Book Review: Moonlight (Crowns of the Twelve #2)

Moonlight book cover


Review Rate: Five Open Books

5 open books
Author: Ann Hunter
Genre: Fantasy / Retellings
Published: March 3, 2014 by Afterglow Productions
Support the Author: 

amazon buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Disclosure:  I just thought I’d let you know that I received this book  for free from the publisher to give my honest review. I’m not paid to do this review. All my opinions are of my own are not influenced in any way from the author and publisher. 


One vow. One curse. One thousand moons. While Princess Aowyn’s six brothers are favored by their father, Aowyn is the jewel in her mother’s crown. When the Queen dies, Aowyn takes a vow to protect her brothers and father from the hungry eyes of the queen’s handmaiden, Ciatlllait – who is more than she seems. In order to save her family, Aowyn risks a dangerous deal with the dark creature Sylas Mortas. But magic comes with a price: and Aowyn soon realizes the one she has paid is too steep. Only true love can reverse the spell…but it will take one thousand moons.

Set in a Celtic world, “Moonlight” is the story of faith and true love woven through a breathtaking retelling of the classic folktale “The Swan Princess”


Truth be told. After reading The Subtle BeautyI didn’t expect much from this book. I thought Moonlight will just be like The Subtle Beauty: cheesy and lacking in emotional connection.

But boy oh boy was I surprised. Not only did I enjoy the story, it also made me cry, which seldom happens when I ready fairy tales. Anyway, on to my review.

Moonlight is a re-telling of one of the most popular childhood fairy tales, The Swan Princess. But instead of reading Odette’s story and how she became a swan, the author, Anne Hunter, gave it a different twist. A really interesting twist at that.

It tells the story of a young Celtic princess, Aowyn, and her seven brothers and her struggles to defeat her evil stepmother who poisoned his father. It also tells the love story of Aowyn and Xander, Eoghan’s father in The Subtle Beauty.

What really impressed me the most is Aowyn’s character. Even though she’s a princess of a prosperous kingdom, she was humble, self-less and strong.  She wasn’t also naive. She felt something different in one of her mother’s maid and she made sure to keep an eye on her. If it weren’t for her, her family would’ve perished without a fight.

Another characteristic that I love about Aowyn is her integrity. She stuck to her promise with the devil even if it meant losing the person she loved. Her brothers didn’t disappoint as well. Although at the beginning, most of them were proud and self-absorbed, they saw their sister’s sacrifices throughout the years and made sure to be their for her when she needed the most.

Xander’s character was also different from what he was in The Subtle Beauty.  In Moonlight, he was kind, caring and humble. It was easy for him to abandon ship when the going got tough for him and his army, but he stayed and tried his best to finish the mission he was sent out to.

As most fairy tales promise, the ending of Moonlight demonstrated that love conquers all.  It definitely has a happy ending  that you could truly savor, which is the perfect anti-climax after a stormy beginning and a tumultuous middle.

You’ll find that Moonlight isn’t just about a love story of star-crossed lovers, but it’s also a tale about family, duty, honor, integrity and righteous sacrifice. For me, I find them to be the right ingredients of what fairy tales should teach us.

Favorite Quotes: 

“Fear departs when faith endures.” ~ Naomi W. Randall

Find something in life worth fighting for.

Be more than one thing. Be. More.

Get a copy: amazon buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Book Review: The Subtle Beauty (Crowns of the Twelve #1)

The Subtle Beauty book coversource:

Review rate: Four Open Books

4 open books the girl in the steel corset

Author: Anne Hunter
Genre: Fantasy
Published: January 2, 2014 by Afterglow Productions
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Disclosure: Before I proceed, I just thought I’d let you know that I received this book for free. And I’m not paid to do this review. All my opinions are of my own are not influenced in any way from the author and publisher. 


A cursed prince. A vain beauty. Glory is the seventh daughter of Balthazar, High King of the Twelve Kingdoms. Glory hopes that – of all her sisters – she can escape the fate of a loveless marriage. But on the night she plans to elope with the royal falconer, her world comes crashing down: Her father announces Glory’s betrothal to Eoghan of the Blood Realm – a prince no one has ever seen. The prince is said to be a recluse, cursed and deformed by the gods for the sins of his power-hungry father. Yet when Glory is trapped in Blackthorn Keep she discovers that not everything is what she expected. An insulting gryphon, a persistent ghost, and a secret plan to usurp the prince keep Glory reeling.

