Showing posts from 2015

The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories, by Roald Dahl

The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories, by Roald Dahl • Published by Puffin Books • ★★★★★ • Goodreads I have not read Dahl since my secondary school years and with the recent trailer of BFG, I’m more than happy to read The Great Automatic Grammatizator (and other stories), which I have not before!

I am utterly in love with this book. I have not felt so thrilled and creeped out by short stories since I last read Gaiman’s Trigger Warning. The thing with short stories is that there are no sequels, prequels, or novellas. They are just a few pages but that is enough to punch you in the face with feels or creeps or whatever gets you, and I love that feeling. It’s almost like an adrenaline rush. ;)

I’m not even sure if I can pick a favourite because I love almost all the stories. Maybe the only ones that didn’t made me react much were The Butler and Man from the South. While most were awesomely creepy or hilariously vengeful, there was one that stuck with me because it was actu…

Tales from the Perilous Realm, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Tales from the Perilous Realm, by J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by Alan Lee • Published by HarperCollins • ★★★★ • Goodreads I didn’t exactly had a good time reading The Hobbit previously, because of the hand it was written in. I often forget it wasn't a recent work but one that was written more than half a century ago. It was weird but I did love the story, plus the movie also sustained my interest. So for my next Tolkien, I didn’t pick The Fellowship of The Ring even though I had the book (but I will get to that)! I chose Tales from The Perilous Realm because illustrations.

The illustrations by Alan Lee really made the book a whole lot more entertaining for me and I highly recommend reading this version with the illustrations, instead of one without. Plus it really helped tide me over when I fell into a weird limbo again with it. Seriously, as I told Maraia on Twitter, it was as though an old grandfather was reading the book to me and nobody rushes Grandpa Tolkien when he’s tellin…

Top Ten Tuesday: Wishlist for Santa's Convenience

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke & Bookish where bloggers list their top tens! This week, we talk about top ten books (I might have bend the rules a little here) we wouldn't mind Santa leaving under the tree this year! (Let's pretend I have a tree, alright?)

The Sleeper and The Spindle - Neil Gaiman
I probably would have gotten this a long time ago because it is a gorgeous book, except my local bookstores like to stick the price tag on the dust jacket and I WILL NOT HAVE THAT.
Endsinger (The Lotus War series #3) - Jay Kristoff
I have read the first two. I loved them. There is no reason not to have the third in my possession as well, when I already have Illuminae.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Illustrated Edition - J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay
I have seen too many pictures and I have a burning desire to own it, if only to confirm what my imagination knows. I have never needed any new editions of HP, until this damn version arrived.
She Is Not Invisible - Marc…

读后感:红线 - 九把刀

红线 - 九把刀 • 春天出版社 • ★★ • Goodreads 这是我的第一本九把刀。说实在,如果我没看【那些年,我们一起追的女孩】这部电影,应该会放弃继续读我床边那堆书内的九把刀作品。虽然【红线】不差,可是读的时候,脑袋里还是时不时地冒出“什么鬼”的口头禅。


所以故事中的男主角最后的下场,我觉得理所当然。生在福中不知福,分手了才使那么多手段让她纠结,让她回到自己身边。但是,不是你的就不是你的,强行拥有之后还是失去,而且痛心百倍以上。早知如此,何必当初。这是人人都会说的:“人在时,没懂得珍惜。人走了,才后悔莫及。” 我觉得如果男主角不利用晶片,但同样去做在利用晶片时为女朋友做的每一件事,后果就没那么悲惨吧。(但也说不定,都说人是善变的呢。)



Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1), by Sarah J. Maas • Published by Bloomsbury • ★★★ • Goodreads I totally forgot this is New Adult, well, at least until I read to the part where I hoped nobody reads over my shoulder on the train. Ha!

I had a hard time liking Feyre, because I kept seeing shadows of Celaena. And you might not know this because it’s an unpopular opinion (but it is mine, nonetheless), but I do not fancy Celaena. Still, I have only read until Crown of Midnight, so there’s plenty of words ahead to change my mind.

