Review: Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman

Honey Girl

Honey Girl
Author: Lisa Freeman
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published: March 17, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
My Rating:

3 Stars

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Synopsis new

How to survive California’s hottest surf spot: Never go anywhere without a bathing suit. Never cut your hair. Never let them see you panic.

The year is 1972. Fifteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa is transplanted from her home in Hawaii to Santa Monica, California after her father’s fatal heart attack. Now the proverbial fish-out-of-water, Nani struggles to adjust to her new life with her alcoholic white (haole) mother and the lineup of mean girls who rule State Beach.

Following “The Rules”—an unspoken list of dos and don’ts—Nani makes contact with Rox, the leader of the lineup. Through a harrowing series of initiations, Nani not only gets accepted into the lineup, she gains the attention of surf god, Nigel McBride. But maintaining stardom is harder than achieving it. Nani is keeping several secrets that, if revealed, could ruin everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Secret #1: She’s stolen her dad’s ashes and hidden them from her mom. Secret #2: In order to get in with Rox and her crew, she spied on them and now knows far more than they could ever let her get away with. And most deadly of all, Secret #3: She likes girls, and may very well be in love with Rox.

my thoughts new

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A book rich in teenage drama, Honey Girl was a quick and lighthearted read. The book tells the story of 15 year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa who lives in Hawaii. When her dad passed away, she and her mom moved to Los Angeles, California to start a new life. In California she met a crowd that interests her– the LA surfers crowd and a group of “honey girls”. But of course she has to follow some “rules” and tips in order to belong.

Admittedly, it took me a little while to warm up to the story not because it was boring or something but because I had a problem with the narrative style the author used in this book. I felt disconnected because the narration tends to jump from one subject to another and most of it comes from Nani’s random thoughts (e.g. “In Hawaii, we called them kanaka pupule, but I nicknamed State Beach’s bum Lolo. Which is pidgin for crazy. Back home, pidgin is day-to-day local talk, kind of mix for Creole, English, and Hawaiian.) These random thoughts that just pop up all of a sudden kind of confuse me. However, once I got the writing in the later parts, I finally felt the flow and rhythm of the story.

The protagonist was an interesting character especially because of her fascination with both the boys and the girls. For me she was genuine and real. Her POV was also jovial, however, it has somewhat gone overboard with forced humor. I get that the author aimed to put some sassiness in her character but it was lacking.

I guess the main thing that really bothered me was the side characters. I wish they weren’t too many. Apart from that, these characters are also one-dimensional and there was nothing about them that’s truly remarkable. They flew in and out of the story without even making a difference to Nani. I guess the only character that has some sense to Nani was her mom. I felt the raw emotions from her.

There were little bits of dialogues in this book but for the most parts, it was all just descriptions. I wish to see more interactions with sensible conversations and not just about some nonsense things going on in their lives.

With everything being said, this book was a heart-warming and genuine read. The message was simple and clear. How you value yourself, your family, and your friends is really important. The settings are also beautiful. I love beaches and everything summer so the book definitely made me feel as though I’m having a tropical vacation somewhere.

On the other hand, I loved the “rules” and female mantras. My favorites are:

* Never snag another girl’s boyfriend.

* Start at the bottom if you want perfection.

* Be nice, no matter what.

* Treat people the way you want to be treated.

This book also offered LGBT vibes and I think this is one good diverse read that I can recommend to everyone especially to teenage readers. If you are a die-hard fan of YA contemporaries, then you are bound to like this book. 🙂

(A copy of this book was sent to me by the author Lisa Freeman in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Lisa!)

Rating:

3 Stars

Buy this book at:

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Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

The Wrath and the Dawn
(The Wrath and the Dawn #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Published: May 12, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction
My Rating:

5 stars new

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Synopsis new

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

my thoughts new

I AM AT A LOSS FOR WORDS.

This book is a thousand times worth the read! I’d say, it deserves the hype! The synopsis alone is irresistible and the cover is gorgeous. Even way better when we talk about the overall story which permeated a magical and captivating writing that left me beyond amazed.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. To be honest, I don’t have any idea what the original tale was about and after reading this book, I felt the sudden urge to read A Thousand and One Nights because of how The Wrath and the Dawn was perfectly crafted.

The book introduced the heroine Shahrzad, otherwise called Shazi by her friends, who volunteered to become the new wife of the formidable Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, the caliph(ruler) of Khorasan who was known for his reputation of killing his previous wives after the wedding night. Shahrzad’s sole purpose was to find revenge for what happened to her friend Shiva who fell victim in the hands of Khalid. Little did she know that Khalid was not a monster that she originally thought but a troubled ruler who hid secrets that she eventually wanted to uncover.

I loved that even if it’s YA fantasy, a huge part of the book focused on romance. I’m a fan of YA books with a romantic element and perhaps you already know that by now. 😉 It’s basically part of my deal! So when Shahrzad and Khalid’s romantic interactions were played out spectacularly here and not just once or twice but as many as I’ve counted, I swooned so hard! This kind of YA book is my undoing!

The fantasy element was vaguely defined here but I don’t have any issue with it because I’ve read way heavy fantasy books lately and I guess the light volume of fantasy here best suited me.

“Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.”

What even astounded me most, of course, was Renee Ahdieh‘s writing. God, this author is new to me but she already captured my heart! She weaved her words beautifully and she perfected the art of captivating her readers with the way she built the world and created the characters.

“You are not mine.” He dropped his palm from the door. “I am yours.”

The setting was simply beautiful! I loved that it was established in a deserted land which was something new to me and I adored the way the map was designed in the first pages of the book.

When it comes to the characters, I loved both Shazi and Khalid. Shazi was a tough and feisty character, not necessarily badass like the heroines other YA books were trying to convey, but a vivacious, witty, and alluring character.

“Shahrzad is a difficult girl, and I am a monster. I suppose that makes for a good match.”

Khalid, on the other hand, was PERFECT. No words needed. If you’ll ask me right about now who’s my newly added book boyfriend on my list, that would be KHALID. Y’all know for sure how I love royal characters the way I love Dorian Havilliard, Cal, and Nikolai Lantsov so yes, that’s one of the many reasons (besides him being so gentle and sweet yet a very strong character) why Khalid knocked me off my feet!

“There is no one I would rather see the sunrise with than with you.”

The ending was bittersweet and somewhat a cliffhanger which left me longing for more! Thankfully the second book will be released this month, so yay!

Honestly, I have no negative things to say about this book. That’s because I was 100% entertained. I enjoyed the writing style and the way the story was framed as a whole. If you haven’t read this book yet, I suggest you to give it a try. Don’t be intimated with the hype because as I’ve said, it’s worth it!

“For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the dark sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you.”

Rating:

5 stars new

Buy this book at:

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xo pearl

Review: The Woman in the Photograph by Dana Gynther

The Woman in the Photograph

The Woman in the Photograph
Author: Dana Gynther
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: August 4, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance
My Rating:

3 stars new

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Synopsis new

Set in the romantic glow of 1920s Paris, a captivating novel of New York socialite and model Lee Miller, whose glamorous looks and joie de vivre caught the eye of Man Ray, one of the twentieth century’s defining photographers.

1929, Montparnasse. Model and woman about town Lee Miller moves to Paris determined to make herself known amidst the giddy circle of celebrated artists, authors, and photographers currently holding court in the city. She seeks out the charming, charismatic artist Man Ray to become his assistant but soon becomes much more than that: his model, his lover, his muse.

Coming into her own more fully every day, Lee models, begins working on her own projects, and even stars in a film, provoking the jealousy of the older and possessive Man Ray. Drinking and carousing is the order of the day, but while hobnobbing with the likes of Picasso and Charlie Chaplin, she also falls in love with the art of photography and finds that her own vision can no longer come second to her mentor’s.

The Woman in the Photograph is the richly drawn, tempestuous novel about a talented and fearless young woman caught up in one of the most fascinating times of the twentieth century.

my thoughts new

The Woman in the Photograph by Dana Gynther

Moving or motionless, in shadow or light, she was his subject.

This book is a breath of fresh air. It’s been a while since I’ve read a historical fiction so I’m glad I was able to delve into this book. The Woman in the Photograph takes place in the year 1929 in the beautiful city of Paris. We start the book with the heroine Lee Miller, a model and a fashion icon who became enthralled not only with posing for photographs but also with doing photography herself and diving more into visual arts. When she met renowned photographer Man Ray, her desire to learn more about photography was fueled, so she persuaded him to become her mentor and at the same time, his exclusive model or muse. As they spent more time together doing photography sessions they developed passion for each other and soon after, they became lovers. But that’s not the end of it because as soon as they learned about each other’s flaws, their relationship changed and obsession, jealousy, and deceptions became their biggest dilemma.

This book is actually written decently, but I can’t really say that I totally loved it. One big problem that I had in this book was the plot. The series of events was repetitive. Even if there were interesting things, I sometimes became wary because most of the scenes (kiss-and-make up) were turning into a cycle.

Another problem I had with this book was the main characters. Lee and Man aren’t exactly the most likable characters to read about. Lee is too ambitious and selfish. Worse, she’s also a cheater and a famewhore. And although I liked Man in the beginning, he eventually became a turn-off as I’ve read more about him. Why? Because he became a weak character who’s too obsessed with Lee, to the point that he easily forgave her even if he knew that she was cheating.

But well, despite the fact that I didn’t like the plot and the characters, I still think this book deserves to be read by everyone because as what I’ve said, it’s a historical fiction (a genre that everyone should also give attention to) and it somehow offered entertainment. The setting is wonderful and the emphasis on arts was neatly done. I’ve also learned a lot about the wonders of photography, films, and all those things. And oh, it’s nice to know how people basically lived during the 1920’s and 30’s in Paris– their lifestyle, culture, and whatnot. 🙂 So I still recommend this book!

(A free copy was given to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review)

Rating:

3 stars new

 

Buy this book at:

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xo pearl

 

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutroski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner’s Curse
(The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
Author: Marie Rutroski
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Published: July 3, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia, Historical Fiction
My Rating:

2star

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.

Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

MY THOUGHTS…

THE WINNER'S CURSE

There are books that despite the high ratings and the enormous hype will never work out for you. This book is an example. I tried so hard to like it, but doing it only made me feel like I’m forcing myself in a relationship where I’m not happy and there’s no spark and magic (what an analogy *laughs).

I had a very hard time liking The Winner’s Curse. I found the world-building too tame, vague, and poorly executed. The characters are also underdeveloped. The whole book lacks magic. No questions about the author’s writing style. It was good, but it was not enough to make me spellbound.

The book was (I hate to say this) boring .

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I also think that the slavery and forbidden love theme are not my liking. Sorry, I really tried but I guess there are other books that are much better for me. This one isn’t one of those. The cover and the overall physicality of this book are spectacular though. And that, I think, is the good side of it. But I don’t think I will read the next sequel. There are way too many books on my tbr list right now, so….

Rating: 2 Stars

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REVIEW: After the Bridge by Cassandra Clare

After the Bridge (The Infernal Devices #3.1)

Clockwork Angel
(The Infernal Devices #3.1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Published: March 19, 2013
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating:

4 Stars

Short Story about Tessa, Jem and what happened after that meeting at Blackfriar’s Bridge at the Epilogue of Clockwork Princess.

MY THOUGHTS…

Thank you Carol and Sandy for introducing this to me! xoxoxo

I won’t be making this review long because it will spoil those who haven’t yet read the final book of The Infernal Devices.

So here’s my opinion…

This short story is somewhat a continuation to what happened during the epilogue of the Clockwork Princess. I have to say that  this one is satisfying, though it’s not at all necessary (for me) because I am quite satisfied with the Clockwork Princess’ ending. But because I was still hangover with the book, I didn’t hesitate to read this short story because I was too curious and I think I can’t sit still without finding out more about the characters.

The short story did not disappoint me as it entertained me and well, made me feel in love all over again. Still, I don’t know how to move on with this series. Ugh. It’s hard, you know.

So if you guys have already read the Clockwork Princess, you might as well proceed with this short story after reading the book, to extend the feels. 😀

(NOTE: Don’t read this short story if you haven’t completed The Infernal Devices series yet. Okay?) 😀

Rating: 4 Stars

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REVIEW: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Clockwork Prince
(The Infernal Devices #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Published: December 6, 2011
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating:

threestars

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

MY THOUGHTS…

Without Tessa there is nothing for me– no joy, no light, no life.

My heart is beating sad notes in my chest with this book. I couldn’t help but sigh! This sequel is a mixture of heartache, hope and happiness. The ultimate highlight of all is the love triangle which gave tickle to my heart. However, it broke me afterwards. 😦

When it comes to the plotline of this book, it’s impressively well-written. The lines are deep, emotional, and beautiful. But then, I guess the whole thing is way too long and nothing exciting seems to really happen. And though there are some revelations, for me it’s not quite enough. The pacing is also a bit slow.

I didn’t lose any interest in continuing this book, though, ‘coz I really wanted to find out more about Will, Jem, and Tessa. 🙂 Anyways, looking forward to read the final book asap. 🙂

My Rating: 3 Stars

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REVIEW: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Clockwork Angel
(The Infernal Devices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Published: September 6, 2009
Genre: Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating:

fourstars

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….

MY THOUGHTS…

“It’s all right to love someone who doesn’t love you back, as long as they’re worth you loving them. As long as they deserve it.”

I’ve been meaning to read this series after reading the City of Fallen Angels where Will Herondale was mentioned by Camille and Magnus Bane, that’s why when I finally got a chance to, I experienced the instant feels! As a historical fiction fan, I find the Clockwork Angel quite fascinating, especially because the story focuses on the Shadowhunter world in the 1800’s.

Clockwork Angel is nicely written. Although it was a bit slow at the beginning, still it didn’t fail to capture my interest because of the mystery that lies in the book. Everything that happened here is unpredictable. There are lots of surprising events and the action scenes are impressively written.

When it comes to the characters, I really love Tessa Gray. Apart from having an extraordinary and strange ability, she’s a tough character with a smart personality. (And not annoying, too) And oh, she loves literature so much! That’s why liking her is not at all difficult.

Will Heronadale, on the other hand, is uh, an okay character, I guess. I’m not so sure if I like him. He’s a brave and clever guy with a sarcastic-smartass personality which makes him totally the same with Jace in the TMI series. But I think I don’t like the way he’s too secretive. I guess I also expected him to do much effort to protect Tessa and to have at least more romantic interactions with her but so far, what I got was hesitation from him. I’m not so convinced if he’s a great book boyfriend, though. Lol. Not now. Perhaps in the next books?

And Jem… Well, so far, this character stands out, in my opinion. I totally love this guy. The way he makes Tessa feel as though she’s not different among the people in the Institute– it’s swoon-worthy!

As a whole, this book is really impressive. The plotline is flawless and as mentioned, unpredictable– which are exactly the reasons why I am a Cassandra Clare fan. And the book quotations before each chapters begin– so delectable to the thoughts. 🙂 I love them!

My Rating for this Book: 4 Stars

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