In this retelling of BEAUTY & THE BEAST, can Glory overcome her vanity to learn that what she wants isn’t what she needs—and save the cursed prince?


We’re all familiar with the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. I’m sure that many of you would even say that it’s one of your favorite classic fairy tales. Likewise, Belle is also my favorite among the Disney princesses. She’s smart, bookish and beautiful. Some of the things I can relate to — Hahaha! Just kidding!

So anyway, when I was asked to read and write a review for the The Subtle Beauty, I didn’t think twice. A twist to may favorite classic fantasy store is something I couldn’t resist.

However, instead of the prince being cursed for being rude and mean, he was cursed because of his father’s greed. And instead of the heroine being the kind, beautiful and smart woman who can change the prince’s life, Glory is vain, rude and selfish.

It’s interesting to note that in The Subtle Beauty, beauty is the beast and beast is the beauty — wait. Did that make sense? I got a bit confused there.

Anyway, the story began with Eoghan’s mother heavily pregnant of her and his father worried that a prince will be born with no lands to rule over. Out of desperation, Xander (the prince’s father) made a deal with the devil in exchange for land, power and wealth for his son. To make the long story short, he got what he wish with an expensive price to pay.

Fast forward to many years, Eoghan meets Glory after being betrothed to one another, and began their love-hate relationship. But, like many fairy tale endings, love conquered in the end. I’m not going to relate everything here since I don’t want to spoil it. This, I gotta say though, is that The Subtle Beauty, despite its cliche, is an interesting read.

I liked how the writer Ann Hunter twisted the plot to answer the question what if beauty is isn’t beautiful in the inside? Will beast still love her? Well, in the story it’s possible even if the roles were reversed.

What I didn’t like, though, is that I didn’t fall in love with their love story. Perhaps the reason is that it lacked the emotional connection. Sure, the prince was kind to Glory in most instances but, for me, it wasn’t enough. I thought Glory falling in love with the was premature because half the time they’re together was spent on banter. And it’s not enough to make someone fall in love, in my opinion.

There were some deja-vu-like instances in the story. It contained sequence of events similar to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. What took my by surprise, however, was that the ending didn’t end where the prince died. It was nice to read that Glory grew from a spoiled rich princess in to this lovely, mature woman post-Eoghan. The character development was really something.

As for the ending, well, let me warn you that I find it to be too cheesy for my taste. Hahaha! I’m not going to tell you what. Suffice to say that it made me cringe a little bit like I did when I re-read Twilight. But don’t worry. It’s not all that bad. Maybe you’ll find it romantic.

Overall, The Subtle Beauty is an interesting. It’s a nice re-telling of the classic fairy tale we’ve all grown to love. The writing style was satisfactory. Their story didn’t communicate well with me, but I enjoyed it. I rate it four open books because it has a good story. But not great enough to make me go gaga. I can put my e-book reader down any time without an ounce of resistance, if you ya know what I mean. 😉

Favorite Quotes: 

I found none that I would like to treasure. Sorry.

If I read it again, I’ll probably find one or two quotable quotes.

Read The Subtle Beauty:

Up next: Book review on Moonlight (Crowns of the Twelve #2). 

Book Review: Champagne and Lemon Drops

Kindle with Champagne and Lemon Drops book cover

2 open books

Author: Jean Oram
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Published: March 7, 2013 by Jean Oram
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One woman. Two men. One meddling small town.

Raised by her older sister in the small town of Blueberry Springs, all Beth Wilkinson wants is to create a family so big she’ll never be alone. Things are going great until her accountant fiancé, Oz, experiences a family trauma, forcing him to rethink everything from his own career to their nuptial plans—leaving Beth alone.

As Beth works to rediscover her former bold and independent self in hopes of reattracting Oz, she catches the eye of the charming new city doctor, Nash. Not only does he see her as she’d like to be seen, but he knows exactly what he wants from life—and that includes Beth.

Torn between the two men, as well as two versions of herself, Beth discovers that love and dreams are much more complicated than they seem.


I’m not gonna lie. I read this book because the title seemed interesting. Jean Oram also has the same last name as with one of my favorite chick lit authors, Kelly Oram. So maybe it’s going to be awesome too? Plus, the book cover was eye-catching. I know, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But what can I say? I’m but a girl who’s a sucker for pretty things.