Well, back to A Court of Thorns and Roses. Putting aside my “sight” issues with Feyre, I do enjoy this retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t exactly like the rewrite of the father, because I felt that character was just there to be decorative material. And in the original BatB fairy tale, one of the many reasons I enjoyed it was for the bond between Belle and her father. But it is a small point and I'm not overly bothered by …

Little Trinkets (1): The Reader's Little Helpers

How often do you use any piece of paper that is clean and intact as a replacement for a proper bookmark? Or perhaps you are a little less concerned about folding pages and thus have made several dog ears at different pages of a book. I’ll admit to having done both, in addition to memorising the page or chapter number.

But, I also enjoy collecting bookmarks, free or otherwise. So I’ll be making use of this feature to occasionally show off some of my bookmarks (or cute things I use as bookmarks), so that they get at least one chance to see the light of the day. :D

Since Anime Festival Asia 2015 was just over in Singapore, I’m going to share some of these adorable little cut-outs by one of my many favourite artists -- Freebird (also known as Celeste)!

My first purchase from her began when I was hunting for great fanart of Uta no Prince-sama. I didn’t want to get more badges because I had no space on my pinboard or bag left for those, plus it seems every other stall at the Creators’ Hu…

Books I Grew Up With, Quite Literally

Frankly, I am not the kindest book owner any book will meet. That said, I am also the most loyal book owner any book will meet -- that is if that book chips off a bit of my heart or life. Case in point being my haphazard Harry Potter series, as pictured in the above picture.

Yes, those are my books -- not the library's or secondhand, but thoroughly used and read by me. I have brought them to school, through my childhood, to the bathroom, on bus rides... It is one of the few series that I own which do not match one another, but I do not mind because they bear my different feelings and experiences. It is so much that if I am to get a new, clean version of the same book, it feels as if I am betraying what I already own. (Which is kind of bizarre when I own various copies of Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.)

I also have issues keeping on slip covers of hardback books. I don't know why, but it's hard for me to keep them on when I read. So, I take them out and put them aside …

Where Did I Disappear to?

Hello! *blows off figurative dust on the blog* I vanished temporarily from here because school assessments came rolling in, together with my utter (but temporal) defeat by the big, bad side of Life. However, I obviously recovered because I am here again, typing this up, thanks to my family and especially my ever supportive grandmother. I will be in even better condition soon, once I get more stability going on in my life. :) Occasionally, I wonder why I work so hard in my studies, if it makes my job-hunting experience even harder than before. It's weird, but I guess it's just the cycle of life. I've got to hit the bottom and get wrecked, before I can bounce back up.

Of course, I didn't do nothing while I was falling into the pits. I watched a ton of TV, not very useful, but hey, it makes me happy and that's what matters for now. I also worked on reading my required texts for school, which is why there's very little, or almost no reviews coming in the works. :p…

Putting Required into Reading

Being a part-time university/college student doesn't mean I'm free from required reading lists, and when I was first stepped into the world of "English Majors", I was very excited to receive my first required reading books.

Subsequently, I wanted to do this.

As the wise Wes Ayers from The Archived trilogy said,
Requirement ruins even the best of books.BUT DOES IT? After two years and counting, I've come to acknowledge the fact that it's my problem of being unable to conquer classics, or books of the 18th and 19th centuries, or Shakespeare's texts. Here are some of the texts I'm supposed to have fully read but really, I've skimmed them for the sake of writing assessments and examinations.

Shakespeare's MacbethShakespeare's The Tempest Charlotte Brontë's Jane EyreJane Austen's Mansfield Park And for this semester, here are some of the books I'm supposed to be tackling,
Daniel Defoe's Moll FlandersJane Austen's PersuasionFa…

Read Play Blog: Conventions Bonanza!

