Review: Mascara by A. Palasciano

Mascara

Mascara
Author: A. Palasciano
Publisher: A. Palasciano
Publication: February 11, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My Rating:

four stars

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Meet MASCARA – which stands for Mara, Asher, Sue, Carmen, Amanda, Rachel and Adrianna, respectively. They are prep school Saint Lawrence Academy’s elitist clique of girls who have everything. Literally, everything.

Members of MASCARA have their own app (built by Asher’s tech magnate father who built Sutherland Enterprises from the ground up). They each hold a chair position like Social Media Chair, Fashion Chair, Community Chair, or Beauty Chair to keep them abreast at monthly meetings of what’s trending before it’s even trending. Translation? They know all of the best clothes, accessories, products, apps and events before they’re even out. They wear their signature cobalt blue mascara on a daily basis. They are the girls everyone at school wants to wake up and switch lives with.

Each year, MASCARA gives bids to incoming freshman to pledge for the upcoming vacancies left by graduating seniors. Girls know they’ve been picked if the cobalt blue mascara is taped to their locker. However, only girls blessed to have a first name starting with the letters in “MASCARA” are even given the chance. Pledging this clique is far from simple, rule-laden, and has seen a whole lot of awry-going – like using fake online dating profiles to flirt with the gym teacher or putting the school up for sale to the highest bidder.

This year, Jorie Carr, (attention-defecit, dreamer extraordinaire) who changed her name after a second grade bully couldn’t get enough of “Marjorie Carjorie,” and her best friend Abby Port enrolled in Saint Lawrence against all things logical and public school. Marjorie a.k.a. Jorie gets a bid (the cobalt blue mascara taped to her locker) and Abby doesn’t despite the fact that Abby was the one who told Jorie about it all in the first place. Life sure isn’t fair in high school and it gets a whole lot more unfair as pledging unravels.

Luckily, there are a few incentives to keep Jorie going. Namely, junior Derek Mackey. Oh, and the overwhelming desire to have hair like Asher Sutherland.

Explore Jorie’s quirky look at pledging a high school sorority through the eyes of a self-conscious freshman who just so happens to have had the good fortune to become accepted by the most popular seniors. It’ll leave you crushing on cobalt blue for always.

my thoughts

(A free copy was generously given to me by the author A. Palasciano in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating and opinion of the book.)

This is a feel-good book. I didn’t expect it to be this hilarious, entertaining, and full of quirks. It made me LOL page after page, line after line.

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The story is told from the perspective of thirteen year-old Marjorie Carr A.K.A Jorie, a girl who usually settles to live under the shadows of extraordinary students that surround her. When she was approached by the popular and It girl Asher and was recruited to join the school’s famous sorority group known as MASCARA, her boring life turned out ridiculously out-of-the-ordinary. Joining the so-called group means changing everything in her– including her boring wardrobe, fashion style, makeup preferences, her attitude, and her overall personality. Joining the sorority also means breaking her friendship with her childhood best friend Abby who also wanted to become one of the MASCARA but did not get the chance.

Not only is this book funny. It’s also something that teaches life lessons. It’s totally relatable especially to teens and high-schoolers who want to fit in their surroundings but don’t have the confidence. It also has girly feels so definitely you can expect it to be bombarded with makeups, dresses, boys, and stuffs like that.

I really enjoyed this book a lot. There were no dull moments. It’s a book that you definitely should pick up after reading intense, heavy, and too emotional reads. Or if you’re feeling stressed-out from a day’s work and if you want a good laugh, this should be your refresher. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4 Mascara Stars

(Buddyreading with Joy)

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REVIEW: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

TFIOSewan

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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

MY THOUGHTS…

This book has a beautiful story. I love how John Green created a theme that introduces the readers to the concept of Cancer and the truth about dying. It is actually a reality-based novel that doesn’t fail to capture the interest of the readers, teenagers or not. I love how I can actually relate to the medical stuffs being mentioned here, except for the Phalanxifor which was entirely a fictional drug (which I also wish would truly exist in real life to help Cancer patients) and how the author painted a better picture about the stages of grief — from denial to acceptance all throughout the book.

Anyway, John Green is no doubt, a great author. This book is well-written. There’s humor and there are witty conversations from the characters that are really sensible. It greatly taught me about life, about hope, about being able to cherish the moment while you are still alive, and about being able to love someone and show it without any limitation. Yes, because life is too short and everyone is lucky to even live up to this day. It also made me appreciate life even more. You know, it’s like this book is making me realize the importance of being healthy and alive. But of course, that’s not entirely about that. This book tells us something. That some infinities are bigger than other infinities. I just love how John Green made an abstract explanation about this during the last chapters of the book. It’s a perfect reminder to everyone that fate is not against a person, but a person makes his own fate.

