Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This lullaby is only a few words
A simple run of chords
Quiet here in this spare room
But you can hear it, hear it
Wherever you may go
I will let you down
But this lullaby plays

Remy doesn’t believe in love. Her mother’s fifth marriage only encourages her to stop believing in the nonsense. To her, love means having fun with guys, making sure that they know the relationship won’t last long, and leaving before things get complicated. No worries. No entanglements. The no-strings-attached rule has worked well for Remy, until her encounter with Dexter. Dexter is the only exception from the long list of Remy’s perfect exes. He’s messy, hyperactive, and a musician with seemingly no future. Remy has vowed to herself to think of Dexter only as a summer boyfriend, but what if Dexter wants more? What if their relationship means something more than just summer fling?

This is official: Sarah Dessen is the best when it comes to contemporary YA. Her books may follow similar path, but each of it remains unique and special. Some people may find the slow pacing in her stories boring, but I think that’s what makes her books amazing. The progress in the relationship between the main characters is very subtle. There are so much deeper meanings in the sweet little things they do. I really like it that what starts the relationship is always offer of kindness and friendship.

In the last part of the book, it’s always the heroine who takes the important action to alter their story. I think that’s very crucial, because then it means there is no magical salvation or something like that. Dexter may help Remy to believe in love, but he can’t fix Remy’s problem with her mother or her sarcastic attitude toward people around her. Remy has to be the one who takes the last step if she wants to change herself.

I think my most favorite part of this book is the time when Remy thinking to buy plastic ware for Dexter. Dexter is living with his band mates in a house where the only dish-ware consists of one ceramic plate, a few mismatched forks and knives, gas-station freebie coffee mugs, and some paper goods. Remy, being a neat freak and perfectionist girl, wants to buy plastic ware for Dexter but she is afraid that the gesture means so much more. This is her first time she is tempted to buy something more permanent than a Zip Coke for his boyfriend. It is very cute to watch her struggling whether or not to buy Dexter plastic ware. I have no idea that something as simple as forks and spoons can be a really romantic thing in a book.

Remy is one wonderful character I warmed throughout the story. I really like her rational thinking and how she is very protective of people she loves. Dexter might not be my favorite Sarah Dessen hero, but he is certainly very funny and sweet! The songs he writes, like The Potato Song, are simply ridiculous but somehow, it makes him even more adorable. I would recommend you to read This Lullaby during summer time because then you can also experience the humid, hot summer nights when Remy and Dexter fall with each other.

And so, while the rest of the world went on unaware, drinking their coffee, reading the sports page, and picking up their dry cleaning, I leaned forward and kissed Dexter, making a choice that would change everything. Maybe somewhere there was a ripple, a bit of a jump, some small shift in the universe, barely noticeable.

I didn't feel it then. I felt only him kissing me back, easing me into the sunlight as I lost myself in the taste of him and felt the world go on, just as it always had, all around us. 

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Muse: Series of Quote Images

Hello, and happy Monday! My exam week officially begins today... yay. I have no idea what I have been studying this year... yay. I have pile of books I'm dying to read yet I can't find time to read them... yay. *sigh*

My biggest apologize if I'm late in returning comments or lack of updates in my blog. Exams exams! Hoping for the famous straight A's!

On a brighter note, I'll be as free as a bird in two weeks. So you guys can expect me to roam around your blogs during my three months holiday! Yes, you read it right folks. Three months, wohoo!! There are sooo many things I want to do, but let's save the list for later. ;)

Today it's a series of quote images! With exams and everything, my mind just wander everywhere and I can hardly focus on one thing. I'm so sorry for this yuck-what-does-Hilda-want-to-talk-about-this-is-so-random-and-weird post, but I still hope this can enlighten your day even a bit! :) 

(some are mine but the rest belong to the respective owners ♥) 

1. A picture which reminds me of a book

I just found the graphic above from my long-time forgotten folder. I think I made this last year. The picture reminds me of a book I just finished reading: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie. It's an Adult book so I won't review it here, but trust me: it's really worth your time! It's a very interesting take on arranged marriage. I think I'm going to post my review of this book on Goodreads later this week, so look out for it! x)

2. I ♥ Sarah Dessen's books!

Naah, I think this is going to be a shameless self-promotion post after all LOL. The picture above is also created by me. :) It's a Sarah Dessen's quote from her book, The Truth About Forever. I read it early this year and really loved it. There's something about Sarah Dessen's boys which make them very lovable. They just seem... very real, you know? Anyway, my favorite is Owen from Just Listen. ♥.

