Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Review: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour


Addictive and beautiful, The Disenchantments is one of my favorite contemporaries this year.

The Disenchantments kicks off with two best friends Colby and Bev graduating from high school. Colby is ecstatic because in one week, he will be touring Europe with his best friend Bev. They have planned the tour since the beginning of high school year, and he can hardly wait for them to spend a year together in amazing countries in Europe. Before the much-awaited journey in Europe, the two best friends will spend a one-week last tour with Bev’s girl band, The Disenchantments. But in the first day of their tour, Bev suddenly announces that she can’t go to Europe with Colby because she will go to college. Colby is angry and confused of the sudden announcement, but more than everything he is hurt because Bev has never told him about her plan to go to college. But the show must go on and Colby is their only roadie. With no back-up college plan or any desire to travel alone in foreign countries, Colby must find out during this one-week tour: what would he do next after The Disenchantments’ tour ends?

First of all, I just want to praise Nina LaCour for her wonderful writing! When I was reading it, it was very easy to imagine myself sitting in the backseat of the van along with the members of The Disenchantments. The story in this book is split into eight days, and it was like watching an imaginary movie unfolding before my eyes. The events flow really well and I like to get to know all of these characters. They all bear their own unique characteristics that make them stand out.

Colby is a wonderful protagonist that I really like. He’s an artist with observant eyes and laid-back attitude. He’s the type of guy best friend any girl would love to have. His undying love to Bev is really sweet as well. I love how they have been best friends since childhood. However, Bev is not a character I instantly warmed up with. She is tough, secretive, and confusing, and I didn’t really appreciate her for hurting Colby in purpose. But she has her own reasons for her decisions, and once I get to know her more, I begin to see things that Colby has always seen in Bev.

The rest of the members of the band have stunning qualities as well. Meg is loud, cheerful, and basically the type of girl you would like to hang out with. She’s the type of person whose presence would brighten the whole room. Meg’s sister, Alexa, is the responsible one in the band. She’s almost like their secretary, but it’s cute that she believes so much in fate. When Alexa leads them far away from their destination because she insists to follow what Magic Eight Ball said, it’s such a smile-inducing moment for me. Every character in the book has their spotlight moment, and they feel like my dear friends when I closed the book.

I think everyone can relate easily to issues presented in The Disenchantments. Like Colby, we all have experienced moments when we doubt about what we really wants to do in our lives. We have the vague image of what we want to do, but we don’t know yet what steps we should take to get there. And like Bev, we all have secrets that mold us into what we are now. Each character in this book has their own issue and I think they handle it pretty well in the end.

All in all, The Disenchantments would appeal most to fans of contemporary. I would recommend it to people who are looking for good road-trip books with characters they can identify themselves with. :)

It isn’t complicated, it isn’t surprising. It is simple and sad. She told me thousands of lies, so many that it could take forever to forgive her, and there are so many things I could say back to her right now. About being cowardly. About being deceitful. About being reckless with someone else. But I don’t want to say any of that. Instead, I step toward her and she drops her arms from over her chest. I hold her close and she holds me.

And it doesn’t take forever, all it takes is this.









I rate this book:
Four cups of tea. Amazing! Love the book, it’s simply awesome. I love the tea flavor!  A strong recommendation.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Monday Muse: Seven Things in December


Happy December! Can't believe that it's December already. :) Time flies so fast! Today I bring you the newest edition of Monday Muse! I got the idea to post seven things I love from this gorgeous blog, Eat This Poem. So here are seven things that are whirling in my mind in December:

1. Rain. It's raining every day here. I don't have to do laundry. More time to read books and snuggle in my bed with a cup of tea. Rain is basically the most legit reason for me to being lazy.

2.  Ed Sheeran's songs. I basically finished Beastly by Alex Flinn while listening repeatedly to songs in Plus album. Ed's tunes are addictive.


3. Drooling over John Green's box set. I'm in love with John Green's characterization ever since I've read The Fault in Our Stars. You can check out the blog post of the designer of the box set's illustration here.

4. The newest site for bookworm, Riffle. I received my invitation to Riffle few days ago and I don't think that I would use that site much. How about you? Anyone on Riffle yet?