Anyway, when I read the prologue, I thought this is going to be interesting. Two guys fighting over a girl? Hmmm… sounded like an intense love triangle to me.

Then, there was Oz, who’s supposed to be super in love with her fiance, Beth, but is somehow experiencing an early mid-life crisis. And because he doesn’t want Beth to get mixed up with his personal issues, he asked for a cool off to figure things out on what he wants to do with his life. Hmmm… a guy in a period of self-discovery. I liked it.

But then after that part, the story went on a downhill. I couldn’t wait for it to end. While I understand that Beth was left on a cliff hanger, I just don’t understand her actions. Yes, she used Nash just to get Oz jealous but it wasn’t fair for him. Considering that Oz was in such a vulnerable, her actions only pushed him away. If she was my friend, I’d probably say, “Serves you right!” Haha!

Anyway, the story was interesting in the first and last parts. The in between was a major snooze fest in my opinion, so I gave it a two-open book rating. If you want to read to unwind after a long day or if you want to clear your thoughts so you can sleep, I’d recommend this book. That was pretty much the case every time I go to bed.

Favorite Quotes: 

There are no guarantees in life, but we can always improve our odds a little.

Men can’t always say the words we need to hear.

Don’t rush one of the most important things in your life. … Trust your instincts. Trust your heart.


Book Review: The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (Fred, the Vampire Accountant #1)

The Utterly Uninteresting and unadventurous tales of Fred, the Vampire accountant book cover


5 open booksAuthor: Drew Hayes
Genre: Paranormal / Vampire Fantasy
Published: July 26, 2014 by REUTS Publications, LLC
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Some people are born boring. Some live boring. Some even die boring. Fred managed to do all three, and when he woke up as a vampire, he did so as a boring one. Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort.

One fateful night – different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful – Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos that is the parahuman world, a world with chipper zombies, truck driver wereponies, maniacal necromancers, ancient dragons, and now one undead accountant trying his best to “survive.” Because even after it’s over, life can still be a downright bloody mess.


The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant  is one of those books that I hate to see it end. It’s good thing that is the first of the book series because I definitely want to read more about Fred and his band of paranormal misfits.

If you’re a vampire fantasy freak, like I am, then you have to read this. The book quite similar with  the Twilight series, Vampire Academy  and Bloodlines (just you know, the latter two book series are personal favorites), what with magic, vampires, werewolves, romantic love interests and all, but it has none of the seriousness, the violence and the heavy drama those books offer. Well, it does have a little violence but nothing bloody and gore at all.

Let us just put it this way. The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (yes, I’m fully aware that’s it a mouthful and it takes several taps on my keyboard to write the entire title, but hey I just like to type) is a paranormal, vampire fantasy novel that has a chock full of humor and wit infused in to the plot as well as in the characters.

Although Fred is a vampire, you may guessed by now, he doesn’t have the suave of Adrian Ivashkov, the sexy, dreamy royal moroi character in Richelle Mead‘s Bloodlines or the strength and bloodlust of Damon Salvatore before he turned good in the The Vampire Diaries.  He doesn’t even have the wealth of Edward Cullen. He is none of those irresistible vampire heroes that many vampire fantasy authors have created. He’s just a lowly, lonely, weakling vampire accountant who’s content in working on his own home and feeding on packed blood.

Krystal, on the other hand, is a tough chic who opened the vast world of paranormal and parahuman to Fred. Since their meeting, his whole life changed and has led to him to meeting other undead beings just like him. She’s independent, strong, smart, funny and not afraid at all. She and Fred are complete opposites but I love their tandem.

Since Fred’s discovery of the vast parahuman world, he’s met lots of other beings who share the same secret. There’s Albert, Bubba, Nick, Amy, Richard — and they’re just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll leave you to discover what they are. Teeheehee!

Indeed, The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant  is a worthwhile read. The writing style is conversational. It was very easy to understand. There were some parts that had me at the edge of my seat. It’s basically perfect for light reading and still get your dose of vampire fantasy. Best of all, it’s a comedy.

So go ahead and discover the world of Fred, the vampire accountant. As for me, I’m looking forward to book 2. And I’ll definitely keep Drew Hayes in author radar from now on.

Favorite Quotes: 

We aren’t humans, but that doesn’t make us monsters.