Read Play Blog is a meme about video games and books, posted every 16th of the month. Bloggers are encouraged to answer a discussion question, and recommend a video game that is similar to a book they liked. Hosted by Happy Indulgence Books & Read Me Away.
 This month's topic is quite my cup of tea. I have a love-hate relationship with conventions here because they are always crowded (occasionally stinky, depending on which kind of crowd you get caught in), and I always spend a bomb there, but I love looking at all the art, merchandise, and also get some freebies. Heh! Oh, and the occasional famous person that I actually have some knowledge of, but usually I don't.

Things to note: I'm not the brightest bulb in the world when it comes to conventions. Also, I'm not entirely caught up with each season's new anime/manga... AND I'm not familiar with local publishing scene. I'm pretty tragic, now that I've spelled that out, ha! But my main point, whenever…

Book vs. Film: Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick • Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux • ★★★★ • Goodreads THE BOOK I surprisingly enjoyed this book. I mean, I didn't dive into it with much expectations but then I also expected something heavy, which it actually wasn't. The Silver Linings Playbook is actually really easy to get into, despite it dealing with psychological problems of two individuals. It also has a very careful tone to it, which makes me feel as though I'm taking ginger steps through the book, and when I finally made it to the end, it was as if I had unloaded a burden off my shoulder. Because by then, Pat had found someone he could rely on, as did Tiffany.

I loved all the relationships in this book so hard. The way Pat's mom tries so hard to hold up the family, the way she later gave up because Pat's dad wouldn't try, the way his dad later tried, the way Jake is so protective of Pat, and just, everything. Pat's continuous struggle to accept …

Review: These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1), by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner • Published by Disney Hyperion • ★★★½ • Goodreads 10% into this pretty novel, I was hit by a 'blast into the past' with the strong Titanic vibes it was oozing, but in a good way. Of course, that was all to those feels as we proceeded to extraterrestrial life. I feel better calling the aliens mentioned in These Broken Stars extraterrestrial life, rather than aliens, because that word seems to have been ruined by Hollywood (Google 'alien' and you barely get anything not remotely scary).

The subtle injections of signs of extraterrestrial life when Lilac and Tarver crash-landed was some master storytelling, as it slowly evolved into something bigger than I expected. I think These Broken Stars border on parallel universes too, much like Gretchen McNeil's 3:59, but less creepy and more beautiful. I wish we got to know more about those beings, but it seems I would need to continue the series to know mo…

Advance Review: Time Salvager, by Wesley Chu

Time Salvager, by Wesley Chu • Published by Tor Books • Expected Publication Date: July 7th 2015 •  ★★★★ • Goodreads I would call Time Salvager a refreshing time-travelling read, except 'refreshing' wouldn't exactly be the word with a lot of mileage in the Earth during the story's setting. Heh!

I really loved how the world is set up in Time Salvager; I mean, yeah it's all grim and gross on Earth but I like the little bits of backstory of how Earth degenerated. It makes the elements of dystopia have somewhat of an anchor. Just like how I enjoy reading the time-travelling details! Even though I'm no scientist, I liked that there are numbers attached to things -- such as how many days and kilometres a person is not allowed to time-jump within the previous jump that occurred in that same zone. Limits within unlimited imagination makes things like this feels more realistic for me! Therefore explaining why I loved a particular plot twist that involved the rules of t…

Review: Kinslayer, by Jay Kristoff

Kinslayer (The Lotus War #2), by Jay Kristoff • Published by Thomas Dunne Books • ★★★★ • Goodreads IZANAGI'S BALLS.

That's the most fitting expression I can use from the book itself. Funny how a swearing expression can be crude and classy at the same time. (Izanagi is a god, in case you were wondering.) But that's how Kristoff rolls, I guess.

Kinslayer manages to stomp on my heart more than once and both times made me want to punch Kristoff in the face. It was my mistake to fall in love with the character, Ichizo. I know that much, so I was asking for it, but I couldn't help hoping. Now I know why hope is a dangerous thing. We shall not speak of Daken, the tomcat, here because it makes me want to hurl sharp things (like durian husks) at some particular author.