5. Contemplating to get Kindle Fire HD. Do you think you read faster when you have an e-reader? What kind of e-reader would you recommend to me? I'm afraid that I might would use the device for Wi-Fi instead of reading. I'm such an easily distracted reader. >.<

6. Just finished reading The Disenchantments by Nina Lacour. Loving the story and the characters! It's very refreshing to read from the POV of male protagonist. :)

7. My final exams this semester will start in two/three weeks from now, so I might will disappear again in the last week of December. I'm so sorry! I feel like a bad blogger. *shakes out the dust* I'm very sorry, I hope I can catch up with the reviews, comments, and everything else in January. I'm going to miss you guys terribly. *sheds tears*


And that's the end of Monday Muse this week! I hope you had wonderful December kick off, and even it wasn't wonderful, don't forget that you still have the whole month to make this month awesome. :) 

Tell me anything you want in comments! Oh, and some e-reader advices would be very helpful too! Thanks in advance, and as always, thank you for reading my musing! ♥

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Guest Post: Top Ten Favorite Wedding Dresses by Melissa Buell


I love wedding dress! I think every girl dreams of her wedding dress at some points of their lives. And of course, a prince charming in tow! ;) I'm very excited to inform you that today, I have author Melissa Buell sharing about her favorite wedding dresses all time! Let's start the oooh and aaaaah! ;)


Top Ten Favorite Wedding Dresses

Hi Hilda, thanks for having me! I adore wedding dresses, weddings, true love… all that romantic stuff. Here are my top ten favorite wedding dresses.


Dress #1 - Princess Grace
I love the simply elegance of Grace Kelly’s dress. And the fact that she was a regular girl (an American, even!) who married a prince and became a princess is the very stuff of fairy tales! The tiara…that’s just awesome.


Dress #2 - Belle inspired

This is one of the “Disney Fairy Tale” inspired dresses. If I had been able to get married at Disneyland, I might have show up in this dress. (I’d have to ask my sister for permission, though. Belle is “her” princess.)


Dress #3 - Princess Diaries 2 Coronation Dress
I *love* the Princess Diaries movies! I love Mia’s coronation much more than I do her (almost) wedding dress. So regal and lovely. And her hair is so beautiful!



Dress #4 - Pride and Prejudice dress
It’s no secret that I love Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love the 6 hour long movie version but the 2 hour Keira Knightley (above) is also good. If I had planned a regency wedding, I’d probably wear a dress like this one.


Dress #5 - Renaissance Wedding Dress
Totally Sherwood Forest, running away to marry Robin Hood, right?!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn


3.5 stars

“I am allowing the world to see you as you truly are,” Kendra said. “A beast.”

Kyle Kingsbury was the typical popular guy that you would find in most books. He is rich, devastatingly handsome, and of course: first class jerk. Kyle thought that with his good looks and his father’s money, he could get away with everything. He was right, until he messed up with the wrong girl.

”You really did invite me to a dance even though you had another date, just to make me look stupid?”

I laughed again. “You actually thought someone like me would take someone like you to dance?”

It is a cruel thing to blow off a girl in a dance, but Kyle didn’t realize that he would finally receive his much deserved punishment this time. Surely no one could punish him, not even his teachers. Only a witch can punish him… a witch who later puts a spell on him, a spell that makes him beastly. In two years, Kyle needs to find a girl who can look past his hideous look and love him, and to break the curse, he has to be in love with the girl as well. Or he would stay this way forever: a beast.

Beastly successfully fascinated me with its surprising depth, well-crafted characters, and flawless writing. When I picked this book, I expected a refreshing modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I ended up finding more. I love that Beastly is packed with references to many books and authors. It was such a sweet, sweet read that I breezed through the pages.

I adore that most parts of the book stay true to the original story of Beauty and the Beast. It’s very interesting to see Beauty and the Beast from Beast’s point of view as well. The transformation of Kyle Kingsbury from a heartless and arrogant guy to a wonderful and kind person didn’t come in one night. The progress is gradual and lovely, and I was very pleased to see that Kyle changes a lot in the end.

Although this is a fairytale retelling, Kyle’s personality still has an echo of real guy. Abandoned by his mother and ignored by his father, it’s no surprise that Kyle turns out to be a self-centered person. When he was turned into a beast, his loneliness was more apparent and it ached me how little his father cares for him. Lindy, the Belle in the story, is just as lonely as Kyle. She has no friends other than her shelves of books, and his father is a horrible person who can sell his own daughter without any concern. The romance is, truly, a story of two lonely people who find warmth in each other’s presences.

Beastly would be a great read for romantic readers who are looking for sweet love story. The scenes between Kyle and Lindy are very cute, adorned with roses, books, and later snow. I can’t wait into dive into other books by Alex Flinn. I have a feeling she would be the newest addition of authors I’m going to stalk. :)

That night, I went to bed without locking the front door. … She was cold. I crept slowly into the hallway and found the linen closet where we kept the extra blankets. I chose one and crept back into the room and fluffed it out, so it fell perfectly over her. I went back to bed and slept as one can sleep only on a cold night in a warm bed. In the morning, she was still there. She came out holding the extra blanket, a questioning look on her face, but she didn’t say anything.

