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

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Book Review #70: Geekerella by Ashley Poston (Advance Reader Copy from Penguin Random House Australia)

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Title: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Format: Paperback
Date Published: April 04, 2017
Publishing House: Quirk Books
GoodReads Rating: 4.13
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

My Personal Thoughts

The story is very predictable but highly entertaining and young adult friendly! I personally requested for a copy of this book because I was so curious about its hype and rating on Goodreads especially its impact on young readers on the bookstagram community. First, I must admit that it is truly adorable and bubbly, and super CUTE. I have nothing against it because what would someone expect from a modern-day Cinderella story? Obviously, it contains the usual ingredients: a young lady who’s deprived of love and attention from her stepmother and two wicked stepsisters; and who also happens to meet a prince charming in a ball with the aid of her fairy godmother-ish bestfriend slash workmate. PRESTO! And I was right, although, in this book, the antagonistic witches aren’t as gruesome compared to the classic fairytale that all of us have read over the years. The stepmother here in the story was still decent in a way and less bitchy-ish. The stepsisters, on the other hand, surprised me because the other twin sister actually has a heart. The so-called prince charming is Darien, and I like his character. He is famous and rich but despite all of the fame and wealth he still felt lonely and abandoned. There’s a lot of amazing stuff here which is different from the original story. I just don’t like the idea of having a fandom! Like seriously? It’s not my cup of tea, it was added to match the novel and for me, it’s not appealing. It seems like the fandom was just added and viola everything should match perfectly! It’s a major turn off. Aside from the fact that it’s weird, it’s also annoying because the story revolved around this sci-fi fandom that the characters were so fond of, without it, I could have given it a higher rating. But I am not complaining, it’s just that it took me ages to finish reading it (one week to be exact) because I find the Starfield thing boring. The main character, Elle, is a sweet and nerdy girl who likes to self-pity most of the time. I just love how Sage (her instant bff) brought out the inner fighter in her and helped her with all her shenanigans. This story is also LGBT friendly which makes it cool but I find the love story of Darien and Elle too good to be true and an insta-love. I believe that we can’t really fall in love with someone that we haven’t met or even talked to yet. Come on! In addition to this, the cover is just so commendable and to giggle for! It is a combination of pink, purple, and glittery font; and for me, it is a cover-buy-book. Anyway, overall I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is recommended for young readers; it is Young Adult themed but I would also recommend it for much younger readers (even for starters) because of its innocence, simplicity, and life lessons. Kudos to the author for creating such an inspiring light-read and thank you, Penguin Random House, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.

~JaNnA

Book Review #50: The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

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Title: The Rose Society
Author: Marie Lu
Pages: 396
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Ebook
Date of Publication: October 13, 2015
Publishing House: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 4.14
My Personal Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites. (www.goodreads.com)

My Personal Thoughts
I know most readers out there loved and enjoyed this series. Is it just me? Or some of you out there are also hesitant to give this book a perfect rating? I don’t know why or how or what the heck happened to me. I got bored, detached, and I did not enjoy this book. I also did not like the first one. What is wrong with me? The setting is fine, it is brilliant. I like the world building in this series, it is actually one of the things that I’ll give it a perfect score. But the characters, the plot, the story, ugh! Please don’t get mad at me for not being hooked or ecstatic about the existence of this series. Don’t get me wrong, I freaking adored Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy! It is my favorite series (one of my faves of course, lol) and  I loved each and every chapter of this! It was perfect! But for this one? I don’t find Adelina promising. I don’t like her character. She is trying so hard to be a badass chick but sorry it didn’t work out for me! I still see her as some pathetic character. Enzo, on the other hand, is my favourite character in this story. The antagonistic aura of Adelina is just so annoying. The story is slow paced and it took me a couple of weeks to finish it. Maybe it is not for me. I have nothing against those readers who enjoyed it, we all have different preferences and perspectives when it comes to fantasy themed novels. Will I read the 3rd book? Yes. Of course. I still want to give it a try. Maybe the 3rd one will work for me and maybe this time Adelina might surprise me. ~JaNnA