Kinslayer is a wonderful sequel, reuniting the reader with some of the characters we so loved from Stormdancer. Badass Michi being one of them! Of course, Buruu and Yukiko are present. I love how much their relati…

5 Reasons to Visit South Korea

Forgive me, for the lack of posts after I return from my trip to the Land of Kimchi, because I am suffering from a severe Vacation Hangover. And thank you for all your well wishes, I return healthy and well, despite travelling to South Korea at a rather risky time where MERS affected that beautiful country! On the bright side, it's precisely because of the drop in travellers that the group I followed managed to get rooms with sea views when we were at Jeju-do. IT'S ALL BEAUTIFUL (WITH A TINGE OF ANXIETY).

Now, on to the causes of my hangover and a semi-recap of my trip.

Review: In The Afterlight, by Alexandra Bracken

In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds #3), by Alexandra Bracken • Published by Disney-Hyperion • ★★★★ • Goodreads • Mild Spoilers! The last of The Darkest Minds series really completes the circle, or should I say spiral? It was a wonderful adventure with Ruby and friends. The end of a nightmare and the beginning of a possible future for Psi kids, but there are loose strands... as always (and some are exceptionally long).

I have a love-hate relationship with Bracken since the beginning of the series because she keeps taking away the character I love MOST. The way she did it is so full of impact and as Ruby sinks into her own despair, I'm busy screaming (internally) "NO!!!" at Bracken. It's no different here in In The Afterlight where I was basically:

GOD FUCKING DAMN IT. It was really unexpected this time and so it hurt even though I was really guarded. It was done to my favourite character in this book so I'm particularly sad (and mildly indignant) about his deat…

Review: The Unbound, by Victoria Schwab

The Unbound (The Archived #2), by Victoria Schwab • Published by Hyperion • ★★★★½ • Goodreads  This book has made me a fan of Schwab's storytelling. It feels like a friend (or a wise old grandfather/grandmother) telling you the story while sipping hot tea in between (or whatever feels most comfortable to you, that's just my version)! It's comfortable and makes me entranced by the story for as long as it goes on. I breezed through The Unbound and I loved it.

Firstly, let me just state that I WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH OF WESLEY AYERS. There's just something about him (must be the ~air of mystery~) that makes you love him regardless of whatever he does. Wesley makes the world a brighter place, despite having his own darkness to deal with. I really love his relationship with Mac. He protects her but not the point of being crazy overprotective. He treats her as her equal. He respects her decision but still watches from afar, just in case. IT IS A LOVELY RELATIONSHIP and I wan…

Review: Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3), by Robin LaFevers • Published by HMH Books for Young Readers • ★★★★★ • GoodreadsTBD Mortal Heart is another stunning novel I've read this year that concludes a most wonderful trilogy. (The other being The Grisha trilogy.) I had first picked up Grave Mercy, the first of His Fair Assassin, with apprehension (big books scare me!) but have grown to love the series as it continues.

LaFevers kept outdoing herself with each subsequent book in the series. I enjoyed Grave Mercy, loved Dark Triumph, and now Mortal Heart makes me want to both lob it against a wall and drink this book into me. (And I was complaining about elusive five-star books a while ago, but in this case, I will gladly eat my words.)

Asti from Oh The Books wrote her review a while back and I got really excited to read it, because of what she told me about Mortal Heart having more Mortain appearances in it. OH BOY, I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED AT ALL. In fact, I was in between surprised a…

Review: Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead, by Ava Dellaira • Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux • ★★★ • GoodreadsTBD  Dear Love Letters to the Dead,

I love your title, not as much as your cover but it's also good. At the end of the book, I have enjoyed reading your story but you were told in a way that gave me a headache, so I didn't like you as much as I wanted to.

