Thursday, May 31, 2018

An Innocent Life #24: The Start of Summer


I seem to somehow skip all the months, and now we are in May. Well, technically tomorrow will be June, AND IT WILL REALLY BE SUMMER. I am not ready. At all.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review: From Twinkle, With Love

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Source: Edelweiss
Date Read: 5/11/18 to 5/17/18
336 pages


Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Make no mistake, I wanted to love this book so bad. Especially since I absolutely loved When Dimple Met Rishi. But this, in the end, just didn’t work out for me. And honestly, I’m 100% sure it’s a me thing.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Only Human

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel
The Themis Files #3
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release Date: May 1st, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 3/18/18 to 3/24/18
336 pages


In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I bit late with this book but hey at least I actually completed the review. 

So just to back up a bit, this is the third and final installment of this trilogy, and I guess to get straight to the point, I don’t think I loved this as much as everyone else did. Which is fine because I still very much enjoyed it, BUT it just didn’t meet my expectations. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 4/10/18
400 pages


In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged or reviewed a book in so long. Whoops. Well it WAS that time of the semester where I’m doing ALL THE THINGS, and every time I had some free time, I wasn’t motivated. But that all changes TODAY. Maybe.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: The Astonishing Color of After

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: March 20th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 3/14/18
480 pages


Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Hello there, long time no see. I’m back from…wherever I’ve been, to review The Astonishing Color of After, an amazing debut that I have had the wonderful pleasure of reading. Seriously, it’s only March and I’ve found a 2018 favorite. And I mean, yes, though it is probably due to the fact that I related so much to the biracial main character, there was just so much more to it than that.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Pros & Cons of Binge Reading


I'm currently in the process of reading an entire series that I read the first book of exactly 3 years ago. And this is actually pretty huge for me because I almost never, NEVER binge read or watch ANYTHING. Yet this year, I have done both of those things! Which is why I will now list out the pros and the cons of binge reading.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

No Review Required (Mermurder & Other Horribleness)


I have read a bunch of books this year, and I have been meaning to write a "No Review Required" post for a while now. But that just didn't end up happening, and before I knew it, there were many potential books I could post about. So, I decided to just narrow it down to the ones I actually can talk about (kinda).

Monday, March 5, 2018

Review: The Boy on the Bridge

The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey
The Girl With All the Gifts #2
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Source: Macmillan
Date Read: 2/16/18 to 2/19/18
392 pages


Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

The Boy on the Bridge is the sequel, or really the companion novel, of the The Girl With All The Gifts. The latter is now a movie and has won a whole bunch of awards, hence the reason behind my low expectations for the follow-up. Yet in the end, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed The Boy on the Bridge.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

An Innocent Life #23: February Recap


I feel like this month just came and went so quickly, yet at the same time I AM TIRED. This year is just going by, and I am not ready haha.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How To Deal With The Pressures Of Social Media


One of the reasons why I'm such a huge procrastinator stems from the fact that I am constantly on social media. Specifically, Twitter. It's gotten to the point where I continue to refresh my feed even after only a couple of minutes, knowing that there will be NOTHING new.

This seems to be a problem for a bunch of people as well, so I've decided to share some tips that I use when I want to remain focused on reading or writing, or just dealing with social media in general. (Thanks to Shannon for contributing some of these!)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: Daughter of the Siren Queen

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller
Daughter of the Pirate King #2
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: February 27th, 2018
Source: Macmillan
Date Read: 2/5/18 to 2/7/18
352 pages


Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I've waited a good while before actually sitting down to review this (mainly because I've been super busy), BUT ALSO because I don't even know how to review this (why am I a reviewer again?). I loved Daughter of the Pirate King. I loved Daughter of the Siren Queen, but it definitely took a different route than I expected.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: Tess of the Road

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Release Date: February 27th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 2/1/18 to 2/6/18
544 pages


In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I have pretty mixed feelings about this book, mainly stemming from the fact that I've forgotten everything from Seraphina and Shadow Scale (whoops). Nevertheless, Tess of the Road grew on me. ALSO, THE COVER IS STUNNING.

Friday, February 9, 2018

How To Survive A Book Buying Ban


I've realized that I have been writing and posting way too many reviews in a row (who AM I??), yet this post that I was supposed to write in January just never happened. So here I am, with non-review post. Sorry for the delay.

Anyways, this year, I am greatly limiting the number of books bought. I think. Or at least I'll try to. And so in this post, I'll be sharing tips on how I resist the temptation to buy books. And survive the book buying ban.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: When Light Left Us

When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Release Date: February 13th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 1/23/18 to 1/25/18
416 pages


When the Vasquez siblings’ father left, it seemed nothing could remedy the absence in their lives . . . until a shimmering figure named Luz appeared in the canyon behind their house.