3. Adrian Ivashkov (please marry me)

In celebration of The Golden Lily (JUNE!), please welcome one of my biggest fictional crushes: Adrian Ivashkov! Ah, there is no word to tell how much I love him. ♥ And Girls, remember: I may share Peeta, but I don't share Adrian. LOL, no, I'm just kidding. Well, half-joking maybe. ;)

4. Just Old Advertisements...

Hehe, I love the old advertisements above! Sorry, I can't find any advertisement about blogging. I'm sure it's the newest technology. :D

5. Last but not least... please remember! ♥

That's all for this week's post! I hope there is a smile plastered on your face by the time you've finished reading this post! x) 

I hereby challenge you to claim possession of Adrian Ivashkov. If no one raises voice over my claim of Adrian Ivashkov, I pronounce then that he is mine and mine only. Back off sweethearts.

I think it's best for me to end this post before anyone calls a mental institution. I certainly am suffering of delusional case. Be inspiring, stay inspired, and have inspiration! Have a lovely Monday fabulous people! :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer

3.5 stars

With the glowing reviews of Merrick brothers, I expected Elemental to be a wonderful novella before I start Storm. But it amazed me how short the story is. Just when I thought things start to become exciting, BAM! It suddenly ends, leave me with gaping mouth. If I have to metaphor my feeling, I feel like jumping from a cliff to a lake when I reached the last page. But instead being welcomed by the cool water, there was only solid wall hit me mercilessly.

Despite the sort of cliffhanger ending, one thing I enjoyed most about this book is the tension. Oh, the tension between Emily and Michael! It is as if I were there, watching them exchange hostile glances and snarky remarks. The conversations are interesting to read and I like the chemistry between them. I love the vivid description of the hot summer days and the deserted sports center. Perfect setting for the start of Michael and Emily’s friendship.

There are a few things I found frustrating in this novella. I don’t understand how things work in Elemental’s world. Does everyone have ability to control elements? I’m really confused because it is never stated clearly in the book. Elemental doesn’t offer answer, but it definitely is a good prequel before you start the series. It leaves you with questions about the community, the power, and the aggression that Merrick family constantly receives. Brigid Kemmerer also does such good job in portraying Michael’s emotion, frustration and turmoil he felt toward his family and sequence of things happening because of his power. I need answers and I’d definitely read Storm. Hopefully it would be a great explosion that I’m anticipating!

“Want to learn?” he said.

“Learn?” Her voice was squeaking.

He tapped the fence with the end of the bat. “How to hit.” She couldn’t. She’d already spent too much time talking to him. This had danger written all over it.

But some part of her heart had already told her brain’s insistent thoughts to shove it.

Because she was already saying yes.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Come on. What are you afraid of?

It’s incredible, the moment when you’re halfway through a book and realize that you’re going to fall in love with it. It is the kind of book that makes you breathless when you’re reading it and in the end, all you want to do is just to hug the book and congratulate the author. I have the pleasure to tell you that Divergent is one of these books.

I came to Divergent with super high expectation and I’m really glad that I was not even slightly disappointed. The pacing! The worldbuilding! The characters! The well-written plots! Divergent is practically dripping with awesomeness.

Tris is a character I absolutely adore. She’s strong, smart, and brave beyond words. She’s amazing. I was so protective over Tris, and it enraged me that people around her underestimates her just because she couldn’t kick or throw punches well. You can’t judge a person simply by their brute strength.

The chasm reminds us that there is a fine line between bravery and idiocy.

Oh, I want a bracelet with these words engraved! Never had I read a quote that speaks my mind most cleverly. There is such fragile, thin line that separates courage and simply suicide act. Divergent makes me think about the description of bravery and strength. In the end, I conclude that a strong person is someone who can control their strength, and uses it to protect innocent people around them. Someone who knows border between fearlessness and arrogance.

Divergent is harsh. There are so many moments when Tris and Four have to show the ruthless side of them. I like it that both characters are not perfect and their flaws make them even more real. If Divergent is ever turned into a movie, I’m wondering what the rating would be. There are too many contents that won’t be suitable for younger teenager. For example, the whole Dauntless initiation. I can see that Dauntless initiation has good aim but the implementation is horrible. There is great possibility of death in the initiation and in one way, it’s like the forest law when the weak one is eliminated from the picture because they can’t survive the fight and the killing.

I think what Veronica Ross did in this book is very brave. She makes me questioned many things after reading this book. Virtue, selflessness, bravery… everything seems blurry and gray suddenly. I keep feeling that there is such a thin line between brutality and what you have to do. Everyone has their own reasons for their doing. Each person protects on what they believe most, and I just wish that some people in this book can see things from different perspectives.