There are just some things about the book that don’t sit well on me. I think I wasn’t entirely convinced about the characters’ love for each other. I mean, it’s about the storyline which was a bit hurried. I wasn’t completely taken by the way they showed how deeply in love they were. I think I just see them as people who are attracted to each other rather than being in love. And the intimate scene they had at the Amsterdam– I think it lacked emotions especially from Augustus. Well, I’m a cheezy kind of person so maybe I was just expecting some sort of romantic exchange of conversations between the two. I think they were really just more focused about how depressing their lives as cancer patients– which is understandable because this book is not entirely all about romance.

I have to admit that I did really cry while reading this book, especially when I got to the part where heartbreaking scenes already approach. I pretty much knew what’s going to happen from the beginning but still, it shredded my heart just the same. This book just ripped my heart, put it back together, and then ripped it apart again.

The Book Is…

Pros

Amazing, with heart-tugging scenes that will truly touch the readers. It’s also reality-based. It teaches a lot of lessons.

Cons

It’s with a sad concept and a tragic ending. And characters’ voices seem to sound like adults rather than teenagers.

What I Think About the Characters

Hazel Grace Lancaster

She’s one with a terminal illness. She’s depressed and the way she feels angsty about her condition and her road to oblivion kind of really wretch me. But I love her intelligence in this book.

Augustus Waters

Also with a terminal cancer who instantly felt the attraction towards Hazel from day 1. He’s a very intellectual guy and truly adorable.

My Rating for this Book: 3 Stars (I enjoyed reading this book. It’s well-written and really wholesome. It’s just that it has some flaws that give me reasons to rate it with 3/5 stars. Excited to watch the movie, though.) 🙂

Favorite Quotes from this Book

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

“That’s the thing about pain… It demands to be felt.”

“Without pain, we couldn’t know joy.”

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REVIEW: Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3)

 

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fourstars

When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demands a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agrees.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own identity. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

MY THOUGHTS…

This book is way BETTER than the second installment. It started off really well. I love the honeymoon part where they traveled to Europe, the gift-giving and generous Christian Grey, the passionate scenes, the jealousy/protectiveness Christian always displays– everything! It’s just too perfect to be true! And if ever this story happens in real life, I’d definitely be crazy!

This book is great. I was about to rate it 5 stars, but then, I was not at all convinced when it comes to its ending. All right, they have a perfect, happy ending and they created a happy family. But — I don’t know. Maybe I was expecting a different conclusion with this trilogy.

I also didn’t like how Ana became pregnant and how EL James incorporated a bit of action in the near-end. I’m not so sure why I wasn’t thrilled. Maybe I was just impassive or something. But all in all, I mostly enjoyed this book. Ana and Christian’s love affair is insanely surreal!

The Book Is…

Pros

Romantically driven. There are sweet moments that will definitely entice you and melt your heart away. It has, as expected, a happy ending.

Con

There are scenes that are superfluous. And some things are also quite unbelievable and exaggerated.

My Rating for this book: 4 Stars (I love this book and I totally recommend it!)

Favorite Quotes from this Book

“I want your world to begin and end with me.”

“We always hurt the ones we love, darling.”

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REVIEW: Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)

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threestars

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

MY THOUGHTS…

This book is indeed a lot darker than the first. No offense, but I have to say I’m a bit bored with this second installment of E.L. James. The storyline seems a bit slow-paced and there are also repetitive scenes that show dullness and monotony. The only interesting part of this book is Christian’s revelation as of why he became fifty shades of f*cked up. Other than that, the story was not thoroughly given with substances that will make you feel engrossed.

To better give you the entire scenario of the book, these scenes are what you will certainly encounter: They’ll make love today, they’ll have misunderstanding later, they’ll make love tomorrow, they’ll become okay the next day– and then repeat from the top. It’s like a bizarre routine and yes, it happens until the end of the book. I hate to admit it, but it has a lot of major cliches.

However, I still managed to get the gist of it and eventually reached the end of the book. Didn’t regret it, though. It was still a great book. Christian Grey continues to be domineering and romantic and generous to Ana, and Ana is– well, her character development improves here. *smirks. We can see her blossom into a beautiful, stunning woman. Not like the Ana we’ve met in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Book Is…

Pros

Just like the first installment, it has interesting parts. Also, you will discover a lot more about the characters especially Christian’s dark past.

Con

The scenes are quite repetitive.

What I Think About the Characters

Ana Steele

Well, as mentioned, Ana grew more stunning and classy here. She no longer borrows dress from Kate. Lol 😀 And the way she approaches situation is a lot more different compared to the first book. I think she really developed a lot here.