Luz filled the void. He shot hoops with seventeen-year-old Hank’s hands. He showed fourteen-year-old Ana cinematic beauty behind her eyelids. He spoke kindly to eight-year-old Milo. But then Luz left, too, and he took something from each of them. As a new school year begins, Ana, Hank, and Milo must carry on as if an alien presence never altered them. But how can they ever feel close to other people again when Luz changed everything about how they see the world and themselves?
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

It's times like these where I forget HOW to review a book. And especially one like this, which borders on the line between contemporary and science fiction. Some of the reasons why I picked this up were 1) written by Leah Thomas, who also wrote Because You'll Never Meet Me and 2) it reminds me of Shaun Hutchinson's We Are the Ants, which I loved, and 3) this is totally my type of book, and I wasn't wrong about that.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Review: Noteworthy

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Publisher: Abrams Books
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 1/27/18 to 1/28/18
400 pages


A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I'm about, oh a little less than a year late with this review. But guess what? I finally read Noteworthy! I don't know why I have been hesitating this whole time, because it completely met all my expectations, and even went beyond them. Past Val was right to anticipate this book all that time ago.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

An Innocent Life #22: January Recap


Hello hello there. *looks at blog posts* Wow, I did NOT post as much as I wanted to this January. Well, it doesn't matter because I read 26 books this month and I am proud. What an achievement.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review: Reign the Earth

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
The Elementae #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 30th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 1/16/18 to 1/18/18
448 pages


Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

The first thing I would like to point out about Reign the Earth is that it is around 450 pages. And that is fine and all, but it really needed to be a bit more enticing and thrilling than what it actually was. It honestly did not help that the night I started this book, I had a dream that completely blew the actual book out of the water.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: Reign of the Fallen

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Reign of the Fallen #1
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January 23rd, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 1/10/18 to 1/14/18
384 pages


Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I think Reign of the Fallen would have flown completely under my radar if it wasn't for all the buzz surrounding Reign of the Fallen. And then it didn't occur to me until much later that this was the same author who wrote Fear the Drowning Deep (which I really enjoyed!). Unfortunately, I don't think this completely blew me away, especially since the hype definitely made me expect so much more. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Review: American Panda

American Panda by Gloria Chao
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 1/14/18 to 1/15/18
320 pages


At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents' master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can't bring herself to tell them the truth--that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I don't think I've ever encountered as many feelings as I did with American Panda, a highly anticipated book written by an #ownvoices Taiwanese-American author. I'm not going to lie, I don't think I got out of this unscathed. But at the same time, this book will add so much to the community.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Reviews: Books Told In Verse


I recently received a couple of review books that were pretty short reads, since they were in verse. And so instead of writing out my thoughts in three separate reviews (which would have been maybe a few sentences per post haha), I've lumped them all in one!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 9th, 2018
Source: Netgalley
Date Read: 1/4/18 to 1/6/18
400 pages


A girl who can’t speak and a boy who can’t hear go on a journey of self-discovery and find support with each other in this gripping, emotionally resonant novel from bestselling author Sara Barnard. Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Jandy Nelson.

Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life. The condition’s name has always felt ironic to her, because she certainly does not “select” not to speak. In fact, she would give anything to be able to speak as easily and often as everyone around her can. She suffers from crippling anxiety, and uncontrollably, in most situations simply can’t open her mouth to get out the words.

Steffi’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to help him acclimate. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk. As they find ways to communicate, Steffi discovers that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. But as she starts to overcome a lifelong challenge, she’ll soon confront questions about the nature of her own identity and the very essence of what it is to know another person.
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

I had quite a tough time reviewing this, as I really liked this book, yet didn’t really know what to say about it (In other words, it’s one of those). Because of that, I’ll be listing out my likes and dislikes instead of a usual written out review.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sequel Smashers Challenge

As part of the new year, I've decided to participate in a reading challenge (and the first one in a while too!) Together with my buds Shannon, Holly, and Rashika (the one who came up with this idea AND name), I'll be reading as many sequels as possible, because honestly I SUCK at continuing on with series. Here I'll be featuring the ones I currently plan to read!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Blog and Reading Resolutions


And would you look at that, it’s already 2018! Sure, I waited about four days to post this, mainly because the only thing I’ve been doing IS reading. Which YAY but at the same time, I also wanted to blog more this year?

Let’s go over some resolutions or changes I plan to take on this new year

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