I knew Laurel had issues after a few chapters but it's also easy to see why she was having a hard time coping. She loved her sister so deeply, and losing May made Laurel's world shatter. She was having a whole ton of emotions to cope with, mostly unpleasant, but what I liked was that she's not alone in having problems. Even in her state of denial, she saw love in her friends -- Tristan and Kristen, Natalie and Hannah. She saw the good in her Aunt Amy. She saw what Sky could be. She believed. And I think that's why she could get better in the end, because despite of all the shit she's in, she saw good thi…

Review: Unremembered, by Jessica Brody

Unremembered (Unremembered #1), by Jessica Brody • Published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux • ★★★ • GoodreadsTBD  Oh Unremembered, you started out great and then it all spiraled out of control, or rather -- it spiraled into predictability. How many robots have we read or watch in the past decade that went rogue because of love? Still, it has its redeeming qualities.

I enjoyed the science part of Unremembered. The Modifiers, memories being removed and altered, templates for altered memories, and of course, the gene that allowed time travelling. That one's new, altering genetics to allow moving through time and space! I quite like this idea, except it was just touch-and-go. Shame.

My favourite character is Cody, he's smart for a thirteen year old but that's already established. He's not "like the other kids". (Thanks for the backhanded compliment, on behalf of all the other smart, nerdy kids.) But Sera's foster family does really well. I guess they jus…

Review: The Promise of Stardust, by Priscille Sibley

The Promise of Stardust, by Priscille Sibley • Published by William Morrow Paperbacks • ★★★★½ • GoodreadsTBD There are things The Promise of Stardust didn't promise in the synopsis but delivered regardless. Things like finding closure and letting go. It is a poignant story, full of unexpected turns that are both pleasant and unpleasant.

Matt was very clear on how Elle would not want to live, but nothing prepared them for the situation that was so, so rare. The court proceedings were tedious and you could feel it through the pages, through Matt's thoughts. Going up against your family in court was even more draining, let alone a case with such high media exposure. It was cruel and ugly to have accusations thrown in your face by people who didn't know the lives you led.

But going to court, despite breaking apart Matt's family at first, also brought them together even more closely later. Curiously, it was only Adam left that stood against the whole idea of continuing …

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance #1), by N.K. Jemisin • Published by Orion • ★★★★ • Goodreads • TBD It's been a while since I read Adult Fantasy and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is a fine piece of work. The cover too is brilliant, I had not noticed the god peering from behind the kingdom at first -- because I thought it was just darkness oozing out of it. So of course, I had to feature that in my banner for this post (you're welcome)!

Despite the fact that The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was only slightly over 400 pages, it took its time in leading the reader to discover the secrets Yeine's mother withheld from her family, the gods' stories, and Yeine's identity. I'm not saying it's slow because it certainly wasn't, but it was paced extremely well.

My favourite characters are Naha (the human in the day), T'vril, and occasionally, Sieh. Naha, for his bitterness of being the Nightlord's vessel, and his ending. T'vril, for his patienc…

The Elusive Five Stars

Lately, I came to the realisation that I have barely given books the full five sparkling stars. I rate books really simply -- as according to Goodreads' explanation whenever you hover over the blank stars.

I'm no star-miser and I give plenty of 3- and 4-star ratings. I also rarely pick and read books I don't find any redeeming qualities or gave me utter grief. There's only one on my read list and that's Wuthering Heights. Even the stories I find hard to swallow, I find at least one element that I liked and the book becomes a 1.5 or 2-star. I'm not stingy, or picky, in fact, I want to give books ALL THE STARS!

But at the same time, it seems to be getting harder for me to find a book that I feel totally justified in giving 5 brilliant stars to it. Does this contradict my earlier statement of not being a star-miser? I give full stars to books that:

Made me cry real tears (because normally, I'm a cold-blooded creature)Made my heart ache like someone held it and…

Book vs. Film: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1), by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl • ★★★ • Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers • Goodreads • TBD • Spoilers Ahead! THE BOOK The magic in Beautiful Creatures was wonderfully executed. I especially love the idea of each Caster's ability appearing as they grow up. An Empath, Thaumaturge, Siren, and more. I enjoy the fact that when magic is being cast, it's subtle if you imagine it happening in real life. It's only obvious to the reader because it's spelled out by the characters' behaviours.