Harvest is one of the hardest working periods on a farm. A night off is not just reason to celebrate; it is reason to celebrate to the umpteenth degree.

The upside of never having good looks was that I didn’t have to fear losing them with age. Pity I wasn’t pretty though; they would have kept for eternity then. Although, for all I know, I wouldn’t have been bitten if I were good-looking, so I suppose there’s no sense second-guessing fate.

Thee people didn’t matter; their laughter wasn’t important. The only thing we needed to focus on was saving our friend.

I missed the days when I would silently judge seemingly crazy people in a park, instead of being one of them.

Let me just say that while I am not skilled in many things, I am a twentieth-degree black belt in running away.






Book Review: Oasis (The Last Humans Book 1)

Oasis Book Cover


4 open books the girl in the steel corset

Author: Dima Zales
Genre: Dystopian / Science Fiction
Published: January 19, 2016 (Expected) by Mozaika Publications
Support the Author: 

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My name is Theo, and I’m a resident of Oasis, the last habitable area on Earth. It’s meant to be a paradise, a place where we are all content. Vulgarity, violence, insanity, and other ills are but a distant memory, and even death no longer plagues us.

I was once content too, but now I’m different. Now I hear a voice in my head, and she tells me things no imaginary friend should know. Her name is Phoe, and she is my delusion.

Or is she?


So I got a chance to give a review  on Oasis (The Last Humans Book 1) before it’s published, and I’m pretty excited to do.

Just so you know, this was sent to me by the publisher via Tomoson to provide a review, but all my opinions are my own and are not biased. Also, I didn’t receive any payment in any form for my honest review.

Okay, now we’re cleared on that, let’s proceed with my review.

I don’t recall ever reading sci-fi book so when I got an offer on my inbox, I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, the synopsis seemed interesting.

And it was.

I thought it was going to be something like the Maze Runner, The Hunger Games or Divergent, but it wasn’t. Although the story was set in a post-apocalyptic era, they weren’t enslaved or segregated by districts or personality types. There were no zombies either.

What it does have is technology so advanced that it’ll get  Star Trek fans excited. Augmented reality, virtual reality, nanocytes, hovering/flying disks, super smart AIs, mind control, mind manipulation, holograms, extrapolation — you name it, this book probably has it. I got lost in tracking everything because they were just too many than my brain can cope. Haha!

Don’t get me wrong when I compared Oasis to the top books mentioned above. I also love them — all three book series. This was just different.

What I like about the Oasis is that it had me guessing all throughout the book, except for Phoe. I knew right then and there that she’s an AI, what with her ability to hack into different systems and control Theo’s nanocytes inside him. Most of the time, it had me flipping through the pages of my Kendra (My Kindle’s name. She has a name and don’t laugh) because I just wanted to know what’s going to happen next.

I also like Theo’s character. Although he’s sort of skeptical, he’s open minded to a lot of things. And that’s probably led him to meet Phoe and to know more about their past and everything behind Oasis.

I also like Phoe. She kind of reminds me of Scarlet Johansson’s character in the movie, Her. 

As for the plot, I think it’s pretty unique, the goo and all. There were some parts, though, that kind of reminds me of Ender’s Game, Her, and Inception. Despite that, I enjoyed the book.

What I didn’t like, however, was that I got lost in some areas because I had a hard time following the conversation. For instance, the part when Phoe was explaining the rationality between being able to materialize objects through hand gestures. I didn’t get that part.

Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable one. As a matter of fact, I want to know what’s next now that Theo knows the truth behind Oasis.

Overall, I give it a four-open book rating because the plot was unique and hard to guess. I also want to know what’s going to happen next. I think the next book is going to be an interesting one. I do hope though that they’d be more characters as I feel like the entire book was focused on just Theo and Phoe. But then, I guess that’s how that story should go.

Anyway, if you enjoy reading dystopian novels and sci-fi, Oasis (The Last Humans) is worth the read. You can pre-order a copy on Amazon.

Favorite Quotes: 

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

His sense of humor was permanently replaced by the Pythagorean Theorem.

The good of the society outweighs the good of an individual.


Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park book cover


5 open books

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult
Published: February 26, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press
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Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

I got to say I love Eleanor & Park!

I first learned about the book when a friend of mine posted a film adaption about it on Facebook so I got curious. I thought hey if she’s excited about then it must be worth the read.

And dang was I right.

From the epilogue to the very last paragraph of the last chapter, I was hooked.