Divergent is an amazing read and I’m completely in love with the world in this book. This book is highly recommended, especially to fans of Dystopian genre. I think I might get myself three copies of this book: one to reread over and over, one for display in my bookshelf, and the last to lend to my friends so I can spread the wonderfulness of Divergent.

As we walk toward the Pit, I repeat the line Will quoted to myself so I don’t forget it.

I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another. 

I rate 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, May 21, 2012

Monday Muse: Girls, I Adore You to Death (and Beyond)!

Hey there, fabulous people! First thing first: Monday Muse has a new graphic! Wohoo! Do you like it? I hope that this simple graphic can transmit how much love you can find on Monday Muse! ♥ In case you have no idea what Monday Muse is, Monday Muse is a feature in my blog where I talk about various things that spark my ever-active mind. You will never know what you can find in this feature, but the point of this feature is to lighten up your Monday! :)

In this post, I'm going to talk about YA heroines I love, and plus points why I adore them to infinity. They are heroines I don't mind being friends with, people that inspire me and make me proud of their existence. ♥ 

Note: this list is in no order of favoritism. I adore them all equally! :) 

1. Bria from Wanderlove

When I reach the mirror, I see your reflection, Bria. I don't know why you and I have such synchronized minds. We both want to travel the world so bad, yet so afraid to take the chances! I'm so proud of you when you grow up and leave your past behind. See? That's why I like contemporary YA. The possibility of something like that happens to me in the future.

2. Tris from Divergent series

Tris! Oh, how I adore you, girl! You're such a kick-ass character, a ruthless one but I absolutely admire! Tris doesn't hesitate to do the dirty job if it means to protect innocent people. I got so protective over you, and I kept mumbling something like, 'Tris is not weak! Tris is strong! Tris, you are strong!' when I read Divergent. You're one of the strongest heroine I've ever read and you never let guilt to drag you down. Awesome, Tris. Or shall we call you Six? ;)

 3. Yelena from Study trilogy

Yelena, you are beyond smart. Finding your story is like finding a gem. I stayed up all night reading Poison Study, and I devoured the last two book in two days. Your story has such complex plots and I don't think that I'm able to call all the events correctly but I remember one thing: your story is so brilliant I can't stop reading. I love your books beyond words.

4. Chloe from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe

If you have read my review of Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe then lovely readers, you must know how much I adore Chloe! My love to Chloe comes as a surprise, since I never saw myself liking such bubbly character like her! I understand that people will love or hate you, Chloe. What I like about you is your never-ending cheerfulness and how you refuse to give up on your problems. You might talk too much sometimes, but I wouldn't mind being friends with you. :)

5. Hermione from Harry Potter series

Wait, can we call Harry Potter YA? Please give an exception for this one. You and your brilliant mind, Hermione. Your bravery to stand on what you think is right. Your cunning cleverness. Your ability to stay calm in difficult situation. You are simply awesome, Hermione.

6. Mia from If I Stay series

My eyes get teary whenever I think about this series. Mia, I know how hard things must be for you. I can't imagine how strong you must be to recover physically and mentally from the accident. Reading your story and Adam is one of the loveliest experience, one that required a box of  tissue because I cried every few pages on Where She Went. Oh, and what I wouldn't give to have your boyfriend Adam. ;)

7. Katniss from Hunger Games trilogy

Katniss, my dear Mockingjay. I think you're too passive in Mockingjay, and I can't say that you didn't disappoint me in some of your decisions. But you definitely earn my respect. You get fierce whenever it comes to safety of people you love. You're strong, smart, and a bit naive sometimes. You will always be the girl on fire, the girl who has power to start the revolution.

There are still heroines I admire: Katsa from Graceling series, Rose from Vampire Academy series, Ana from Incarnate series, Ismae from His Fair Assassin series, and looong list after... and some other non-YA heroines like Sookie from Southern Vampire series and Stephanie from Stephanie Plum series. But they would make a very long post, and I don't want you to get tired reading all my rambling.

Thank you for reading this, awesome people! I hope you all have a great Monday! :) 

Who is your favorite heroine in YA? Is there any of them in this list?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Haul from the Hummingbird (#3)!

Hello everybody! It's very nice to see you again! :)

This might be a slow week for me, but I love all the books I got! They are all promising such good read! My hummingbird kindly brought me this books:

(clicking on the cover will bring you to the Goodreads page)

And that's all what I had this week!