I absolutely adore Macon, the mysterious uncle of Lena. His ardent protection of Lena, his ability, and his decisions just made me feel for him. I think Lena finally understood it towards the end, which was why there was a huge shift in her emotional state. Additionally, Ridley was another minor antagonist-like character that I felt a little for, especially her "relationship" with Link.

Monthly Chronicle: June Swoons

I am on a reading roll in the past month and IT FEELS SO GREAT! (Especially now that I've built up quite a buffer for the blog, coughs.) There's nothing like binge-reading and watching your TBR shrink a little. Accomplishment!

June is going to be a bittersweet month. Why? First, the sweet deal. I'll be heading to the country of kimchi with my family. South Korea! Food! Kpop! ...MOAR FOOD!? It's also my first time travelling with my mother so here's crossing my fingers that neither of us steps on either's toes. (I have a complicated family, don't ask, lmao.) The slightly bitter part is that I'm also travelling on budget (it's a sponsored trip so I'm not complaining)! Still, I'm happy for the chance to experience another culture. :D (I just really have to work on my finances when I get home, but I'm pumped to do that!)

On the blogging side, I'm retiring Bookish BGM in favour of something else. I have a couple of features thought up, b…

Review: The Archived, by Victoria Schwab

The Archived (The Archived #1), by Victoria Schwab • Published by Hyperion • ★★★★½ • Goodreads • TBD While halfway through reading The Archived at my desk by the window, I had to move to my bed that is not by the window because I felt watched (it was past midnight). If it's not a sign of how creepy this book is, then it's a sign of how easily spooked (or how deeply immersed in the story) I am. (I'm inclined to think it's the former.)

I think Schwab smooths the edge to what would have been a really terrifying story. Just take away the idea of the Archive, Librarians, Keepers, Histories. What do you really get? The Afterlife, ghosts, and ghosts hunters. And several particularly vengeful ghosts. It sounds crude when I put it this way, non? It just further exemplifies Schwab's ability to weave beautiful, almost gentle, stories.

Mac's development through The Archived was wonderful to read. Her estranged relationship with her family, her yearning for a normal life, …

Review: The Burning Sky, by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1), by Sherry Thomas • Published by Balzer + Bray • ★★★½ • Goodreads • TBD The magical elements and world-building are excellent in The Burning Sky. I ache for a book like the Crucible for my own possession (though I would need magical abilities as well, but I think the teaching cantos would suffice for me)!

There's a lot of easy predictability in The Burning Sky. My favourite is Sleeping Beauty's identity in the Crucible. It's so predictable and yet, when Titus is written to finally talk to Sleeping Beauty. I think it broke something in me. He's just a young man who wants nothing but a normal life, yet he's tasked with such an enormous burden, AND he still hopes for Iolanthe to have the normal life she wanted.

Titus is easily my favourite character because of the faces he had to present to Iolanthe, Atlantis, and Eton students. He's strong, but he's breakable. He's scared, but he faces the prophecy head-on. He …

Review: 3:59, by Gretchen McNeil

3:59, by Gretchen McNeil • Published by Balzer + Bray • ★★★½ • Goodreads • TBD  So I dived into 3:59 thinking I'm going to get eerily chilled to the bones, but it's actually more sci-fi than paranormal like it's being marketed. The cover too, prepared me for creepy stuff, but I got none of that. Regardless, 3:59 is still a good read, even with a wobbly start.

The beginning to 3:59 was a hot mess. It's understandable for a high school student going through estrangement with her family, in addition to losing her job, and her boyfriend fiasco. But once I waded through the icky, mopey mess that was Josie's thoughts and proceeded to science-y parallel universe content, it got way more interesting!

