summer’s hottest hair trends

Beauty, Books, Fashion

 

as the summer season reaches it’s peak, fresh hair to combat the heat is necessary. here are some looks to help bring in the hottest of days with flourish.

 

 


sleek and chic + sun kissed vibes

 

beat the heat by bringing it with this intense look that is sure to turn heads. though many turn to more golden hues for the summer, defy the odds and opt for a more eye-catching look.

 

 


 

braids, braids and more braids

 

braids have never gone out of style especially now with the plethora of new ideas on how to reinvent the original braid. ranging from feminine to grunge to rebel, braids have played a huge part in our culture and has helped define identity in many different ways. use this foolproof hairstyle to wow at any date, outing or event. summer has never been more plaited.

 

 


 

komplicated kolors

 

rose gold, unicorn, sunset, pastels, you name it. all colors of the rainbow (and more) have finally hit our heads are and are providing a refreshing start to our summer. the more colorful the better so don’t be afraid to go beyond your comfort zone. make your look pop!

 

 


 

three looks you can’t go wrong with

 

 



what summer hairstyles are you looking at to combat the heat? would you try any of these trending hairstyles out?

cheers

you need to watch: Captain Fantastic

Books, Movies, Review
:: director : Matt Ross :: released : July 29 2016 :: my rating: 5/5 :: rating: R :: genre: comedy, drama :: IMDb
hello my lovelies!
a free weekend + good tea + windy night compelled me to prop open my laptop and finally get around to watching a movie my co-worker had been raving about for some time. i was not disappointed. this movie seamlessly incorporated concepts of love, loyalty and innocence with hard topics of politics and religion while also providing critiques about current societal problems associated with child rearing.
whew. that was a mouthful. but so is this movie.

“let’s dig. Otherwise she has to lie under that bullshit forever.”

the power of words, actions, conformity and death were somehow rolled into one giant production that left me speechless and reaching for my mouse to hit the replay button. all spoilers have been identified in red, so lets delve in and get started 🙂

synopsis from IMDb:
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In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

my review:
beginning with a breathtaking shot of the forest in which the father, Ben, is currently raising his six children. we are exposed to their primitive ways that seems almost like a scene out of an adventure book we read when we were young. this misplaced scene is contrasted by the teamwork, love and drive each of these characters have and their distinct personality begins to show within the first five minutes of the movie.
this movie combines stunning scenery and diverse characters to keep the viewer engaged while teaching important life lessons. we are also given various critiques on the current state of society.

here are 10 truths garnered from this movie
  1. children can handle the truth
  2. and sometimes the truth is what everyone needs more of
  3. structure/routine is important. standards are not
  4. mental health is as important as physical health and neither should ever be neglected
  5. death should be celebrated, not mourned
  6. find your roots, learn your identity, remember your past
  7. books can’t teach you everything
  8. actions, not words define us
  9. don’t follow the norm. question everything. create your own beliefs
  10. sometimes you have to break the rules. and that’s ok

spotlighting this unique way of living highlighted elements of today’s society that we have grown accustomed to but may not be the best option. by returning to the basics, reconnecting with nature, a higher level of understanding and ability can be obtained. contrary to popular belief, this movie demonstrated how living with only the basics does not mean less intelligence of competence. rather, returning to our primitive ways can allow for a higher level of understanding.

5 quotes to compel you to watch
  1. Father:”We can’t go to mommy’s funeral. We have to do what we’re told. Some fights, you can’t win. The powerful control the lives of the powerless. That’s the way the world works. It’s unjust and it’s unfair. But that’s just too damn bad. We have to shut up and accept it.
    [now turning around in his seat]
    Father: Well, fuck that!
  2. If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.
  3. We’re defined by our actions, not our words.
  4. It’s a beautiful mistake. But a mistake.
  5. Live each day like it could be your last. Drink it in. Be adventurous, be bold, but savor it. It goes fast.

Have you watched or heard of this movie? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, do you think you will watch it in the future? Let me know in the comments below!