It’s one of those books that I can’t put down; that I was willing to stay up so late just so I could finish it; that if I stop, I’d still be wide awake wondering what’s going to happen next so I might as well just go on reading.

Oh, the feels. I still can’t get over it as of this writing.

Eleanor & Park is a story about two high school students who had didn’t have a good first impression about each other but who ended up falling in love. It tells the tale of teen romance, of how two common interests (music and comic books) can lead to a beautiful, heart-wrenching love story.

Another thing that I love about this story is that it isn’t shallow at all, even the drama. My eyes even got watery at the part when Park’s mom told him of what it’s like to be with a large family. I, myself, belong to a big family. Food was scarce growing up. I even remember my mom feeding us rice porridge with cut taro for a week because money was tight. Sure it filled our stomachs but it never fully satiated our hunger.

Anyway, I really like their tender romance. It definitely reminded me of the glory of my first love. I also warmed up to the characters, especially Eleanor. She doesn’t care about what she looks like and she doesn’t care if she’ different, and that’s make her cool. And Park, for me, is like a modern-day knight in shining armor.

What I like about his character is he stands by what he believes. He didn’t even care what his friends think when he started dating Eleanor. I think that’s something that we all should learn, especially those who are in the dating market looking for a partner. There’s more to a person than looks.

Overall, I give this book five open books because I couldn’t get enough of it. The ending is a cliffhanger, making me think that writer wants us to make our own interpretation about what she meant about the three-word long postcard Eleanor sent to park.

If you just want to feel giddy and in love, this book is worth the read.

Favorite Quotes: 

Maybe he was Filipino. Was that in Asia? Probably. Asias’s out-of-control huge.

Eleanor had only known one Asian person in her life — Paul, who was in her match class at her old school. Paul was Chinese. His parents had moved to Omaha to get away from the Chinese government. (Which seemed like an extreme choice. Like they’d looked at the globe and said, “Yup.. That’s as far away as possible.”)

(Because being assaulted with maxi pads is a great way to win friends and influence people.)

Sometimes she wondered if the shape of his eyes affected how he saw things. That was probably the most racist question of all time.

Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.

“I don’t like you, Park,” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. “I…”– her voice nearly disappeared–“think I live for you.”

All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mind anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?

“It’d be better if you thought I was pretty when I don’t.”

“Nothing before you counts,” he said. “And I can’t even imagine an after.”

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like an art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.


Book Review: A Spy Like Me (Circle of Spies Book 1)

A Spy Like Me on Kindle

2 open books

Author: Laura Pauling
Genre: Young Adult / Spy Thriller
Published: April 9, 2012 by Redpoint Press
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Games can be deadly.

Eighteen-year-old Savvy Bent expects fireworks on her first date with Malcolm – in Paris! Except over a picnic of sparkling cider and strawberry tarts, a sniper shoots at them.

That’s only the beginning. From the top of the Eiffel Tower to the depths of the catacombs, Savvy must sneak, deceive, and spy to save her family and friends and figure out whether Malcolm is one of the bad guys before she completely falls for him.


I’m not really a fan of teen espionage. For me, I find it superficial and over the top. However, I did enjoy that movie, Spy Kids, so when this was placed on a free offer on Bookbub, I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, the book cover looks really nice.

I know. I know.

I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for great covers. So yeah, any one who’s planning on publishing a book some time in the future, it’s important to consider a really great cover for your book.

Moving on. The book, A Spy Like Me begins with Savvy Bent, the heroine, going out on a date with a hot waiter, Malcolm, in a river near the Eiffel Tower. The date started off pretty smooth before her expectations were crushed by a huge disappointment that her date failed to prepare something romantic. Despite that, they exchanged romantic banters and with a few flirtations here and there.

Now I can probably understand her sentiment, but c’mon. That was their first date. It’s not like they’ve been dating for months and it was a special day for them. So I find the opening scene pretty shallow.

And then while exchanging flirty banters at each other, bullets were suddenly raining on them, which was kind of a surprise on my part. So I thought, why it’s only the first chapter and I’m start to get some good action. Yay!

But the excitement only stayed as long as the first chapter.

Because after that I was like what was that all about?

Although I find that Savvy was a concerned about her date’s well-being, I think she could’ve done better than by lying to her dad and checking up on him at cafe he was working at the next day. It’s good that she remained calm during the whole the time but anyone who’s smart enough would report the incident to the police. I know I would.

