Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Review: How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest

What the book is about:
This witty self-help book documents the traits that make a Parisian truly Parisian. From Parisienne etiquette to effortless style and beauty, it uncovers the grand enigma that is the classic French woman.

My rating:
4 out of 5 stars.

This was a fun and quick read, one I took great delight in reading. The humor was definitely unique to the author, whom I could tell was well aquainted with what it means to be "Parisian." Ultimately, what I learned from this novel is that Parisian is not simply a culture, but a lifestyle. I bought this book because I was interested in learning more about the popular "French chic" that so many women wish to attain. What exactly is it that gives those Parisiennes their casual and cool aura? I expected to read a practical How-To Guide, but was instead surprised with a hilarious documentation of anecdotes and clever lines that left me laughing out loud. I thought this book to be very clever and well-written, and I admire the artistic elements like the different fonts and beautiful photography collectively added to create the pleasing aesthetic. The visuals were lovely and wonderfully compositioned. I highly recommend this book if you, like me, are interested in learning about the Parisian lifestyle.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016 Wrap-Up!

1. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 4.75/5 stars
Synopsis: If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

2. Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Rating: 4/5 stars 
Synopsis: Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

3. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years later the stories and history continue.With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties. Tan is an astute storyteller, enticing readers to immerse themselves into these lives of complexity and mystery.

4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: First published in 1813, "Pride and Prejudice," Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners - one of the most popular novels of all time - tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet's five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." So begins the novel, that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

What were your favorite reads this month?


Thursday, August 11, 2016

In Honor of National Book Lover's Day...

"We live and breath words. ... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them." — Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

Ever since I was child, books have been my most loyal companions. They, unlike many other friends in the past, have remained by my side through thick and thin. They have been there for me at my worst and at my best. I have lived vicariously through the lives of hundreds of fictional characters and their stories, relishing in the wonder of it all.

These characters—their journeys, their hopes, their most fervent desires—are instilled into my own very heart, and collectively form a single person: That person is myself. I am those characters (both heroins and villains). I am every story I have ever read. I am those fantastical kingdoms, villages, worlds.

There is nothing quite like reading a novel. They are a gift from the minds of some of the most brilliant human beings on this earth. They are an escape route from the mundanity of reality. They provide relief, consolation, truth, and insight.

My passion for books—for the written word—is unlike anything I have felt before. I know indeed, that if it were not for books, I would not be who I am now. Literature is something that I crave incessantly; I can never get enough of it, nor do I think I ever will. It is, one of the greatest innovations that ever occurred to mankind. It has transformed me, and I will forever be thankful.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Review: The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, Book #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Dream Thieves
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Paranormal; fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 437
My rating: 4.5/5

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take? Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.Ronan is one of the raven boys - a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface - changing everything in its wake.

Enchanting, enigmatic, and engaging are the three words I would use to describe the second installment of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle. The first book was great, but this book was amazing. Stiefvater's exceptional writing had me hooked from cover to cover. I could not put this book down. I spent every moment I could immersed in this masterpiece and fascinated by the characters, the world, and all the anomalous happenings that went on. Just like Blue, I found myself in love with each and every one of the raven boys in their own beautiful and unique way. The characterization was flawless--each role was so well-rounded and perfectly portrayed that I could not help but identify with all of them. I feel like I had a little bit of everyone in me. I loved this book to pieces. I would highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone, as it is one of the most fantastic and gripping series I have read, and it seems that each book just gets better and better.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

July Wrap Up 2016

The truth that summer break is almost over is quite heartbreaking. I only have one month left to completely immerse myself in all the books I want to read and take as many photos of books as my phone can handle. Just one month, which is not nearly enough. (Nothing is never really enough, is it?) 

I read four books in the month of July and I can't wait to see what amazing books I'll read in August. Something I guess you should know about me is that I don't quite enjoy making monthly TBRs just because I don't like restricting myself to a certain list of books. 

Anyhow, here is my monthly wrap up! What did you read in the month of July?

1. Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
Rating: 3/5

2. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Rating: 3/5

3. The Yoga of Max's Discontent by Karan Bajaj
Rating: 4/5

4. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 5/5 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Review: The Yoga of Max's Discontent by Karan Bajaj

Title: The Yoga of Max's Discontent
Author: Karan Bajaj
Published: 2016
Pages: 336
My rating: 4/5

Brief synopsis: Max, a man who is living the American Dream, finds himself discontented at heart and begins to ponder over questions about suffering and mortality that have bothered him since his mother's recent death. He one day makes the spontaneous decision to go to India and continue his search for nirvana & transcendence under the tutelage of a Yogi, where he undergoes a total inner transformation that changes his life. 