From that night on, I never bolted the door. Every night, I lay awake wondering. Every morning, she was still there.





I rated this book:
Three cups of tea. I like it.  Recommended to read in spare time.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: Beauty by Lisa Daily


Imagine waking up in one morning and finding out that you are the most beautiful girl in town.

Molly, like average teenagers, doesn’t like the way she looks. She is too self-conscious about her appearance, and it doesn’t help that she has the biggest crush to a boy in her neighborhood, Hudson, who isn’t even aware of her existence. After a humiliating incident involving a stuffed monkey, the prettiest girl in her school, and a country-fair-went-wrong, all Molly wants is just to curl up and die. When she’s looking for a spot in the fair to hide herself away, she meets Dharma, a mysterious artist who offered to draw a sketch of Molly. She also offers to listen to Molly’s problem, and Molly agrees.

“It’s just … it’s unfair. I wish I could be like that, you know?” … “Like Ashley.” I picked at a blade of grass, watching the water roll over my toes. “I wish I could be the most beautiful girl in Miracle.”

In a town named Miracle, miracle happens for real. The day after, Molly wakes up and finds out that the distance between her eyes has shortened, her cheekbones become higher, and in result, she has the most beautiful face in Miracle. Now Hudson finally notices her, and the popular crowd wants Molly to join their exclusive group. But what if that’s not what Molly really wants?

I’ve read books with similar plot to Beauty, but it’s still a very entertaining read! It was very easy to get lost in the story. I found myself giggling and squealing along with Molly when everyone in school starts fawning at her feet. It was pretty fun to read the good parts when people worshiped her. The writing, although not amazing, is great and very easy to follow.

Beauty, although extremely predictable, is such a cute read. Sure, there are plot holes and unrealistic parts that bugged me a little, but I just brushed them off and enjoyed Molly’s story. I found the story refreshing after reading too much books with stories that I have to analyze. I think most readers can relate to Molly’s story easily. There is always a time when we wish that we were prettier, that we were as beautiful as girls in magazines. Although in the end, just like Molly, we realize that what matters is the inside, not the outside. :)

Beauty is a short and cute read, and I’d recommend this for younger readers or for those who are looking for a light read. This book is something that you can finish in one sitting, and even though the story is not exactly something new or exceptionally amazing, it’s a fun book to read in your spare time.

And it wasn’t just my features. It was something else too—a certain je ne sais quoi as my dad would say—something that drew my eyes to the mirror and made them never want to look away. Something that seemed to emanate out of me, warm and alluring, like a fire on a freezing night. Something that made me want to step closer, look closer, like there was this magnetic pull to me. I was captivating. I was enchanting. I was … beautiful.

This was not possible.






I rated it:
Three cups of tea. I like it.  Recommended to read in spare time.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green



You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.

Excuse me while I’m crying in the corner because of the excessive amount of tearful moments in this book.

The Fault in Our Stars successfully becomes one of my favorite books in 2012. It’s beautiful, brilliant, and heart-wrenching. It’s freakintastic amazing and I just want to hug this book when I finished it. You don’t want to be anywhere within radius of three meters near me because when I finished reading, I was an emotional wreck. Um, I still am.

The Fault in Our Stars is like a small portion of diary of a real sixteen-year-old girl who is suffering with cancer. I like that the story moves forward as the time goes, and there is no flashback moment. It is as if Hazel’s life begins the moment she meets Augustus. And I believe the same applies to Augustus. From the moment they met at cancer kid support group, it is as if the universe has conducted so they can be together. So different yet so similar, I love the interactions between Hazel and Augustus. I love how cynical Hazel can be, and how cheerful Augustus is. They are clearly meant to be, and suddenly, I found myself getting too attached to characters in this book.

What I found interesting about The Fault in Our Stars is, the scenes in this book aren’t meant to jerk tears. When most scenes in other sad books are intended to make readers cry and become emotional, scenes in The Fault in Our Stars are very realistic and true. Things happened because, well, that’s the way the world works. We felt for characters in this book because we read and know their stories. They become our friends, and as the story progresses, I can understand Hazel very well without her needing to describe her thoughts in words. The characters have become something so real, with blood and vein and flesh and thoughts, that I don’t want to part with them, ever.