After that first part, the next chapters where like a blur to me. I was having a hard time following who was who and what’s the reaction and all that. Sure, the plot was getting interesting the moment her friend Aimee disappeared and she was pulling some spy tricks to find her friend. I think that was pretty noble of her to do that.

However, the way I saw it, it seemed what Savvy was doing was all child’s play to her. And even though she was in the brink of death, she still didn’t take her situation seriously. Worse of all, most of the sticky situations she fell into was largely due to her own shallowness and, can I say, stupidity? If you’re going to stalk someone or spy on someone, you’re going to come prepared, right? Like I said, all child’s play despite being in a serious situation.

Another reason I’m giving this book a three-open-book rating is that the whole writing was pretty confusing, especially Savvy’s thoughts. Hers was all over the place. But since she’s a teenager, I’ll forgive her because her fickle mindedness is probably due to hormonal changers in her body, you know. Teenagers (cue: rolled eyeballs) Haha!

Anyway, I find the plot original for a spy book. However, the characters didn’t warm up to me. Even Malcolm, who’s supposed to be hot and gorgeous. The storyline was pretty confusing. It also lacked the element of thrill as it is expected in an espionage book. To be honest, as I ran the scenes in my mind, I felt like was watching a slapstick action movie. Irritating and not funny at all.

If you’re looking to pass the time, then this could be good for you. However, if you want something that will get your heart racing, you’re better off reading another book. The say the Gallagher Girls series is a better option.

As for me, I’m not sure if I’ll read the next two series. I might in the future if I have nothing else to read. But for now, the answer is no.

Favorite Quotes: 

None, unfortunately. As I said, Savvy’s thoughts were all over the place and the writing was pretty confusing.


Book Review: Geek Girl (Book 1)

Geek Girl Book 1 cover

Image Source: Goodreads.com4 open books the girl in the steel corset

Author: Holly Smale
Genre: Young Adult
Published:  February 28, 2013 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
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Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?


 My name is Harriet Manners, and I’m a geek.

That had me from the start and couldn’t put down my Kendra (it’s what I call my Kindle. Haha) until I finished reading Geek Girl 1. And do you know what I think? I thought that was fun. It didn’t fail to make me a laugh a good hearty laughter. Hubby thought I was going crazy.

Anyway, on to my review.

I find the story quite similar to Anne Hathaway’s movie The Princess Diary in the sense that they’re both geeky and who turned in to a beautiful swan. In Harriet’s case, however, she turns to one only when she has a photo shoot or a modeling gig. Other than those days, she’s back to her normal, quirky style. Also, Harriet is not a princess.

Also, her discovery as a model was nothing like a fairy tale, which I liked because it’s something that can happen in real life, like this local model who was discovered while cleaning their yard outside.

What I enjoyed reading about the book is that there were a lot of geeky nice-to-know stuff inserted here and there to connect with what Harriet was feeling or experiencing, whether it’s feeling worried that her parents wouldn’t let her fly to Russia or feeling twitterpated because Lion Boy is noticing her. The trivia facts were fun to read. I even share some to hubby. I also got the Harriet fever because there were instances wherein I start a conversation with “Did you know…” Haha. Crazy, right?

Another thing that I like about the book is the characters. Harriet is surrounded by people with different personalities who loves her just as her, like her gay agent, her quirky dad, her serious step-mom and her stylish best friend. It also tackled about bullying, which is kind of a big deal for teens. What’s interesting is that despite the humiliation, Harriet never changed who she is just to please her bully. She stayed true to herself even though she’s fast becoming a super model.

Now, you may be wondering why I give this only four open books despite the positive feedback? Well, to be honest I really can’t remember. I read this back in August and I rated it on my Goodreads with four stars. For some reason, I really can’t recall but I’m sure there was a very good reason for it. Otherwise, I would’ve rated it with five open books. When I do remember, I’ll let you know.

In the mean time, Geek Girl is a teen romance with light comedy. It’s great if you want something to keep your mind off of things while having a good hearty laugh.

Favorite Quotes: 

Nobody hopped into a wardrobe to find Narnia; they hopped in, thinking it was just a wardrobe. They didn’t climb up the Faraway Tree, knowing it was a Faraway Tree; they thought it was just a really big tree. Harry Potter thought he was a normal boy; Mary Poppins was supposed to be a regular nanny. It’s the first and only rule. Magic comes when you’re not looking for it.