Peeked on The List and I think the writing is really good. I devoured Divergent last week and really LOVED it, so it's no question I got myself a copy of Insurgent instantly after! Finished reading The Seeds of Wither and the shortness of never-before-published story inside the book actually makes me wonder if it can be called a book. Guardian is a novella and I'm so hoping it could be longer! Hopefully I'm going to love the gory details in The Hunt! Look, Insanity and The Temptation use the same photo effect! Adore the final result! ♥

I'm thinking to post reviews of The Seeds of Wither and Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer in one post next week, since both are very short! Review of Guardian should be up in the same week too. :)

Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day! 

What books did you receive this week? Don't forget to leave the link! Oh, and there are two giveaways still running on my blog, just check out the right sidebar if you want to enter! ♥

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review: Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards by Janette Rallison

3.5 stars

Ah, this book reminds me how much I love reading light, contemporary YA.

Blue Eyes and other Teenage Hazards follows Cassidy’s story after her best friend Anjie moved away. When the new family moves to Anjie’s house, she hopes that she will be nice, smart, funny, and not a typical drama queen. Well, Elise wasn’t exactly nice at first, but they finally find enough topics to talk about aside from Elise’s mourning of leaving California.

Elise was not the kind of girl Cassidy usually friends with. While Cassidy loves studying and is awkward around boys, Elise drinks alcohol, goes to parties, and determines to hate school although she has enough IQ that would let her run for Mensa president. Cassidy finds Elise fascinating and despite their differences, they become friends. Elise’s older brother, the cute blue-eyed Josh, is convinced that Cassidy is just the perfect friend to keep Elise in the right line. Cassidy will have to be able to make sure that Elise stay sober and in the same time find a way to get Josh to notice her in more than an immature sophomore.

This book is a fun, quick read. I seriously wouldn’t mind living inside the story. Cassidy is a smart and great character. She likes herself just the way she is and that makes me proud of her. Finally, a contemporary heroine who doesn’t yearn to be prettier/skinnier/wilder! That makes me want to give her an award for being the model heroine, really. Plus, I need to mention that Cassidy is smart! Smart girls who also manage to be nice, pretty, and still believable are rare. She doesn’t have any thrilling need to walk on the wild side and that’s just fine by me.

I really like Josh too. He is responsible and nice, the type of brother you would love to have. His relationship with Cassidy doesn’t feel forced at all. I can picture the conversations he has with Cassidy and Elise clearly because they just seem so natural. The whole story made me giggling all along and though there is hardly any life-changing moment, the story flows nicely and is true to life.

In overall, Blue Eyes and other Teenage Hazards is the kind of book that will leave you with smile on your face. I feel so old admitting this but I did find some of Cassidy’s problems match mine back in high school. I enjoyed reading this book and I loved how much I didn’t need to think much when I was reading it. No dramatic tears, no back-stabbing drama, no lack of self-respect. This is the kind of book you’d love reading in relaxing summer holiday, preferably in a hammock.

I wasn’t sure how much Carter had meant to her. She hadn’t seemed too attached to her boyfriend when she’d ogled Chad yesterday. But then, to see your friend kissing your boyfriend—and kissing him out in public where people could snap photos and send them to you—ouch. Low blow.

Hall mark should make sympathy cards for those sorts of occasions.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review: Spectral by Shannon Duffy

3.5 stars

Spectral starts off with Jewel’s family moving in to other town. Jewel’s family moves a lot and she gets tired with all the new schools, new friends, and new names. She is convinced that her family is in some kind of witness protection program so she never asks much question about the whole moving thing.

In this new town, Jewel’s false name is True. She quickly makes friends with a very bubbly girl named Taylor and Chase, the guy who seems interested to her. Jewel tries not to get her hopes up, but maybe her family will stop moving and settle down in this new town. However, strange things start happening. Her encounter with Roman, a new guy who surprisingly knows her true name, makes her questioning everything her family has told her. Roman claims to be her guardian, but which one she should trust: the parents who raised her or the guy who is ready to give her answers to everything her family has kept from her?

I enjoyed Spectral despite some flaws in this book. The story keeps me engaged and the writing is very easy to follow. I can understand Jewel’s shock upon her discovery. I found myself putting the puzzles in Jewel’s mystery too. The story gets even more interesting once Jewel is in Russian. And later, Italy! I love that she’s brave enough to explore the truth about herself.

Like so many other readers, I am swooned over the love interest in this story, Roman. Roman, with his gentle, protective, and somehow sexy ways, manages to capture my heart. Her relationship with Jewel is very lovely. I think I would fall over heels if someone ever calls me his butterfly. I guess Roman is supposed to be the bad boy while Chase is the safe, good ol’ guy, but I can hardly find any bad guy aspect in Roman. Sure, he has a fair amount of mystery required for a bad boy, but other than that, I think he’s a good guy with cute grin and funny lines.