Christian Grey

I’m glad he finally opened up and revealed his fears and imperfect struggles to Ana. This made me understand him even better. I think it’s also a good start for both of them. And as usual, this man never fails to entice me. The way he communicates with Ana through text and email is kind of gasp-inducing. 🙂

My Rating for this book: 3 stars (It’s a great book, but not nearly as good as the first book.)

Favorite Quotes from this Book

“You’re the only person I’d fly three thousand miles to see.” – Christian Grey

“We have to learn to walk before we can run”

REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

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fourstars

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

MY THOUGHTS…

Okay, so I read this book out of curiosity since this had gone viral two years ago that even celebrities made a big deal about it. Surprisingly, I found myself engrossed with this book. I love how E.L. James particularly described the characters from the very beginning. They are kind of fascinating, especially Christian Grey. I know for some people this book is a piece of trash but I cannot simply put it down, for the very exact reason with anybody else who were getting hyped with this book– it’s interesting.

How Christian and Ana became attracted to each other and how Ana wasn’t able to stop herself from thinking about him after their first encounter was already one of its key scenes. You see, Christian, a dominant character, searched for his submissive and basically found it on Ana. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about it but as the story went, I realized that it isn’t just all about kinkiness or whatever sexual exploits we all expected. The story was all about how their attraction to each other grew into something else.

Ana particularly went through the point where she was confused about her feelings toward Christian. There is no denying that she’s not only attracted to him but it seems like she was slowly building that kind of emotion that she couldn’t easily deal– not with Christian who only became interested with her because of her potential for a “rare” relationship.

“The only man I’ve been attracted to, and he comes with a bloody contract, a flogger, and a whole world of issues.”

I admit that the only thing that makes me wince about this story are the scenes that introduce detailed descriptions about how Christian uses those sort of things (ropes, ties, etc.) while they are making out. But that’s understandable since it’s an erotic genre and we’re expecting that from the beginning, right? That’s what made the book a real buzz to begin with.

The ending was also astonishing. I didn’t exactly expect that. I guess what Ana did in the end was just right. It left me hanging with lots of questions that can only be answered in the next book.

The Book Is…

Pros

Unique, exciting, and intriguing. The storyline also promises real romance between the characters.

Con

Some people will never appreciate the kinky sexual adventures of this book and may also find them unsuitable in any way.

What I Think About the Characters

Ana Steele

She was described as an innocent college girl. I think she’s basically naive in an amusing way. She easily fell with Christian and I couldn’t even blame her for that. In this book, I also admire how she interacts and deals with Christian. I love her for her smart mouth!

Christian Grey

Well, does anyone here find him unattractive? I don’t think so. He’s unreal and he basically does not exist in real life. Lol. He was described as a dignified man with an extremely attractive face and a real hot physique. And incredibly rich. But he has an ultimate drawback and that’s all about him being accustomed to his BDSM dom/sub lifestyle.

My Rating for this book: 4 Stars

Favorite Quotes from this Book

“Never trust a man who can dance.”

“We aim to please Miss Steele”

“Later’s, baby.”

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REVIEW: Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Dear Johnok

five-stars

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life–until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart.

But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else.

Dear John, the letter read… and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

MY THOUGHTS…

Well hello there, Nicholas Sparks! I can now finally make a review for your book after what, three? Four years? This is actually my first ever Nicholas Sparks read. I have grabbed and read this book in 2010 and I can still remember how it made me feel, and here I am, about to be reminded again of how my heart has been shattered four years ago and how I was such an emotional mess after finishing it.

Dear John is a story that talks about John Tyree, the guy who grew up in a single parent home in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was raised by his father who had a problem with his growth and development, and who was so fond of collecting coins. As he grew, John was not entirely enthusiastic with life. Knowing he could make a difference if he joins the US army, he applied for it and was able to successfully land a promising career in the military. But when he met the beautiful and vibrant Savannah Lynn Curtis, of course, his life changed and confusions about his career and love life quickly developed. While he chose his calling, he left Savannah behind though their relationship continued in a form of “love letters”. At first their communication was great. There was consistency and I really thought and hoped that their LDR thing will survive. Of course, it didn’t happen as (*Spoiler’s alert) Savannah fell in love with her friend, Tim. And there, the drama began… And so was my heart being broken.

This story is quite remarkable. The fact that it’s far more real made it become sensational. It’s reality-based. What happened in this book also happens in real life.

It’s just that… 😦 I knew everyone doesn’t always have a happy ending love story –but ugh, this one’s just too heart-shattering. It took me a while to compose myself after reading this.

But surprisingly, although Nicholas Sparks didn’t provide the happy ending the characters at least deserved, he totally earned my respect. He’s the kind of author who gives straight forward plot with a blend of Christian theme– very impressive. And hey, did I tell you that men’s POV is rather different and emotionally driven? This book proves it. Overall, the book is entirely great. It’s compelling, you will really find yourself fully engaged up to its very end.

