Book Review #77: Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan (Advance Reader Copy from Bloomsbury Publishing)

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“When a huge star dies, there is a massive explosion, a supernova, and later, all that’s left is a dark, dense black hole where no light can get in or out. From brilliant lightness to total darkness.”

Title: Stargazing for Beginners
Author: Jenny McLachlan
ISBN: 9781408879757
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Date Published: April 06, 2017
Publishing House: Bloomsbury Publishing
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
Personal Rating: 4/5 

Synopsis [Goodreads]

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mom leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.

And Mom’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat a close rival, Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions…

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sun kissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters; it goes straight to your heart.

My Personal Thoughts

Alright, so I find this book cute, nerdy and totally awesome! I received my copy from Bloomsbury Publishing Australia along with other three newly released young adult contemporary novels. Frankly, young adult contemporary is not my thing, but since different publishing companies are sending me books with this type of genre lately, I am becoming more and more inclined to it. And I actually find myself liking it. I can’t believe that simple stuff and stories like this one can still make me feel giddy and excited. The story is simple, there’s really nothing unusual in all honesty, but I find myself enjoying it as the story progresses! It is highly entertaining because of the female character, Meg Clark is a certified Science geek and a smarty-pants. I even learned a lot from her and took down some notes. She is so obsessed with the galaxy and she was able to make me reminisce some of the stuff that I’ve already forgotten since my elementary days, and God knows how long it has been since. Let’s talk about Meg’s prince charming, Ed King, I like Ed! I love the idea that despite being an athlete and a heartthrob, he also happens to be Meg’s fellow Science geek and it’s just so cute that Meg and Ed are the contenders in class ever since. I know it may sound cliché but things like this still make me swoon so badly. I can relate to Meg’s character because obviously, she is an introvert but not until the Biscuit Club was founded (you have to read it to find out more). Her mother is a selfish and self-centered woman and I just hate the idea that she left Meg and her little sister alone with just the grandfather to look after them, and apparently, their grandfather is already showing signs of irresponsibility and dementia. So, yes, for me Meg’s mother is the antagonist-ish here. But I am so impressed with how the character handled all the chaos that she was put into and how all these stuff made her a better person. Furthermore, the friendships formed here are just too beautiful; you can see the transformation of each character from being mean and selfish to selfless and loyal. I also like the author’s writing style, it was a fast-read and even though that the story is predictable I still manage to enjoy and appreciate it so much. I highly recommend this for young adult readers. I gave it a four out of five rating and I was hoping for a sequel because I can’t get enough of Ed and Meg’s story. Lastly, I want to commend the cover! It is undeniably gorgeous and elegant! It is very enticing because purple and gold are always good together. Hope I was able to help you with my insight and thanks for reading my review, until the next book talk.

~JaNnA

Book Review #76: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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“I’m a little distracted by this English French American Boy Masterpiece.”

 Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
ISBN: 0307968537
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Format: Audiobook
Date Published: October 11, 2011
Publishing House: Books on Tape
Goodreads Rating: 4.08
Personal Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her co-worker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for? [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

The very first time that I’ve read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins was two years ago via digital copy and I wasn’t a book collector yet back then, I was just a plain book reader. I enjoyed this so much; it was cute and highly entertaining. Although the story is shallow, I still find myself immersed within Anna and Etienne’s up and down ride. This week, I decided to re-read this story through an audio book which approximately took me two days to finish while doing some coloring and stuff.

The setting is in a boarding school located in Paris. Who wouldn’t want to read a book that is set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities? When I read the synopsis before, I was already so eager to dive into their world because Paris is one of the places that I’ve been dreaming of going to and it’s even included on my bucket list. So, yes, the setting is definitely very appealing and romantic! It is undeniably perfect for the story line.