The way McNeil uses physics to anchor the concept of parallel universes to reality is excellent, making 3:59 quite a believable story. (At least for me, as I like thinking about parallel universes too!) The introduction of a horror created from the portals between universes i…

Bookish BGM: To Zanarkand

Bookish BGM is a weekly Paper O'Clock feature where I share music that I listen to while reading or writing. Do feel free to share soundtracks, instrumentals, or classicals that you enjoy too!
If you think I'm going to miss a chance to make people listen to Final Fantasy soundtracks, you are so wrong. ;) Final Fantasy X is hailed (by most, if not all) to be one of the best Final Fantasy games out there and while I have not played all of the games (not only because I suck, but because I only have a PC and a NDS), I love almost all the soundtracks. Nobuo Uematsu and his fellow musicians (Seiji Honda, Junya Nakano, Masashi Hamauzu, and others) are brilliant!

This is one of my favourite FFX songs -- To Zanarkand.

I feel that I need to at least link to one of my other favourites -- Hymn of Fayth. It's a choral hymn, so I don't usually listen to it while reading (maybe just writing). It's also something not everyone will love, but I adore the haunting ambiance the Hymn …

Review: Playlist for the Dead, by Michelle Falkoff

Playlist for the Dead, by Michelle Falkoff • Published by HarperTeen • ★★★½ • Goodreads  I know I gave this book three stars and while I cannot give it more because I didn't really love the book, I feel that Playlist for the Dead is an excellent book that teaches you about life. It touches heavy topics without making the book a deadweight.

The beauty of this book lies in the fact that by having it revolve around music, it will gather more people (or teens, specifically) to pick it up. At least that's how I feel about it. And that's a good thing because this story has a lot of lessons to teach.

From the most serious consequence of bullying to the repercussions it can cause, Playlist covers almost everything. I feel so terrible for Sam in the beginning and as he came to terms with Hayden's death, I also came to wonder about the feelings this book gave me.

Should I be feeling bad for Ryan? Should I hate Hayden's parents? Should I blame the unfortunate circumstances t…

Advance Review: In Search of Sam, by Kristin Butcher

Raised by her mother, eighteen-year-old Dani Lancaster only had six weeks to get to know her father, Sam, before he lost his battle with cancer. It was long enough to love him, but not long enough to get to know him especially since Sam didn't even know himself. With nothing more than an address book, an old letter, and a half-heart pendant to guide her, she heads into B.C.'s Interior to Kamloops, Barriere, Merritt, and finally to a small, forgotten town teeming with secrets and hopefully answers.

Read the full description on Goodreads!
In Search of Sam, by Kristin Butcher • Published by Dundurn Group • Expected Publication Date: June 16 2015 • ★★★½ • Goodreads In Search of Sam is a book where Dani finds closure in discovering the beginnings of her father's life. It was wonderful to be able to go with Dani to places where she had never been, in order to understand her father.

I think Dani has been quite blessed in having a protective but still supportive mother, together …

Advance Review: Ghosts of Shanghai, by Julian Sedgwick

Brief Blurb:
Obsessed with martial arts and ghost stories, Ruby is part of a gang of Chinese and ex-pat children who hide out in ruined White Cloud Temple. But the world of Shanghai in the late 1920s is driven with danger: disease, crime, espionage and revolution are sweeping the streets. And since the death of her younger brother Thomas, Ruby is stalked by another anxiety and fear.

Read the full description on Goodreads!

Ghosts of Shanghai, (Ghosts of Shanghai #1), by Julian Sedgwick • Published by Hodder Children's Books • Expected Publication Date: July 2nd 2015 • ★★★½ • Goodreads First, I really like to read books set in Shanghai because the bridge between the rich and the poor is so short there. Or as far as my reading knowledge takes me. But I'm not familiar with 1920s Shanghai, so I'm happy to read a book about that time period. And I totally (and conveniently) forgot it was a period of internal warring for China, so Ghosts of Shanghai turned out to be both an intere…

Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3), by Laini Taylor • Published by Little, Brown & Company • ★★★★ • Goodreads • Mild Spoilers! The one thing that this book made me feel most vividly is: I miss Brimstone so much that I want to curl into fetal position whenever he is mentioned.