Review: I remember closing this novel after I had first finished and having to take a few minutes to contemplate what I had just read. This book was wonderful--wonderfully written, wonderfully told. Max's journey as he seeks enlightenment was both captivating and inspiring. Living in a society where everything is quite rushed and overwhelming, I could not help but deeply relate to Max's disillusionment and desire to find that *something more.* This book's pacing was perfect--I am being completely honest when I say I flew through this story; it's definitely a page turner. The principles discussed in this book concerning our place in this universe and who we really are, was interesting. Although I did not agree with all the perspectives and values portrayed, I still enjoyed it and appreciate its thought provoking ideals. Not to mention that mind-boggling ending.

**Disclaimer: I was sent this novel in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my thoughts on the novel; all opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2016 (so far)

Wow, time flies. I can't believe that we are already more than half way through the year. (Although, I don't mind because that just means we're closer to Autumn and Winter and everything cozy.)

I have read a total thirty books so far, and I must say that most of my reads have been quite pleasant. Choosing my top five was not as difficult as I worried it would be, however, since these five are quite undeniably amazing.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Hurray for May!

Hello friends!~

I'll be done with most of my big exams this month (specifically this week), and so I'm looking forward to relaxing and reading some good books for the rest of the month (I hope)!

Here are the books I plan to read in May (in no particular order):

1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara  (Goodreads | Amazon)

2. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (Goodreads | Amazon)

3. Delaying the Real World by Colleen Kinder (Goodreads)

4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (Goodreads | Amazon)

What do you hope to read this month?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April Book Haul!

1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Goodreads | 
Synopsis: This tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Online Book-shopping 101: Where To Buy Cheap Books

Buying books is probably one of the most thrilling sensations for any die hard bibliophiles out there, and as much as we love stocking up on new releases and anticipated reads, we all can't help but cringe a little at the sound of our metaphorically crying wallet. Let's face it: books are pricey!

Of course, that doesn't stop us from buying the books we want--no, need in order to function properly.

Over the years, I've slowly moved away from buying books at full price, and instead have turned to a variety of websites where I can find incredible deals on incredible reads. Using these websites, I have been able to land some wonderful bargains on all sorts of books, both hardcover and paperback, and today I'd like to share these dimes with you all.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - Book Review (Spoiler Free)

Goodreads | Amazon

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review/Discussion: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Beware: Spoiler Warning)

Ah, Sarah J. Maas, once again you have successfully completed the art of tearing my heart into shreds and only leaving my tears in its wake.

This book was great. I liked it—a lot. Okay, more than a lot, really.


I'm going to be 100% honest and admit that I did not love it. And I definitely did not like it nearly as much as its predecessors: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and The Assassin's Blade.

In all sincerity, I feel that the main reasons why I liked this book and gave it a 5 star rating despite it's somewhat mediocre storyline are because 1. The author is Sarah J. Maas. 2. I love the series far too much to let anything cloud my appraisal for it. And, 3. A lot of things happened in this book that I had been waiting for and wanting to happen for a very, very long time.

After the jaw-dropping, action packed ending in HoF, you better believe it when I say I went into Queen of Shadows prepared for the most exciting, thrilling, action filled book in the series yet—or so I thought.

Instead, I was first met with the complete opposite.

Monday, March 28, 2016

My new Bookstagram series: #ExploringBookshops

If you don't know already, I am an avid Bookstagrammer, and in fact, it was posting about books on Instagram that got me started in the field of book-blogging.

Now that I have had my Bookstagram for over three years, one of the struggles I seem to constantly face is a lack in creative inspiration, along with a fear of my posts being too repetitive. There are days, I admit, when I become bored of my account, which lead me to take a break and wait to be hit with a sudden impulse of creativity for my photos.

Recently, I've been thinking quite a lot about ways that I can improve my account and "up my game," I guess you could say. And, hence, I came up with the idea of creating a new series on my Bookstagram: #ExploringBookshops

The hashtag is pretty straight forward, and it surprisingly has not been used yet on Instagram, so I have decided to utilize it myself, in what I hope becomes an interesting collection of photos from all sorts of bookshops (preferably independent) that I visit around my town, state, and one day across the country (and maybe even world!).