Cheers

reader confession tag

Books, Tag

hello my lovely friends,

I know it’s been much too long since I’ve last posted. Ever since my transition into college, I found it difficult to allocate time solely for updating my blog and reading. As a month has passed by, I believe I am in a better place to begin regular postings, though I cannot promise to be as active as I was before. Nevertheless, I cannot wait to begin one of my favorite hobbies once more!

I am so excited to be returning today with a tag that has been on my mind for sometime. I was tagged by the sweet Jessica @The Awkward Book Blogger and The Bookish Underdog some time back, and will be completing this tag today!

There didn’t seem to be a particular set of rules, so lets go ahead and get started!


1. Have you ever damaged a book?

Shamefully, yes…

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I love reading in bed, and I love reading before I fall asleep which calls for disasters to naturally happen in the course of my night. Though I’ve never intentionally caused harm to a book, I must admit that it wouldn’t be honest of me to say that I never have damaged a book.

2. Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

Nope!

whenever someone ever so graciously allows me to borrow a book, I make it my utmost duty to return it in a better condition than I was handed it.

3. How long does it take you to read a book?

Depends on how deeply I fall in love with the book. Books that are impossible to put down can be finished in an hour, while others that are more difficult to read, and find interest can take up to a month to finish. Whats going on in my life at that particular time is also important as it usually dictates how much time I’m able to spend dedicated to falling in love with a book.

4. Books that you haven’t finished?

If I begin a book, I never want to leave in unfinished, which calls for a very short DNF list, but also very long reading spans. Oftentimes I will skimming through the middle, just to reach the end and call it quits on the book, but I will never give it up in case the book redeems itself.

5. Hyped/Popular books you didn’t like?

Like I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t find Holes by Louis Sachar all that amazing. Similarly, Matilda by Roald Dahl proved to be a bust for me.

6. Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?

One of the best parts about reading is being able to share the thoughts and feelings you had about the book. I’m not ashamed of what I read, and thus have no books I wouldn’t tell anyone about.

7. How many books do you own?

Though I would attempt counting, I am currently 1,668.9 miles away from my bookshelf and would not be able to give an accurate answer…

8. Are you a fast reader or a slow reader?

Very fast. Lately I’ve even been forcing myself to read out loud so that I am able to enjoy each page more, and save myself from book withdrawals later.

9. Do you like to buddy read?

I love the idea of buddy reading, but it causes me anxiety as to if I’d ever be able to keep up, especially when I’m busy. Especially as it is life to have our schedule interfere with our reading plans, and it would be another stressor to try and coordinate what a read with someone else.

10. Do you read better in your head or out loud?

Definitely out loud. I find that if I read in my head, I tend to read to quickly and therefore lose lots of details about the book.

11. If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be and why?

Am I allowed to say my kindle? Because then I could download all books I wanted…


Because I’ve been outside of the book blogging world for too long, I’m not sure of all who have done this tag. Therefore, I tag anyone, and everyone who wants to participate!


Has there been much going on your lives lately? If there is one confession you’d have to make about your dirty reading habits, what would it be? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

scavenger hunt tag

Books, Classic, Novel, Tag, Young Adult

Hello my lovely friends

I was tagged by the charming Fadwa @ Word Wonders to take part in the Scavenger Hunt Tag! I love going on scavenger hunts and if there’s one involving books, I’m all in 🙂 Fadwa has just the most darling blog, so please go check out all her amazing content!

I don’t see any rules for this tag, and it’s pretty intuitive, so I’ll go ahead and get started!


Find a book with the letter ‘Z’ in its title or the author’s name.

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Though I haven’t read this one, the synopsis always piques my attention each time I read it.

The Godfather – Mario Puzo

The epic tale of crime and betrayal that became a global phenomenon.

Almost fifty years ago, a classic was born. A searing portrayal of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and their powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor. The seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and the allegiance to family—these are the themes that have resonated with millions of readers around the world and made The Godfather the definitive novel of the violent subculture that, steeped in intrigue and controversy, remains indelibly etched in our collective consciousness.