Book Review #48: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson

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Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Pages: 489
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Date of Publication: July 08, 2014
ISBN: 0805099239 (ISBN13: 9780805099232)
Publishing House: Henry Holt & Co.
Goodreads Rating: 4.07
My Personal Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love. (www.goodreads.com)

My Personal Thoughts
Whoa! The reason why I bought this book is because I’ve heard really great and intriguing reviews about it. It was also personally recommended by a bookish friend and I always trust her preferences when it comes to fantasy themed stories. Surprisingly, this book left me breathless and pulseless! Haha! Kidding aside, I adored each and every part of it.
The Kiss of Deception is the first installment of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson. The synopsis may sound cliche’ because the princess is a runaway bride. I know, right! But don’t get me wrong, it is so good and entertaining! I even liked the author’s writing style and the way she narrated the story. I got really confused but in a positive way. I was impressed with the way that she was bale to deceive me! I was mind-fucked when I found out what she did with the characters! I got it all so mixed up. The assassin and the prince, wow! I did not see that one coming. I was thinking of the other way around and I was dumbfounded! Anyway, the setting is great and appropriate with the story as well! I enjoyed how the author built the world in an intricate manner. I was able to imagine everything perfectly. The world building is so astonishing! The characters were perfectly justified. The alternating point of view is my favourite part, it has always been my preferred narration because like what I always say in my reviews, I am able to dig deeper into the characters’ perspectives. Let us not forget the gorgeousness of the cover, awwww! Hardback-worthy. ^_^
I highly recommend this novel and I’m so excited to buy the 2nd and 3rd book. The ending is a cliff-hanger, though. And I just hate it so much! hahahaha! The author probably wants to torture me, ugh. By the way, my succeeding book reviews from now on will all be just brief but meaningful because UNI is taking up too much of my time and energy. But I promise to still be active on Instagram and promote books that are being sent by Hachette, Allen and Unwin, and Bloomsbury. 🙂
~JaNnA~

Book Review #46: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Title: The Sun is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Ebook
Date of Publication: November 01, 2016
ASIN: B01DRXCPW2
Publishing House: Delacorte Press
Goodreads Rating: 4.21
My Personal Rating: 5 out of 5
SYNOPSIS
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
(Credit to http://www.goodreads.com)
MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS
Brilliant and captivating!
Wow! Just, WOW! The author gave me a different perspective when it comes to young adult (YA) contemporary stories! At this point in life, I’m not ashamed to admit that YA books are not my cup of tea, ugh! But, this one definitely made an exception! I enjoyed it a lot. Its simplicity and innocence made it more appealing and entertaining for me. I hate too-good-to-be-true and shallow stories that’s why I rarely read these kind of books (oopppsss.. sorry!). Oh well, I can always adjust and broaden my preferences anyway.
The setting took place in the USA where people in my home-land aspires and dreams of travelling one day. Who doesn’t want to anyway? I personally dream of being able to take a photo at the famous Golden Gate Bridge or at the Statue of Liberty and have a fun-filled day in Disneyland! This is the perfect setting for a one-day-old romance! Oh how i truly adore the simplicity and directness (obviously!) And the scenarios are not unusual. They are undeniably realistic. They tend to occur in our everyday lives and many undocumented people are really residing there. Not by choice, it’s just… it happens.
The characters are funny, cute and very lovable! The Asian-meets-the-Jamaican is so cute! It’s rare for me to enjoy books where the couple came from different heritage and cultural background so I really like the way the author made it multicultural and unbiased. It’s a plus point. Kudos!
Honestly, the twist is not surprising. The ending is actually predictable but the journey towards the ending is worth it. It’s like the saying “It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey!” So, yes! I love how a YA contemporary story brought butterflies in my stomach and taught me a lot of life lessons that I have chosen to neglect before. This book contains a lot of things that will make you realize how good life is; and that plenty of things that are happening around us are mainly brought by Science
Lessons that this book taught me:
1) Fate is real. So damn REAL.
2) Family should always be prioritised.
3) No matter what your cultural background is, there are people out there who will accept you for who you are and what you can offer.
This story deserves my precious 5 stars.
It is highly recommended for all type of readers.
~JaNnA~
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