Spectral is a great book that is worth a shot, especially for those who enjoy stories about witchcraft. I’m really hoping that Shannon Duffy would make this a series because I’d love to see Jewel explores more about her new power. Plus, more Roman, please!

A multi-colored butterfly suddenly fluttered down from the ceiling landing on my fingers laced around the coffee cup. I gasped, but didn’t move. Glancing up at the ceiling, I whispered in awe, “Where did that come from?”

Roman’s lips twisted into a grin as he gazed down at it, and then back into my eyes. He raised one shoulder. “One butterfly always knows another.”

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

Many thanks to Tribute Books and Shannon Duffy who have kindly provided me a copy of this book! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Muse: Twin or Triplet or... More?

Welcome to Monday Muse, the non-consistent feature that is not posted regularly because most of the time my muse refused to come sooner. Oh, and the craziness of Monday makes me unable to post it sometimes. But well... here the feature shows up again! :)

What do I have for you this Monday? I have... siblings!

Not literally sibling of course. I have sibling book covers! You know, the moment when you see a cover and think, 'Huh. I'm sure I've seen that cover somewhere before.'  And maybe you really did! More and more authors and publishers buy stock photos, twirl it a little, and bam! You get a cover. I understand that stock photos are cheaper than a photo shoot, but I'm sure it must be really awkward when you find out that there is some other book using the same cover with yours.

The gorgeous twins:


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Haul from the Hummingbird (#2)!

Hello, and welcome back again to second edition of Haul from the Hummingbird! Haul from the Hummingbird is a feature to show books that my cute, super strong hummingbird had brought along the past week for me.

Here are the books I received this week:

(click on the book cover to bring you to the Goodreads page)

A million thanks for the publisher who bless me some books above. <3

I'm so excited to read Cat Girl's Day Off because I always wish that I can speak with cats. I've got my Kleenex ready for In Honor and Second Chance Summer. Excuse me while I'm ogling the super gorgeous cover of The Selection! Ooh, maybe another Kleenex box needed for First Comes Love. There are raving reviews about Hemlock, hopefully it will live up to its premises! Enclave will be the first Ann Aguirre book I read, it sounds incredibly amazing! 

Now, it's your chance to turn my eyes green with envy! Feel free to leave the link. I hope everyone have amazing week!

PS: There are still time to enter giveaways in my blog! International entries are welcome! :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Elizabeth Margaret, or simply called Em, is a girl with passion in cooking.
However, the option of telling her uptight and prestigious family that she wants to pursue career in cooking is off-limit. Her family would be furious, and Em doesn't want to hurt her family's feeling. Being a chef is not even possible in her wildest imagination.

This is Em's last summer holiday before she goes to Harvard and follows her father’s path as a lawyer, when a letter from her aunt arrives. Em doesn’t even know that she has an aunt until she receives the letter. She is invited by her aunt Matilda to spend her summer in Outer Banks. The more Em thinks about it, the more she wants to accept this invitation. This is her only chance of freedom. The moment when finally, her life begins.

The Summer My Life Began could be a much better book with more polishing. I judged most books I read by the first chapter. The first chapter plays a lot in my judgment whether to keep reading or shuffle the book to somewhere in my To-Be-Read pile. Sadly, this book falls on the latter. When I finished reading the first chapter, I got the impression that most part of this book will be about telling, not showing. I felt like I was overloaded with too much information regarding Em’s feeling. I would like to have more sides of Em’s shown in the following chapters, not thrown out in the first chapter. It made me think that I’ve known every bits and pieces about her already.

Fortunately, the writing is much improved throughout the story. There are also enough puzzles and magnetism of beautiful setting of an island out in the Atlantic Ocean that made me eager to read what happens next. Em and Cade’s relationship is also very adorable. There are some surprises that I didn’t see coming and they add to positive points of this book. I think The Summer My Life Began will appeal to fans of younger YA. If I were younger, I know that I would fall in love more with this story and the message behind this book.

We drove under the beautiful archway of bright red flowers growing on thick green vines that I had seen on the Pepper House’s website. We circled around a stone fountain with four carved goats spouting water from their mouths. Cade stopped the van in front of a Mediterranean-style whitewashed stone house covered in more beautiful red flowers.

He turned the key and silence filled the cab.

“Here we are,” he said, flinging open his door and getting out of the van.

I sat for a moment and smiled. Here I am.

I rate this book:
Three cups of tea. Like it, but doesn’t give me much impression. Recommended to read in spare time.


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