But as much pain that Laini Taylor inflicted upon me with Brimstone, she made up for it in the form of Liraz and Ziri. Oh, she also took the brilliance that are Neek-neek and Mik to another level.

In other news, Karou and Akiva made me want to punch something. The "want" and "can't" collision drove me almost crazy whenever it came into play. I'm not entirely sure if it was necessary, but it just made me tire of their relationship.

However, I really enjoy the alliance between the chimaera and Misbegotten. The understanding that was being forged so painfully, and so slowly, was really a good part to read. The incident with Ten (or Haxaya) gave me as much of …

Bookish BGM: Disney Fantasy

Bookish BGM is a weekly Paper O'Clock feature where I share music that I listen to while reading or writing. Do feel free to share soundtracks, instrumentals, or classicals that you enjoy too!
I realized I've been sharing rather melancholic sounds with y'all since the launch of this feature, so this week is going to be different!

Classical music has always been a part of my life, for better or for worse, I have no idea. But it has been there since I got myself into the symphonic band in high school. I got to know of this fantastic orchestra from that time in my life and I have been listening to them on and off ever since.

Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra -- I have nothing but raves and praise for them. In general, I have a very good impression of Japanese orchestras and bands. I'm sharing their rendition of Disney Fantasy, they have other Disney medleys too, which can be easily found on YouTube. I think it's nice to have one of those playing in the background when you ge…

Review: Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer

Spirit (Elemental #3), by Brigid Kemmerer • Published by KTeen • ★★★★ • Goodreads I may have a love-hate relationship with this series because for one, I really enjoy the action scenes in it as they were all very vividly described and without any awkward execution. But I wasn't sure I liked the romance because after book two (Spark), even though Gabriel was fun to read, it just felt very formulaic. And boy, did Spirit just spiced up things for this series!

Hunter is utterly messed up in Spirit. He's not entirely fixed up by the end of the book as you might have assumed, but he's cleaned up a little, thanks to the Merricks and Kate. I thoroughly enjoyed what Kemmerer did for Kate. I was so convinced by her act that when the backstory of her mother was revealed, I was shocked. Of course, a single punch never does it for any YA story, it has to be a one-two punch. ;) I felt that more could be done to link the reader to Kate, so that when the punch comes later, it could be th…

Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland

Promise of Shadows, by Justina Ireland • Published by Simon & Schuster • ★★★½ • Goodreads Who got excited when she saw the Greek goddess Nyx mentioned in this book's synopsis? Yeah, I sure did. But this retold Nyx is unlike the Nyx from the myths we know. Also, anyone else almost rolled their eyes (or actually did) at the synopsis on Goodreads? Surprisingly HOTfriend? I am not sure why there is a need to emphasize that but screw that, here's what on the actual hardcover and it's directly from the book but it's SO much better.
Fear and rage settle deep into my middle. They cut through me, and I sense my darkness rising up, answering the call of my panic. It's just like the night I killed Ramun Mar, but this time the darkness is different. It feels like a living thing, an old friend who has just been waiting for the chance to help. Without even calling it, my darkness rises. It shrouds me in reassurance. I welcome the confidence it brings. It feels like I can do…

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1), by Ally Carter • Published by Scholastic Press • ★★★½ • Goodreads • MILD SPOILERS! This is my first time reading a novel by Ally Carter, even though she already has several books out before the Embassy Row series, and I had a rather pleasant experience -- despite the somewhat crazy book.

The blurb on Goodreads writes that the protagonist, Grace Blakely, is "a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel". I say that she is crazy, which is funny, because the opposite is written on the back of the hardcover. Grace is absolutely certain she is not crazy. However, for the most part of the book, we follow Grace through her eyes so it is almost hard to not think that she is crazy. I kept wavering between thinking she's batshit crazy and the fact that she is haunted by her past.

I think that was what made the story hard to digest. It was very fractured and I don't mean the writing. It's just because Grace is broken and I feel that I'm motion…