My goal is to expose my book-loving friends and followers to the magic of independent bookstores and to encourage people to support their local bookshops, as they are owned by hardworking people who share just as much of a passion for books as we do.

Each time I visit a new bookshop, I will snap a photo, research about its history/ask the employees about the shop, and post about it on my Bookstagram with the new hashtag mentioned above.

I'm very excited to begin this new series, as not only will it inspire me to explore as many independent bookshops as I can, but it will hopefully inspires others to the same as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Love is in the Air: Top 5 Books Every Romantic Should Read

Across the world, February is known as the month of love, and for a lonely book lover like me, it doesn't mean relationships, but romance novels—lots of them. Captivating romance novels are very hard to find, especially when originality comes into play. I've concocted a list of the 5 best romance novels every teen should read. From the cobblestoned streets of Paris, France, to the frigid chill of Chicago, these following novels evoke a deep sense of what it must feel like to be in love, and before you know it, you've fallen head over heels in love with relatable fictional characters and dream-like settings.

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
 Perkins is by far the queen of contemporary romance, and Anna and the French Kiss is the living proof. This novel follows American student Anna Oliphant as she travels to Paris for boarding school, where she meets the "English-French-American-Boy-Masterpiece" Etienne St. Clair. Talk about swoon worthy. I guarantee that you'll leave this book feeling gut wrenched and yet extremely happy. This book definitely gives you one heck of an emotional rollercoaster—from tears of distress to tears of joy, and it'll stick with you forever.

2. The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Time travel and romance? Yup. I know. This book is quite the tearjerker. Niffenegger's poetic way with words allows her to literally reach into your heart and give it a good twist as you read this novel. An absolutely remarkable romance, this book tells the tragic love story of Clare Abshire and her husband Henry DeTamble—who also happens to have the power to time travel. The problem: he time travels completely against his will. The novel explores Clare and Henry's relationship, from the day they met, and how Henry's ability to travel is both incredible and terrifying, with the boundaries of their relationship constantly being pushed to the breaking point.

Update: #CurrentlyReading

I thought I'd make a little post sharing what I'm currently reading, and that is: Four by Veronica Roth.

It's been 2 years since I first read the Divergent trilogy. And to finally be back in the world of Factions is absolutely incredible. When I first heard that Veronica Roth was going to be releasing Four after her Divergent series, I didn't quite take any interest in it. After finishing Allegiant, I thought I was done with the books and knowing more about Four just didn't seem quite necessary. 

But, here I am, 2 years later, reading the book I never thought I'd read, and I'm actually enjoying it. There's something satisfying about hearing a story from a different perspective. Now that I'm discovering more about Four's world and what he went through, I feel like I've established an even higher level of connection with him than I had while reading Divergent. 

What's your current read? 

Wanna keep up with all my latest reads and such? Check out my bookstagram.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson - Book Review

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: June and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dive and wears red lipstick and does the talking for both of them.

But three years later, at sixteen, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways... until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life.

The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to each other, they'd have the chance to remake their world.

Review: I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I turned the last page of this magnificent novel—I hadn't felt such a vast array of emotions all at once in a very long time, and I definitely wasn't expecting this book to give me a punch in the gut like it did...

Friday, February 5, 2016

January Wrap Up - A Successful Reading Month

What a month! In January, despite the vast amount of things I had to get done for school (finals suck), I happened to get a pretty hefty amount of reading done, which I'm genuinely happy about. My Goodreads goal for 2016 is a grand (not really) total of 50 books, because last year, I missed my goal by ONE FREAKING BOOK. 49 out of 50. Can you tell I wasn't happy? I literally wanted to slam my head against the wall. I don't think I'm ever going to forgive myself...but anyway, that's a whole other story for some other time.

Today, I'm going to be sharing with you all the books I read in the month of January, along with my ratings. A link to the Goodreads info will be listed beneath each book.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch - Mini quick review

My rating: 2.5/5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the high survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the Kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians' general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend and future king, Mather—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she's scaling towers and fighting enemy soldiers just as she's always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn't go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Talk about disappointment.

I went into this book expecting so much, especially after hearing so many wonderful reviews, but honestly...