Let’s talk about the characters one by one and let me tell you something nice and annoying about them. Etienne St. Clair, he is the American/French boy who swept me off my feet two years ago. He is sweet and handsome. There is nothing to dislike about St. Clair except for the fact that he is afraid to be alone and to make big life decisions. It sucks right? You have all the beauty and everything but some of your principles in life are just off. Next is Anna Oliphant, the innocent girl from America who fell in love with her best friend. Anna is nice, an ideal girl to go out with but I find her pathetic and a certified boyfriend stealer! Sorry for the fans but Anna just annoyed the hell out of me when I read the book for the second time. I liked her so much before but then now I realized that she did things on purpose even though the boy is in a relationship. She did not actually resist his advances, she flirted with him as well. Oh gosh! I just hate girls and women like her. Anyway, they still made the perfect pair! It may be a cliché but the best friend to boyfriend thing is kind of cute but RISKY.

The story line is usual and there’s nothing special, to be honest. There is nothing in the story that I haven’t read from other young adult contemporary books before and it is not a good thing if you’ll ask me. I was expecting for something new and interesting but no, it was disappointing to realize that the story is plain, odd, and just simple. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the story and I am not complaining.

Overall, it is highly recommended for young adult readers because it does not contain sensual scenes and it is full of innocence and pure fun, friendships, and first loves! New adult readers might find it boring though. Four out of five for giving me butterflies in the stomach because St. Clair is swoon-worthy, indeed.

~JaNnA

Movie Review #5: The Sixth Sense (1999)

The_sixth_senseFilm Synopsis

Young Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) is haunted by a dark secret: he is visited by ghosts. Cole is frightened by visitations from those with unresolved problems who appear from the shadows. He is too afraid to tell anyone about his anguish, except child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis). As Dr. Crowe tries to uncover the truth about Cole’s supernatural abilities, the consequences for client and therapist are a jolt that awakens them both to something unexplainable.

Watch the trailer H E R E.

DETAILS [Wikipedia]

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan

Produced by Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel

Screenplay M. Night Shyamalan

Music by James Newton Howard

Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto

Edited by Andrew Mondshein

Production Company: Hollywood Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company

Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures

Release Date: August 6, 1999

Cast

Bruce Willis as Dr. Malcolm Crowe

Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear

Toni Collette as Lynn Sear

Olivia Williams as Anna Crowe

My Personal Thoughts

Okay… Ugh… Should I still post a review if I’ve already watched this movie for several times? YAY! I just can’t get over the fact that I am uncontrollably addicted to psychological thriller stories! This is actually a horror slash suspense themed movie but I am far more interested in the fact that it sort of talked about a child’s psychological and emotional well-being. It is not a secret that I have always been fascinated with the human behaviour but after I’ve watched this movie for the nth time, I realised that I want an in-depth knowledge about paediatric mental health. Yes, I am a mother of two precious and smart kids, and I would really like to pursue a career in Mental Health Nursing which focuses on the mental state of children. The main character, Cole, is a troubled child who was often mistaken as schizophrenic or in layman’s term “freak”. I watched how the mother cried her heart out because she feels sorry for her son, the way her soul ached when other kids were bullying him, and the pain in her eyes while staring at him looking so weird and most of the time frightened. It was excruciating for a mother to watch your child suffer that way. Dr. Malcolm Crowe is an excellent child psychologist who was able to help Cole amidst all obstacles. This is a very brilliant and amazing film and I love how everything played on perfectly. The effects are all fantastic and impressive, there were moments that I screamed because of fear but not to the point that the story ends there. There was more to it than just gripping scenes and scary musical background. The love story between Dr. Crowe and his estranged wife is also something to look forward to and to think about, I was clueless all throughout and even for the 3rd time of watching the film, my pulse still went tachycardic. I know.. I know.. How silly of me to still be surprised and affected but that’s just how astonishing this movie is and nothing compares! It was more than one decade ago but the epicness is just unfathomable! The plot twist? Of course, that was what we all talked about right? Kudos to the writer and to the whole team. The Sixth Sense is the epitome of a classic and jaw-dropping movie of all time! It is highly recommended if you haven’t seen this movie yet. But seriously, if you’re still unaware of the existence of this film, what the hell is wrong with you? LOL.

Watch full movie on N E T F L I X.

~JaNnA

Book Review #75: The Diabolic (The Diabolic, #1) by S.J. Kincaid

20031005_1068750266589697_416498703_n“Some might call us a monstrous pair, and they would be right. Tyrus and I were both scorpions in our way, dangerous creatures crossing most treacherous of rivers together. Together we might sting- but we also would float. Perhaps Scorpions were the only ones who could save each other. Whatever lay ahead, it would always be the two of us above the rest of the universe, and woe to any who dared step in our path.”

Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Pages: 407
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Format: Hardback
Date Published: November 01, 2016
Publishing House: Simon & Schuster
Goodreads Rating: 4.07
Personal Rating: 5/5

SYNOPSIS

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS

WOW! Just WOW! I can’t even start drafting my book review for this! I actually started typing ten minutes after I finished the book! Yes, that’s just how awesome it is! It may sound cliche’ but this story is actually one of my best reads for 2017. I seldom give a five-star rating these past few months because everything seems to be just the same but this one definitely made an exception! I am so impressed and I feel totally refreshed! Honestly, it took me ages to finally be able to finish it because of work, university, etc. I even had a reading slump last week because I just can’t seem to focus on the story. But when the characters finally merged and everything fell into place, OMG!, I was left breathless and in deep awe! It exceeded my expectations and I was surprised! The main character is very different from all the other characters that I have read before. Nemesis is a diabolic who is destined to kill and protect that one person that she was created for. Diabolics are ruthless but loyal creatures. They resemble the features of a normal person but they were trained to kill and be murderous if needed. Nemesis is a badass female protagonist which can sometimes be an antagonist as well. I know, you’re getting way too confused right now but all I can say is that this story is worth a shot, I wasn’t disappointed, it is indeed worthy of your time and effort! The author writes in a very interesting manner, I like how the story went on and evolved. The political thing is not my cup of tea but I was able to enjoy it being incorporated in a science fiction slash dystopian setting. Ugh! I’m running out of words right now and everything is so overwhelming. I can’t get over the fact that I misjudged this book during the first few chapters and I am completely wrong! I did not read any book review prior to commencing this book so it was really a fair shot. I loved each and every chapter, I am fascinated by how the characters were made and polished, I am overjoyed with Nemesis’ development and I am so proud of what she became in the end. It was mentioned that Diabolics does not have any emotions and that they are not created to feel anything for anyone except for their master, but the story really astonished me because who would have thought that a “Madman” like Tyrus Domitrian can change everything? The love story included is just to die for! I’ve been shipping the pair since the moment I’ve read Tyrus’ name and YAY I am so happy with how it ended. Sorry, I can’t help but be a bit spoilery. It is so good and I am so excited for the next book to come out! There are plenty of life and love lessons and it made the story even better. One badass story like this deserves some hype and appreciation. I highly recommend this for readers of all ages who enjoy reading stories about a kickass female character.  This will undeniably blow your mind! Highly entertaining and gripping, INDEED.

~JaNnA

Movie Review #4: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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Film Synopsis

Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.

Watch the trailer H E R E

DETAILS [Wikipedia]

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Produced by Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon, Ron Bozman

Screenplay by Ted Tally

Based on The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Music by Howard Shore

Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto

Edited by Craig McKay

Production Company: Strong Heart/Demme Production

Distributed by Orion Pictures

Release Date: February 14, 1991

CAST

Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling

Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford

Ted Levine as “Buffalo Bill”

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS

Okay, so I personally picked this movie during a random sleepover/pyjama party because of the reviews and high ratings on the internet (I love reading Rotten Tomatoes reviews). Dr. Hannibal Lecter is actually one of my favourite psychopath fictional characters of all time, aside from Norman Bates (of Psycho). I remember watching the TV series a couple of years ago. Moving on, this was aired 1991 so I did not really expect that much. Surprisingly, given the kind of technology that the world of entertainment has during that time, this movie still managed to give me goose bumps and left me in deep awe! I was also able to read one book about Dr. Lecter a few years ago, so I already have an idea as to how the story will evolve. I love and adore Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkin’s acting! It was superb! Hannibal Lecter made me cringe all throughout the story! He portrayed the character in a dignified and perfect way. I am so impressed! Watching this movie made me realise that I really want to pursue a career in Mental Health Nursing, I have always been fascinated with the human brain and people’s behaviour. I love reading and watching psychological thriller books and movies, not because I am MAD, but because it is always amazing and entertaining to know how troubled people behave and what are the reasons behind their personality disorders. This is undeniably a classic movie that deserves all positive feedback and praises from viewers!  The plot twist and turn out of events are all good and gripping! The characters are all perfect and fit for their roles. I can say that the effects are still not that left behind compared to the ones that film producers have today. Given the fact that it was more than two decades ago, this movie still and will always deserve the hype and a standing ovation! I have no plans of watching the sequels because according to my research, they are “no match” compared to this and I want to leave it that way, plus the fact that Jodie Foster did not play the lead role of Clarice Starling in the succeeding films. Overall, I only have one rant, maybe the sensitive topic about homophobia, transphobia, and sexism, other than the above-mentioned stuff, this movie definitely NAILED it. IT WAS JUST TOO AWESOME and I LOVE EVERY PART OF IT.

