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Meeting Jenny Han

The other night, I was delighted to have had the chance to meet an author I greatly admire. She’s someone who creates characters that are real and relatable. Poignant and visceral. It’s not just because she’s Asian like I am that she gets me better. Fans from all over flocked to see her, and her ethnicity hadn’t a thing to do with it. 

This amazing lady? Well, this was Jenny Han. 


I haven’t gone to many author signings in my life, but even still, this was a great night. From hearing where her initial inspirations grew for her latest series to feeling the passion she evokes when standing up for young readers whom she hopes can relate to the cast of characters that were born of her imagination, I don’t think anyone left that room without feeling even remotely satisfied with how we spent the hours waiting up for her arrival. 

I don’t know how many of you know her stories yet, but I encourage you to check out the series she most recently finished. Even when the characters make me ecstatic with joy or trembling with frustration, it’s all the mark of a good writer. 

To be honest? This blog wouldn’t be here without her. To All the boys I’ve Loved Before was my very first reviewed book and it propelled me to leave my comfort zone to embark on something I’ve always loved to do: to read and to share good stories. Her book was the final push that shoved me in this direction and I’m more than grateful for where I’m at right now ’cause of it. 

So please, check out Lara Jean’s story. I promise you. You won’t regret it. Her conclusion to the series, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, just came out May 2, 2017 ❤


I know this won’t be the last I’ll see of Jenny Han. She’s pretty much on my auto-buy list (which is only a select few authors these days). I hope there’ll be another chance to see her again as her story in becoming an author and what she stands for encourages me to also shoot for my dreams and push myself to become someone whom the world hasn’t necessarily seen much of before. 

Thank you, Jenny Han. This blog post is for you. 

May 2017 Book Haul

So this is my very first book haul that I’m actually sharing on this blog. Honestly, these days I barely go out to buy books, but nothing beats retail (book) therapy to get this girl’s heart beating again with joy. Seriously. The excitement level is like a child inside a candy store (if you’re into that kinda thing – otherwise picture a child running free at some amusement park). And so the great sales I got on these books over the weekend just had to be worth sharing here. Granted, I haven’t read most of these books yet, so your opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Here goes.

  • Defy by Sara B. Larson

Indefy -sara b larson hindsight, I really enjoyed this book more than my initial review and rating might’ve let on, so a paperback version of this novel was worth the money in my opinion (although even paperbacks are unfairly expensive these days too…does anyone remember a time when you can buy a paperback for less than $10? This girl does!! Where can I find a way to save money even on these books??)

Defy, in case you haven’t read it yet, had a storyline centred on a girl pretending she had to be a guy. I got a very She’s the Man kinda vibe going on when I read it – if it wasn’t a comedy, that is. Basically, a girl who fights as the prince’s guard gets sucked into some nefarious plan to overthrow the kingdom while trying to keep her identity a secret from both the prince and her closest friend. That’s right. You sniffed a love triangle out! But I promise you, it didn’t suck as much as I thought it would. So maybe it’s totally worth a read for any one of you who loves a lighthearted fantasy from a debut author.

 

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Does this even warrant much of an explanation? I came across this series, which as I always and forever lara jean -jenny hanunderstood it at the time was supposed to be a standalone novel that you know, STOPPED, at To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (totally not complaining…). But I don’t totally regret the fact that it continued on…much. Though I was very much excited to see how my favourite ship was going on there. Crossing my fingers! Anyway, if you want a contemporary that’s both fun and deliciously sweet, with a beautiful mix of diversity thrown into it with Lara Jean’s half-Korean ancestry, Jenny Han does a beautiful job with this series (so far).

Honestly, I went into the bookstore for the sole reason of hoping to purchase this book. It better be good. hope I’m not gonna eat my words. At least it was on sale (this is me trying to console myself).

 

  • Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

landry park -bethany hagenThis dystopian has been on my distant radar for a long while now. I kept telling myself to get it at some point, but with it being a hardcover for only $6 and in decent condition, I found myself asking, Why not, huh? The kind of tropes that the synopsis gives me (a girl living in the more privileged society finds out more about the unfortunate group in her world who survives off of what’s left for them – oh no, what’s she gonna do about it?) brings to mind so many different stories that’ve popped up in recent years. I don’t believe the series (I didn’t even know it was more than a standalone novel earlier) really got too much attention but I’m excited to see if it’s as good as similar plots. And hopefully won’t regret my $6.

 

  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Yep, this book is on a lot of my lists. Including my list of the-unexpected-everything-morgan-matsonI-wish-I-read-this-in-2016. Yet I found myself always hesitant in reading this one. I adored Since You’ve Been Gone, and maybe I’m just nervous that nothing else by Matson would ever compare to the adventure whirlwind that was for me.