The Book Is…

Pros

Realistic, emotional, captivating, and well-written. The characters are also remarkable and very well defined.

Con

The ending will really rip your heart apart. You might cry in spite of yourself.

What I think about the Characters

John Tyree

I love this character. He makes me admire the bravery and heroic acts of the military men — sacrificing emotions for the sake of their dedication for the country and fellow countrymen.

Savannah Lynn Curtis

I admire how Savannah held on to their relationship in spite of the distance and how she actually tried to make an effort to make their relationship work. But in the end, I wish she pushed more. I mean, I know it was difficult, but she could’ve extended more of her patience and waited for him– if she truly loved him. But well, who am I to judge? Lol.

My rating for this book: 5 well-deserved stars! 🙂

(I also watched its movie adaptation. But, of course! How could I miss Channing Tatum on big screen? That wouldn’t happen! *laughs. For me though, I prefer the book’s sequence and emotional approach rather than the film’s. 🙂

Favorite Quotes from this Book

“I finally understood what true love meant…love meant that you care for another person’s happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be.”

“When you’re struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it’s just as hard as what you’re going through.”

“Our story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. And although this is the way all stories unfold, I still can’t believe that ours didn’t go on forever.”

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REVIEW: The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

The Surgeon ok

threestars

 

In Boston, there’s a killer on the loose. A killer who targets lone women, who breaks into their apartments and performs terrifying ritualistic acts of torture on them before finishing them off. His surgical skills lead police to suspect he is a physician – a physician who, instead of saving lives, takes them.

But as homicide detective Thomas Moore and his partner Jane Rizzoli begin their investigation, they make a startling discovery. Closely linked to these killings is Catherine Cordell, a beautiful medic with a mysterious past. Two years ago she was subjected to a horrifying rape and attempted murder but she shot her attacker dead. Now she is being targeted by the new killer who seems to know all about her past, her work, and where she lives.

The man she believes she killed seems to be stalking her once again, and this time he knows exactly where to find her…

MY THOUGHTS…

I was never a fan of thriller and suspense genre books, but because a co-worker of mine lent me this book simply because she wants to share its story, I read it out of obligation. Lol. However, there was a part of me which became curious because of the fact that the story is medically-based and yeah, I thought I can relate.

The story involves a rape victim named Catherine Cordell who happened to be a physician. She had an awfully horrible past I couldn’t even imagine which had something to do with a serial killer who violated her and even attempted to take away her– ugh, uterus (womb). Sounds strange? For me, it’s creepy! And a little unnerving. How can somebody take away anyone’s intimate organ? Gross. But the book explained it later. It was because the serial killer hated women, and to satisfy his desire to destroy women, he needed to remove something that proves them their femininity.

“He identifies and removes only the organ he wants. Nothing more. And what he wants is the womb.”

I don’t know but I find this story a bit disturbing. Somehow I managed to finish it (thank God!). Perhaps the only thing that kept me from reading it is the medical involvement in the story. I admit I was curious as of how these detectives do their job when it comes to medical crime investigation. It was pretty cool and very detailed. That’s what makes me get along with it until the very end. But the storyline? Nope. Not even by the way the author particularly incorporated a bit of romance between Catherine and homicide detective Thomas Moore. It wasn’t convincing, and that’s also a problem. What’s worse, (*Spoiler’s Alert) Thomas was not even able to personally save Catherine right on the climax part– when she needed him. It was Rizzoli who’s there. Well. *sigh

Overall the book was entertaining. There was action but not what I was really expecting. It was a good suspense/thriller story. It’s just that this book didn’t get me. However, if you guys want to just read something that connects well with the medical world, it wouldn’t be bad to spare a little bit of your time with this book. 🙂 It’s still a recommended one.

The Book Is…

Pros

Action-packed. The settings, especially the medical and crime labs, are well-detailed.

Con

I find the plot not appealing. There are foul scenes which might not also work for you.

What I Think About the Characters

Catherine Cordell

She’s a physician. Confident and very composed, but deep down inside she’s not self-assured– which is understandable because of her traumatic past. Yet often times she annoys me. There was a time when she blamed herself and every woman for being raped. Wait, what?

Thomas Moore

I think he’s a competent detective, and smart. But there are times when I think he’s not acting reasonably. I also find him– useless. I mean, he wasn’t even there to protect Catherine especially (*Spoiler’s Alert) during the final chapters. 😦

My Rating for this book: 3 Stars. (It’s a great book, but lacks some factors which would’ve gotten more stars.)

Favorite Quotes from this Book

“The most intimate feeling people can share is neither love nor hate, but pain.”

“We never know until the beast of opportunity is staring us in the face.”

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