Watch full movie on N E T F L I X

~JaNnA

Book Review #74: Adulthood is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles #1) by Sarah Andersen

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Title: Adulthood is a Myth
Author: Sarah Andersen
Pages: 109
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comics
Format: Digital Copy
Date Published: March 08, 2016
Publishing House: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
Personal Rating: 5/5
Synopsis

Are you a special snowflake?

Do you enjoy networking to advance your career?

Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared?

Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts
This comic compilation is HIGHLY ENTERTAINING and a real JAW_DROPPER! LOL.Why?
Why? Because it basically sums up all my feelings and beliefs in career, love, and life! All in ONE. Haha! OMG! I can’t believe that a comic strip collection as clever as this one exists and I am so thankful that I decided to pick it up and give it a shot. I am so impressed with the author for coming up with the perfect concept to show the people what are the dos and don’ts of adulthood. It is so awesome! I read it in 30 minutes, it’s so funny and bubbly and very relatable. The drawings are all so simple but I find them cute. The cover is striking as well, at first it will give you an impression that it is solely for kids but surprisingly, it is for grown-ups as well. I highly recommend it to readers of all ages, especially to those people who can mostly relate to the scenarios and facts included (maybe ages 20 and up?).
I gave it a 5-star rating for being realistic and an eye-opener. Kudos! More, please!
~JaNnA💜

Book Review #73: Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet

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Title: Bitter Sweet Love
Author: Michael Faudet
Pages: 208
Genre: Poetry, Erotica
Format: Digital Copy
Date Published: October 25, 2016
Publishing House: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Goodreads Rating: 3.69
Personal Rating: 4/5
​Synopsis
Bitter Sweet Love is the much-anticipated second collection of internationally best-selling poet Michael Faudet, author of “Dirty Pretty Things,” a finalist in the 2015 Goodreads Readers Choice Awards. Michael Faudet’s whimsical and often erotic writing has captured the hearts and minds of literally thousands of readers from around the world. He paints vivid pictures with intricate words and explores the compelling themes of love, loss, relationships, and sex. All beautifully captured in poetry, prose, quotes, and little short stories. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

Michael Faudet’s second book is better than his first (Dirty Pretty Things). He was known for his erotica poems and that’s what makes him unique and sort of impressive in a way. I am not really a huge fan of poems but I do enjoy reading them since high school. I remember having a classmate way back 15-ish years ago who also writes his own poems but in our native language in the Philippines which is Filipino and in our local dialect (Tagalog). He was so good at it and since then I’ve been enjoying poems and haikus as well. I tried to write one before but it was an epic fail, of course. Haha! Moving on, I’ve mentioned earlier that I like this book better because in the first poetry book, it was just full of lust and sensual scenarios which for me is just disgusting and unconventional. I have nothing against his style, it is on point and beautiful, the way he was able to incorporate sex and love together in a piece while still making it classy and deep. Maybe I was just surprised with his first book that’s why I found it porn-ish. This time, I enjoyed it. I finished it in a couple of hours and I even highlighted some of my favourites. He talked about a variety of stuff but I love how he included some female names here which made the book more personal and realistic. It was a fun and enjoyable reading experience and plenty of love and life lessons can be extracted from this compilation. I highly recommend this for mature poetry lovers or even non poetry readers who want to try something out of the ordinary. This is awesome and for me it deserves time and more attention. I am looking forward to read more of Michael Faudet’s creations and I think he has a 3rd book coming out soon. So yeah, I am excited! ^_^

~JaNnA