Find me a classic

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I loved this classic and garnered so much knowledge about poverty, wealth and love.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby is the bright star of the Jazz Age, but as writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of his Long Island mansion, where the party never seems to end, he finds himself faced by the mystery of Gatsby’s origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, Gatsby is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon, this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.


Find A Book with a Key in the cover

Incarceron (Incarceron, #1)

I’m so glad that I had the chance to do this tag and rediscover this series I so enjoyed as a young girl. I loved this book, and hope to revisit it someday!

Incarceron – Catherine Fisher

Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons.

A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists.

But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born


Find something on your shelves that isn’t a book.

I would take a picture, but I’m in the midst of packing, and everything is quite bare. On my bookshelf, I carry not only books, but photographs, stationary and make up. I promise to show this to you all some day as soon as I get settled in!

 


Find a book with an animal on the cover.

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My childhood favorite series, I read all these books multiple times, and watched all the movies! True fan here :p

The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S Lewis

‘They say Aslan is on the move. Perhaps he has already landed,’ whispered the Beaver. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delightful strain of music had just floated by. And Lucy got that feeling when you realize it’s the beginning of summer. So, deep in the bewitched land of Narnia, the adventure begins.

They opened a door and entered a world–Narnia–the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Lucy is the first to stumble through the back of the enormous wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old country house, discovering the magic world beyond. At first, no one believes her. But soon Edmund, Peter and Susan, too, discover the magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. And in the blink of an eye, they are changed forever.


Find a book with a girl on its cover.

Whispers in Autumn (The Last Year, #1)

This book I grabbed during my huge eBook haul. I love the combination of orange and blue on this cover, and find it just captivating.

Whispers in Autumn – Trisha Leigh

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.


Find a non-YA book.

The Help

Though I have yet to watch the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. One page to the next, I found myself laughing, crying and just falling in love with each character.

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step….

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.


Find a book with stars on its cover.

The Little Prince

A classic with a cute illustration on the cover. I love reading this short story, and have always loved this darling cover.

 

The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.


Find a book with golden letters.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

This series was one of the first that I started reading since I started this blog. I really enjoyed, and this book will always bring back great memories.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats – Jan-Philipp Sendker

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present.  When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.


I Tag:

CW @ Read Think and Ponder

Teacher of YA

Ola @ Ola Reads Books

Melanie @ Mel to the Any

The Jouska

And anyone out there ready for an adventure!


Have you gone on any scavenger hunts lately? Or read any of the listed books? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Books, Contemporary, Movies, Novel, Review, Young Adult

 

:: author:: Stephen Chbosky :: published: 2010 :: my rating: 4/5 :: genre: novel :: young adult :: contemporary :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

I’m trying something new today and posting a movie and book review all rolled in one post! I recently watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, something I had been meaning to do for some time, and because I had finished the book fairly recently as well, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. Lets go ahead and get started 🙂


Synopsis from goodreads:

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Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.


My Review: (No Spoilers)

The first time I read this book, was during my pre-teen years when I can’t say I was emotionally or mentally prepared to broach the topics presented. However, after revisiting the book, I was better able to grasp and appreciate the topics and issues that were being addressed. If there was were issues with the book, it would be the following.

  1. There was too much going on in the book. I felt like Chobsky tried too hard to include too many topics, and often times it felt overwhelming. Although this could have been done on purpose, I still felt myself having to stop periodically and just think. 
  2. I had to remind myself that Charlie was only a freshman and that this book took place in high school. 
  3. I had trouble understanding why Charlie was unable to identify any emotion other than sadness and regret. Although this is how depression works, I felt that this cycle of whining and inability to understand his situation to be monotonous.

However, I loved how real the book was. How it illustrated mental issues, and the realistic perspective into the struggles adolescents have.