Your daughter is adorable. I’ve never seen such an alien duck in my entire life.

You need to stop caring what people who don’t matter think of you. Be who you are and let everybody else be who they are. Differences are a good thing.

This might surprise you, but here’s a fact: people who plan things thoroughly aren’t particularly connected with reality. It seems like they are, but they’re not: they’re focusing on making things bite-size, instead of having to look at the whole picture. It’s procrastination in its purest form because it convinces everyone—including the person who’s doing it—that they are very sensible and in touch with reality when they’re not. They’re obsessed with cutting it up into little pieces so they can pretend it’s not there at all.

Book Review: Stuck in the Middle (Sister-to-Sister Novel 1)

Stuck in the Middle on Kindle

4 open books the girl in the steel corset

Author: Virginia Smith
Genre: Christian Fiction/Romance
Published: February 1, 2008 by Revell

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Joan Sanderson’s life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement. That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal–to get a date. But it won’t be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can’t compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut.
Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry.

Book Review:

First of all, this is my second time to read a Christian fiction. The first one was when I was in college, and I couldn’t remember the title.

And although I’ve read books from LDS authors, like Stephanie Meyer, they were’t really centered around God, you know.

So anyway, I thought I’d give Christian romance a try, and this book, Stuck in the Middle fits the bill just fine. The cover looked interesting and I thought maybe it’s not that boring after all.

Well, it wasn’t in the first few pages of the book. I liked how the writer introduced Joan. You can already tell from the first parts that the main character, had some issues in the past that she can’t let go or is having a hard time letting go. And you could tell that despite having her family close by, she’s lonely and needs someone in her life to fill the gaps. While reading her story, she sounded like a 40-year-old spinster instead of a mid-20s young professional. She was that serious in her life, which fits the plot perfectly.

Joan is this young heroine who needed to be saved from her self before she turns into an old spinster, lonely and stuck in the same place where she grew up.

Then enters Dr. Ken. The young, dashing medical doctor who moves in next door. Now, before you fantasize him as being the bad boy who’ll take her breathe, he’s actually the opposite. He’s not boring, but he’s not all that fun either. I’d say he’s the kind of guy you would probably want to settle down with for good. Not when you want to have fun. He kind of reminds me of that guy, Ty, from Dawson’s Creek who was kind of religious because he doesn’t believe in pre-marital sex.

Anyhoo, let’s continue with the review.

Stuck in the Middle is actually a nice story. It’s not just about love and romance. It’s also about caring for your family, forgiving oneself and letting go of the past. More importantly, it teaches you that God will never forsake you. Ever.

Now, for some atheists, agnostics and non-Christians, this may sound weird and unfamiliar. But to me, as a Christian, it’s something I can appreciate because I find the book uplifting and faith-strengthening. By the end of the book, I felt my faith renewed.

Moving on, I find the book well-written. There were also some parts that had me laughing, such as the part where Joan and her sister, Tori, were competing for Dr. Ken’s attention. I thought that was refreshing in a non-slutty way. It was also very wholesome, which is just right for a Christian book. You don’t have to worry about skipping some pages because of some sexually explicit parts so it’s really nice.

I also liked the development of the story, particularly the characters. Joan really grew up and learned how to take charge of hear life instead of being afraid of people leaving her. I kind of felt what she felt because of something that happened in my life. Since then I kind of always hold back because I’m afraid that if I give it all out, I’d get hurt. Joan is also relatable, especially for those who are going through a lot.

However, I find the pacing a bit dragging. There were some instances that I wish it would be over. It’s was interesting in the first few chapters but when you reach middle I kind of felt stuck (did you get that? haha). Like there was no progress in the story at all. It’s nothing to be concerned about, though, if you have all the time in the world.

Another thing is that it lacked the solid emotional connection that I’m looking for. Sure, I can understand why Joan was a bit hesitant to open her heart, but I felt disconnected from her. It’s like I’m watching from a far and that I couldn’t really grasp what’s really the problem for holding back. There was also a part wherein she just found out the major reason her dad left her. But instead of feeling in denial or angry, she just sat there and cry. If it were me, I’d probably cry out in frustration and shout, “My life is one big lie!” She was close to her dad and that was just her reaction? She was like I’m just going to sit here and wallow for a few minutes while my sisters are in the kitchen or wherever. For someone who’s attached to her dad, I think her reaction after finding out the big truth was just too passive in my opinion. But then, again, maybe that’s how the author envisioned her to be. Who knows?