I love the beautifully composed writing and the well structured plots, but let me talk about the characters. Oh my gosh, Augustus. Fangirl moment here. Augustus-Augustus-Augustus. You’re such an amazing character. How I wish you were real. :’) Hazel. Oh Hazel, I also wish you were real so we can be best friends. You’re so smart and witty and quirky, and I love you even when you’re being stubborn and harsh. Augustus and Hazel are the kind of couple who should marry and have ten kids and get old together. They should have a future where they are holding hands and watching their grandparents playing in the backyard of their house. They are clearly meant for each other, and I just feel so happy that Hazel and Augustus experienced the kind of true love that everyone wishes for in their lives. Time they spend together feels like forever. :’)

In a nutshell, The Fault in Our Stars is like a chunk of life of real cancer girl, and reading it was a wonderful experience. Funny, sad, and ironic, this is the book that will always live in my heart. I encourage you to please, please read it. I hope that just like me, you would fall in love with Hazel, Augustus, and everyone else in the book. And maybe, just maybe… we can be more grateful of little things in our life. :’)

“I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.” 
 
 



I rated this book:
Five cups of tea. Genius. Beautiful, haunting, and lively characters. Reading this is an overwhelming experience. Must read at least once in a lifetime!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Muse: Autumn Love!


Hi everyone! Welcome to Monday Muse! Aaah, I missed writing these posts. It's just so refreshing to write something crazy and not entirely bookish related sometimes. You, my poor readers, have to put up with my rambling though! ;)

Oops, I almost forgot to tell you. Our post today is all about...



Ah, I love Autumn. Or as Americans call it, fall. ;) Although I technically live in two-seasons country, it still doesn't mean that I can't have autumn spirit, right? And yes, we are currently in the middle of Autumn! Still, I think it would be fun to explore autumn thingy. Better late than never. ;)

Autumn Books



1. The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer

This is not a book for everyone, but I think you should give it a go if you have time. Demon, bells, and Italia. Sprinkled with gorgeous writing, and you get great combination for fireplace read!

2. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling



Ah, good old Harry Potter. Recommended to read in any season, really.

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Everything you can ask for a story is in this book. So enchanting, I'm hopelessly in love with this book! My heart flutters just thinking about this book. ;) A definite autumn/winter read.

4. Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

I don't know if any of you have ever read/watched the animation from Ghibli Studios in Japan, but I think this is perfect for autumn read! The movie is very cute too, although more suitable for younger audience. :)

Oh! Looks like the theme of autumn books is magic! Or maybe it's my personal preference LOL! x)

Warm Drink


As you might have already known, I'm a big tea drinker! I love drinking tea with milk in rainy days. There's nothing better than watching the rain falling outside while you're inside your warm house, seeping your warm drink. Because I looove chocolate (in whatever form possible), I get you a recipe for a very simple yet delicious chocolate drink:

 

Chocolate Bar Hot Chocolate

1 (1.55 ounce) bar milk chocolate candy bar, chopped
2/3 cup milk, or more to taste
1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)

Place chocolate pieces in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add milk and whisk constantly until chocolate is melted and well blended, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in cinnamon. Remove from heat; add more milk if desired.
Serve in a mug.


Sounds easy, right? It tastes really good too! You really should try it at home if you have time. :)

Autumn Fashion

It's time for sweater, scarf, cardigan, and cool boots to show up! I love cute clothes, and especially when they are warm and comfortable. ;) Bring in (literally) the fifty shades of brown! ;)





And of course: guys in sweater. I admit that I have weakness for boys who wear sweaters. Makes them look more preppy and neat in a good way. Sweater also has special effect that make them look one hundred times cuter, don't you think so? :P






SMITTEN here! ♥ ;)


Halloween

When we talk about autumn, of course we also talk about Halloween! :) To tell you the truth, the nearest mall in my city has already decorated the entire floors with pumpkin decoration since early September! I know: WHOA. Someone is excited for trick-or-treat party. Here we call it Pumpkin Festival, not Halloween. :)

Costume inspiration:


I-monsters and Doggy Krueger!! Run for your life, people!

Or you can dress classy, dance shamelessly in front of your friends, and ask them to call you PSY (Gangnam Style)! I bet that everyone will have good laugh hehe! ;)

Wow, there are so much things to do in autumn, right? And soo many things to look forward! :) Maple leaves, cute scarf, warm fireplace, Halloween... the list just goes on and on! And.... this is the end of today's post! I hope it can brighten your day even just a tiny bit! Stay inspiring, get inspired, and have inspiration! Happy Monday, awesome people! ♥

Tell  me in comments, what is your favorite thing in autumn? :)

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