First lines in the book:

“August 25, 1991
Dear Friend,

I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have. Please don’t try to figure out who she is because then you might figure out who I am, and I really don’t want you to do that. I will call people by different names or generic names because I don’t want you to find me. I didn’t enclose a return address for the same reason. I mean nothing bad by this. Honest.

I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn’t try to sleep with people even if they could have. I need to know that these people exist.

The movie, was equally as good, and I found myself falling in love with Emma Watson and surprisingly, I felt like Charlie became so much more real to me. The movie, however, expounded upon the drug culture, and I found myself thinking that this seemed to be more of a college setting than that of high school. This could be in part because my high school experience was so much different, but it was difficult to grasp that these kids were merely high schoolers, as they had so much terrible history behind them.

Characters:

I believe that Chobsky’s characterization and descriptions of the characters were the highlights of the book, and what made the book so lovable. By the end of both the book and the movie, I felt as if I knew each character at a personal and deep level. Each were multifaceted and brought so much dimension to the book.

Charlie is the embodiment of all that adolescents are afraid to admit and be. Innocent and honest, he works as the perfect narrator, providing insight into all the ugly and terrible things that accompany growing up, while also showing the beauty of friendship and love. Suffering from childhood trauma, and depression, Charlie is simply trying to make his way through high school as a normal student. Not only does Charlie have an ugly past that always threatens to ruin his social life, Charlie finds himself to be smarter, and more insightful than the rest of his class. Although his complaints and inability to function correctly in society grew to be annoying, I could understand and empathize with his plight.

In the movie: Charlie is everything I imagined him to be in the book. I had trouble grasping what sort of exterior Charlie exuded at school, and the movie helped me to realize that even with his conflicting interior, he was just that kid in school that we never talked to. This prompted me to realize that these people suffering from problems are all around us.

Contrasting sharply to Charlie’s naivety is Sam. Patrick and Sam take Charlie under their wings, and teach him about life. I believe that it is Charlie’s interactions with these characters that develop him, and expose him to the reader. I won’t say much about the supporting characters, as I found myself enjoying reading and learning about them the most.

The Plot:

There are a series of love stories in this book, all very different from each other. I loved this aspect of this book, as the reader is shown the pain and hardship that accompany any sort of relationship. There were relationships that didn’t work out, a LGBT relationship, one without love, and an abusive one as well. This helped me realize that it’s not always happily ever, and that in the world, there is always a lot more under the surface.

Though I won’t say much about the plot, as I found the characters to be what made the book amazing, I never was bored, and found myself devouring each page to discover more about each character.

Final Thoughts:

This story provided moments to cry, learn and empathize. This coming to age novel taught me a lot about mental health, as well as allowed me to realize that some of the thoughts and issues I was having was not exclusive to me. I was able to better grasp the value of friendship, and what love is. I recommend this to everyone and anyone!

Both the book and movie were wonderful, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to reread and watch.


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Have you watched or read either The Perks of Being a Wallflower? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

why EVERYONE should read

Books, Thoughtful Thursdays

Hello my lovely friends!

I know, I know, most of you are probably rolling your eyes, wondering why I’m even bothering to post this!

As some of you may know, I also write for The Odyssey Online. This is “a social discovery platform committed to democratizing content creation while personalizing discovery” This past week, I listed some scientifically proven reasons as to why everyone should read! If you guys want to check it out and share on facebook, twitter or reddit, click here. Otherwise, enjoy this quick, fun article as to how reading is beneficial in every type of way.


This summer, I created a book blog in hopes to keep myself accountable in reading and so that I could occupy myself with a project. It’s only been three months since I’ve begun, and my love for books have grown along with my TBR (to be read) list. I personally did not even know this section of the internet existed, but now that I’ve discovered it’s magic, I’m finding it difficult to pull myself away from a book, or my blog. I mean, what a great excuse to stay home all the time. Right?