Overall, the story was nice. I’d give it three open books for my rating, but I like that Ms. Smith injecting some spiritual enlightenment in the story. For that reason, I’m giving this four open books. If you want something clean and wholesome, Stuck in the Middle can be an enjoyable one. Just don’t expect any sob fest or drama because this book lacked that element.

This is a book series, and Stuck in the Middle is the first one. However, I’m not sure if I’ll be reading Age Before Beauty and Third Time’s a Charm anytime soon. I might in the future, though.

Favorite Quotes: 

Spending time with someone who insisted on being the center of attention was just plain tiring.

Men don’t know what they like. They rely on us to tell them. And you’re going to convince Dr. Gorgeous that he likes tall, athletic, beautiful brunettes.

You could tell a lot about a women by watching her interact with her family.

Keep in mind that 55 percent of the impression you make on someone is based on your appearance and body language, 38 percent on your style of speaking, and only 7 percent on what you say. So what you say doesn’t matter that much, as long as you look good saying it.

You see, our God doesn’t supply only what we need to scrape by. The almighty God is our Father. He loves us. He delights in delighting us. He wants to give us treats and enjoys hearing our joyful laughter in return.

He’ll change us as much as we allow him to.

God said, “I’ll never leave you, nor forsake you.

God had been trying to get her attention and she had ignored him because she was afraid. Afraid of being called a fanatic. Afraid of giving up control. But most of all, afraid of being hurt again.



Book Review: Paper Towns

Paper Towns book cover

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3 open books

Genre: YA
Published: September 22, 2009 by Speak
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Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew…


I didn’t know about Paper Towns until I saw a film trailer with Cara Delevingne in it. And since I like her quirkiness, I thought I’d give the book a try before the I make the mistake of watching the movie first.

Now on to what I think about it.

I had high hopes for this book. It started out strong, witty and funny. The character development was really good. The first chapters have really piqued my interest.  I was really hooked. I wanted to get to know Quentin and Margo Roth Spiegelman more, and I wanted to how their story ends.  I also wanted to know whether they will end up happily together or not.

It started with who Margo Roth Spiegelman to Quentin. It then went on to their first hang out after a long time, pulling pranks on Margo Roth Spiegelman’s ex-boyfriend, ex-bestfriend and some kids at their school.

Now I got to say that the pranks they pulled were pretty hilarious. They had me laughing out loud my neighbors prolly think I’m crazy. If they were real people, I’d probably feel sorry for them.

Of course, the story doesn’t there. Spending an all-nighter pulling pranks was just the beginning.  The real story is when when Quentin and his friends go on a man hunt to find Margo Roth Spiegelman (excuse me for writing her full name because you just have to, lol!) using clues that she left behind. Now the whole thing was fun and exciting. You never know what they’ll uncover just from the quotes and highlights that Margo — okay, I’ll just say ‘she’ since it’s quite a type — she left. I’ve also learned a thing or two about her (you know who). Like, the way she finds pleasure in planning. I’m kind of like that too. I like to plan things, but I have a hard time following through with them. Usually, I just ask someone else to do the laborious tasks. Haha. But of course, when my OC-iness kicks in, I can be a perfectionist.

Anyway, when I reached the part when Q finally find out that she was staying at one of the paper towns in America, that got my excitement going. I spent an all-nighter myself one weekend just to get to the good part.

But alas, I was disappointed. I thought it was going to be a happy ending for Q and M (now that’s a better shortcut), but nay. It was a good ending, though. At least, it teaches you that you can’t expect everything to bend your way. No matter how much you exert effort, there are just things that aren’t meant to be. Nevertheless, you learn more about yourself along the way.

Now, you’re probably asking why only three open books even I had fun reading it? Well, despite having a good laugh while reading Paper Towns, it wasn’t as fulfilling as I hoped it would be. Like I said, I didn’t like the ending. After all the climax it sent me through, it just ended with a short, abrupt anti-climax. I was like, was that it?

That being said, it’s a fun read if you’re looking for something to pass the time. But if you’re looking for a happy ending, this isn’t the book for you.

Favorite Quote: 

The pleasure isn’t in doing the thing; the pleasure is in planning it.