsing at Barnes & Noble and happened to run across this book. The cover expressed exactly how I've been feeling recently, so there was no chance in hell that I was putting this book back on the shelf. Needless to say, I finished it within 12 hours of the purchase and the review is scheduled to be posted in the near future. 

5. Just One Day - Gale Forman: Unlike the last few books I've mentioned, I haven't finished reading this one. However, from what I've already read, the reviews I saw, and the amount of recommendations I received, I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to spending more time with this story. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Hello everyone :)!

I know it's been a while.. I apologize, but school has been a priority and it will continue to be until around May of 2015. ANYWAYS, as the title of this post says.. IT'S OCTOBER, which is exciting for me for so many reasons! For starters, I love halloween, I love how the weather transitions from summer to fall, I love how the leaves change color, and yeah.. this time of year is amazing.

SOO, to try and get back into reading, I'm going to make a list of some of the books I plan to finish this month. Now of course since it's October, these books are going to be primarily magically themed. Let's begin:

1. The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness 
I read the first two books of the All Souls trilogy last year and I've been wanting to get my hands on the third  for a while. However, I have this thing about not reading books that are over hyped. Now don't get me wrong, Deborah Harkness's books are pretty awesome, but I wanted to wait until all the hype faded away.. maybe I'm weird, but yeah. Anyways, with Halloween approaching, I think it's time I finally time I see how this trilogy ends. I'm super excited :D

2. Girl on a Wire - Gwenda Bond
As far as I know this book doesn't contain magic, per se, but the cover was too appealing for me to not pick this book up. Plus, I think Girl on a Wire reminds me of The Night Circus, which is one of my most FAVORITE books ever, so reading this was a must. So far, I've really enjoyed what I've read and look forward to seeing how it ends :). 

3. Family Magic - Patti Larsen 
Not sure if I will be able to make it this far down the list, but if I do, well then this is the book I will be reading. I know nothing about this book besides what the summary gives me. However, I'm a little scared of books that sound cliche, but since the GoodReads rating isn't too bad, I'll give it a try and let you guys know how it goes. 

Recommendations for Others:
Now maybe you've already finished some of the books above, or perhaps you have no interest in reading them whatsoever. If that's the case, well here's what I recommend you read if you haven't already:

1. A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness 
2. The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern 
3. The Graveyard Book  - Neil Gaiman 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014 - No comments

How We Learn

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Version: Netgalley eBook
Author: Benedict Carey

Netgalley Summary:
In the tradition of The Power of Habit and Thinking, Fast and Slow comes a practical, playful, and endlessly fascinating guide to what we really know about learning and memory today—and how we can apply it to our own lives.

From an early age, it is drilled into our heads: Laziness, distraction, and ignorance are the enemies of success. We’re told that learning is all self-discipline, that we must confine ourselves to designated study areas, turn off the music, and maintain a strict ritual if we want to ace that test, memorize that presentation, or nail that piano recital.

But what if almost everything we were told about learning is wrong?

And what if there was a way to achieve more with less effort?
In How We Learn, award-winning science reporter Benedict Carey sifts through decades of education research and landmark studies to uncover the truth about how our brains absorb and retain information. What he discovers is that, from the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematize the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming. Is a dedicated desk in a quiet room really the best way to study? Can altering your routine improve your memory? Are there times when distraction is good? Is ignorance always bad? Is repetition necessary? Carey’s search for answers to these questions yields cunning strategies that make learning more a part of our everyday lives—and less of a chore.

By road testing many of the counterintuitive techniques described in this book, Carey shows how we can flex the neural muscles that make deep learning possible. Along the way he reveals why teachers should give final exams on the first day of class, why it’s wise to interleave subjects and concepts when learning any new skill, and when it’s smarter to stay up late prepping for that presentation than to rise early for one last cram session. And if this requires some suspension of disbelief, that’s because the research defies everything we’ve been told, throughout our lives, about how best to learn.

The brain is not like a muscle, at least not in any straightforward sense. It is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location and environment. It doesn’t take orders well, to put it mildly. If the brain is a learning machine, Benedict Carey asserts, then it is an eccentric one. In How We Learn, he shows us how to exploit its quirks to our advantage.

To be honest, I've been looking for a book like this for a while. Not too long ago, I started reading “Thinking Fast and Slow”, but it couldn’t hold my attention long enough for me to finish it. I’ll admit, there were spots in this book that were a bit dry, but overall it was packed full of knowledge that was truly interesting. For instance, I really like how the author included a few brain teasers, as well as some truly bizarre brain experiments (splitting the brain, removing the hippocampus, etc…). By the way, I felt absolutely horrible for the poor guy with no hippocampus.  Not sure what a hippocampus is? Read this book :P!

One thing I really liked about this book, was the fact that it affirmed notations I’ve often thought true, but were unable to scientifically backup, as well as supported advice I’ve heard throughout the years. For instance, there really is a science behind taking a break when you’re stumped on a problem, instead of attempting to just power through. Also, who would have known that forgetting is actually helpful? It turns out, that forgetting is the brains way of employing a spam filter, which allows the most important or relevanant information to stay available. Also interesting was the “Forget to Learn” theory, which basically stated that when information is stored, it’s never truly lost, but simply governed by the strength of the storage and retrieval ability that’s linked with that specific memory. Even more interesting, if not partially embarrassing, were the moments that I’ve personally experienced. For example, the false sense of fluency and/or misplaced confidence when prepping for a test, only to realize on test day that you don’t know half as much as you thought you did.

One thing that really stands out about this book, is the simple fact that it was written to be applicable to daily life. Unlike other books I’ve read, which were jammed with scientific terminology and theory, “How We Learn” was written for the everyday reader. This book provides you with tips to help you with studying and recall, which actually go against what we hear today. For instance, take the nap, study with music, and change up your study location/time.
Additionally, I took off .5 of a star, because the majority of the book was about recall, which isn't exactly learning.. plus it took me many start-and-go sessions to finish it. However, it's worth it, start reading :).

I’m certainly glad that I happened to run across this book and will be looking for a hardcopy in the near future. As for all my readers, I highly, highly, suggest purchasing a copy of this book.