In hopes to excuse my reclusive behavior for the past few months, I decided to research some benefits of reading. I mean, I get it. We’re all busy with life that it’s nearly impossible to crack open a book. Especially with technology constantly begging us to be used, reading sounds like it would be a great pastime, IF THERE WAS TIME. No matter what type of aversion you may have towards books, or excuse for not reading, here are a couple of reasons you should put everything down and read.

1.You’ll become smarter

Smarter

Yes, you did indeed read that correctly. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley by Anne E. Cunningham,explains the Mathews effect in which reading at a young age, and reading a lot, can expand vocabulary and increase the pleasure of reading. This can also work in the opposite way, so encourage your kids or siblings to read! Reading also helps in oral conversations as it was found that those who could easily read at a young age, had greater verbal abilities at an older age. Plus, reading helps keep the mind sharper.

2. You’ll become a nicer person

rolling eyes

Even those hopeless causes now have a chance! Reading can make it easier for you to relate to others and therefore, make you more empathetic. Another study published by Science, by David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano states that literary fiction especially will allow readers to better read others emotions. Through reading, readers are able to connect with characters and connect how people think to how they act. This can help in real life when dealing with what others may be thinking or feeling.

We all know what we’re going to gifting to our siblings this year…

3. You Can Become Sherlock Holmes

sherlock holmes

Well maybe not, but you can obtain better analytical skills. Following the plot, analyzing the characters and forming an opinion about books is a great way to boost your brain stimulation. Being able to critique a book requires brain power, and helps your analytical skills. Often, it takes a couple of days before an opinion can be solidly made about a book, and discussing books with others forces you to understand and meditate about the book.

4. You can battle Alzheimer

fight

Inactivity in your brain is often the cause for Alzheimer. Keeping parts of your brain engaged through various activities such as puzzles or READING can help fight against Alzheimers at an early age. One study showed that Alzheimer patients often had reduced activities during their midlife. In the study, it was concluded that there must be a diversity in the activities you take part in, along with intensity, meaning the time devoted to each activity. The study also showed that taking part in educational activities was most effective.

5. Improved focus and concentration

don't touch

When was the last time you sat down for thirty minutes straight and worked, totally immersed, on something without checking your phone? Reading helps you focus on a book for an extended time, and reading before work or school for twenty minutes straight, can help you have a more focused day.


I hoped you guys enjoyed this, something a tad different from what I normally post, but related to books in a way!

Did you know about all these benefits to reading? Will you be using this to convince others to read as well? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

review: blood orchids by toby neal

Books, Fiction, Mystery, Review

 

:: author:: Toby Neal :: published: 2011 :: my rating: 4/5 :: genre: mystery :: fiction :: thriller :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

First order of business, I’M NOT IGNORING YOUR COMMENTS! I’ve found that a lot of the comments you have been leaving have been falling under my “spam” and have not been posted. I’m slowly going back through and replying to these comments. Please check your spam boxes as well!

I decided it was time to entertain myself with a mystery, something I had not done for quite some time. When the title Blood Orchids popped up, I was intrigued for two reasons. 1. because it takes place in Hawaii

2. I love orchids

And what a coincidence that I was looking for a mystery right about then. Lets jump on in to the review.


Synopsis from goodreads:

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Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.

Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei’s intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.

Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she’s being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei’s quest for answers—and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer—but he knows where to find her first.


My Review: (No Spoilers)

All potential spoilers marked.

This debut thriller doesn’t ease you into the mystery at hand, but takes off running from the first line and never stops. Even the first sentence is made to grab the readers attention.

“Drowning isn’t pretty, even in paradise”

The pace never slows down for the reader, and I was constantly amazed by the series of plot twists and the way every detail weaved together to create a story line that had me frantically reading to finish. What I enjoyed about this mystery, was how unpredictable it ended up being. Characters I wished to dislike ended up finding their way into my good graces, and those that I initially found to be disagreeable, later became a favorite. I also appreciated the depiction of a strong, young, female character. Although there were times in which I felt annoyance for her paranoiac behavior, I was able to reason why she must act in that manner.