I’m actually not 100% sure what this book is about beyond what the cover (and the very vague synopsis description) portrays. Sounds like a great summer read about a girl who has her life turned around due to some scandal and now walks dogs (which sounds pretty awesome to me…compared to sitting in a cubicle all day long for work). But hey, no matter how it turns out for me, opinion-wise, I’m pretty sure getting this hardcover for $6 was unheard of, and in fairly amazing condition too! A total score on this book haul amidst all the usual less popular books that the bookstore wanted to get rid of (’cause honestly, why else would they be willing to sell them for so much less? You can probably tell I’m pretty jaded when it comes to businesses)

 

  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

lair of dreams -libba brayQuick admission. I honestly bought this one for the value as I’m pretty sure I never picked up its 1st book (yes, I bought book 2 without reading book 1, so sue me) ’cause it seemed a little scary. Didn’t help that most reviewers I read said it’s best not to read at night – which you know, is my favourite time of day (or night) to be picking up a book. Gonna be problematic. But anyway, I’m a total sucker for beautiful world building, particularly those set in a certain historical time period. With supernatural happenings mixed in to create a historical fantasy, it got me comparing more recently to Alison Goodman’s The Dark Days Club series that I raved and raved about. So maybe I will summon up the courage to read this and book 1…but first, let’s just admire the VALUE I got this book at. Trust me, you never see such a good sale for a book I actually know of and would read.

 

  • The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine

Last but not least, another contemporary also the secrets of attraction -robin constantineworth a beautiful price. Such a steal. I first got exposed to Robin Constantine last year when I *almost* got to review her arc for The Season of You & Me. Unfortunately, due to some weird technical error on my Kindle, it the eARC never got sent to my device (no matter how many times I pressed the darn button to send to it). So I’ve been curious about her work ever since then. This one sounds like a typical boy-meets-girl-omgwhat’sgonnahappennext? kinda story, which I find myself more inclined to read in the warm depths of summer (when I’m wishing I wasn’t at work and could just be relaxing like these kids are doing).

 

Here’s a quick snapshot of my little haul. Honestly, I’m quite happy staring at this. A little poorer (oh well), but these days a hardcover can cost $25 so who am I to complain anyway? Gotta support those authors. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books before and what you think/thought of them! I’d love to hear your opinions before diving into them over the course of the next few weeks (please tell me they’re good I’d settle for decent quality)

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P.S. you can look forward to seeing reviews up in the next few days on Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game and its almost-released sequel The Crown’s Fate as it hits stores next week.

Best of 2016

As the year draws nearer to an end, I wish to reflect back on some of the marvellous reads that were on my list this year. I try to mostly read new books when they come out, so this list includes fairly new titles that did indeed publish in 2016, but it is important to note that I read a variety of novels published from all years.

The top 5 books on my reading list:

5) By Your Side by Kasie West

by-your-side-kasie-westA standalone story about a girl with anxiety facing a weekend alone trapped in a library with the notorious bad boy, this contemporary novel is a wonderful read using the same formula that Kasie West dominates with in her stories! A little predictable but heartfelt through and through, I connected so well with the main character (which is more rare in contemporary fiction for me) and the delivery of the story was the perfect blend of seriousness, wit and humor. This is one book you should add onto your 2017 reading list when it comes out early in January 2017.

4) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

truthwitch -susan dennard A new fantasy world built around all types of witches and 4 reluctant heroes, this was a story I was initially reluctant to love as well. But with the carefully crafted backstory of each of these protagonists and the exciting new world Susan Dennard created, I fell more and more in love with everything happening in this novel. Book 1 to the start of a 4 part series, this was definitely a must-read on many people’s 2016 list. Look out for its sequel, Windwitch, hitting stores in January 2017.

 

3) This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

this savage song -victoria schwab For a story about monsters and one without a romantic component, this seemed so far from the type of story that I would adore. But lo and behold, the monster with a bleeding heart for humans and the girl who wished she could be as cruel as a monster won over my heart. This is a story about darkness and light, about cruelty and love. It had such a great and deep message, that you make your own destiny and you can be more than who you were born to be. Its sequel, Our Dark Duet, comes out June 2017!

 

2) The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

the dark days club -alison goodman A historical fantasy that balances each component very well, this is the kind of dark story I was morbidly curious about upon reading its synopsis. Filled with action and hints of romance, and a protagonist who can WHIP ass, this novel has been on my recommendation list throughout the year (and it’s well worth that!). Once you enter this Regency era world that Alison Goodman’s made and you’ll never want to step out of it! Find the next novel in this series, The Dark Days Pact, also comes out late January 2017.

 

1) Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

gemina-amie-kaufman-jay-kristoff Not known to be a huge lover of sci-fi, this combined genius piece of art between 3 authors has absolutely blown my mind (and many other bloggers’ minds too, mind you). So it’s not a huge surprise that Gemina tops my Best list of 2016. From crazy twists of the plot and beautiful designs of spaceships and journal entries, this book has something for everyone and you’d have to look very hard to find someone who doesn’t love this. Who said a sequel can’t be as loved as the original? Look out for its 3rd book in Fall 2017.

 

It was very hard to choose just a couple of books that amazed me this year. So take this into account that these books must’ve made a huge impression on me, even if I had read them months in advance.

Okay, so my last list deals with the books on my to-read list that I had hoped to get to this year (but sadly could not). Maybe they’re great, maybe they’re not, but here are the hopeful ones I may read in the new year.


The top 5 books I WISH I had read:

5) The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

the-crowns-game-evelyn-skyeVika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

4) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

the-unexpected-everything-morgan-matsonAndie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

 

 

3) Remembrance by Meg Cabot

remembrance -meg cabotYou can take the boy out of the darkness.
But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

2) The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

the-museum-of-heartbreak-meg-leder

In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

1) Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerhill

ever-the-hunted-erin-summerhill

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.


I hope through the ups and downs of this year (and there were many downs in 2016) that the stories you lived through and your own personal ones combined to make some lovely memories that you can always look back to as you think of 2016.

Have a very happy New Year! Here’s to hoping that 2017 will only be better!