This is not your typical thriller. Very jarring topics such as rape and murder are addressed, and not in a flowery manner. I found this to add to the story, and although none of the descriptions went very in depth, there was just enough to keep you on your seats, and beg for the perpetrator to be caught.

A couple of things that I found to detract from the book were:

  1. Lei’s constant sense of mistrust and constant attempts to push people away. I know, this is just part of her character. But often times, this bad girl act became frustrating and I found myself wanting her to have some human feelings rather than constantly chasing after her definition of justice.
  2. How many problems were caused just by Lei’s unwillingness to listen. (Is it obvious that most of the problems I had simply stem from Lei’s personality?) Though her pushy, nosy personality helped solve the mystery, I still found it disappointing that so many pages were made up of others fixing her mistakes.
  3. The ending. It was to fairy tale-esque. Everything ended perfectly, people ended up where they were supposed to be. And I felt empty when something so suspenseful and exciting came to a screeching halt for a perfect ending.

The Characters:

The main protagonist in this story, Lei served as an amazing central character. She was not only complex, but there were multiple layers to her personality and as Toby Neal did a phenomenal job of putting the reader inside Lei’s head. At first, I found Lei’s brash, tough front annoying. It felt as if she was pushing everyone away, and refusing to trust or listen to others. I greatly abhor these characters, and it takes me a long time for them to grow on me. As Lei’s history slowly was revealed, I was better able to understand the reason behind her callous facade, and this helped greatly in making this thriller more interesting. I especially loved how Neal took his time in revealing Lei’s childhood secrets, as this added to the suspense of the book.

Each supporting character had his/her own unique personality and I found myself falling in love with them. One of my favorite characters in this book was Lei’s dog Keiki.A giant rottweiler that serves to protect Lei, and her only confidante. I felt as if Lei was extremely lucky as she had many people around her that were so willing to help and love her, if she would allow them. The walls that Lei built up to protect herself were frustrating at times, but necessary as you learn of her past. From Pono, her beloved partner in the police force, to her supportive friend Mary and auntie, I found all these characters lovable in their own way. Each had demons they were facing, and problems the had to deal with, but each had great love for Lei, and watching them support her through the times in which she had to deal with intense problems, was touching. (Even if they were quite brash in the way they showed it.)

The characters had real emotions, and expressed them in real ways. Pono’s gruff exterior, through his actions showed his soft, caring interior. *SPOILER* Lei’s aunt, who initially seems to be the perfect aunt taking in her niece, later has a dirty secret revealed. *SPOILER*  and a down to earth therapist all served to spice up the story. This added a more relateable edge to the story which I enjoyed.

The Plot:

I appreciated the fast paced plot, as I was never bored or skimming throughout this book. Neal does an excellent job of introducing various scenarios for the mystery, and each caused me to suspect/mistrust each character. This greatly added to the suspense. However, the downside to this was that it forced Lei to look much to suspecting and at a certain point I began to become annoyed at her obvious distrust towards everyone (except her dog). At no point was the plot ever at a standstill, and each new page seemed like a revelation abut a character. I really wanted to enter the book and help solve the mystery!

I’ll leave the plot review here, as I’m worried I’ll divulge too much and spoil the mystery…

Final Thoughts:

I loved the setting, loved the mystery, and found this book to be everything I expected. So why not the five stars? I felt as if it was too difficult to connect with Lei, and I had problems with her character. But I’ve always had problems with “tough girls” in book, and thus unable to appreciate the book as much as I would have (as I found myself becoming frustrate throughout the book.)


Quotes

One thing I liked about Lei was how she left little quotes hanging around so that she could read and ground herself in reality. Although the following quotes are not a part of the collection she had, they are little lines that caught my eye.

“It seemed like she was always too little, to late”

That feeling of helplessness and loss of self worth are perfectly summarized in this one line.

“There were apparently still beautiful things in the world”

Even as Lei is surrounded by crime and terrible things, she manages to find beauty and pleasure, which I very much appreciated.


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Have you read any mysteries lately? What mystery do you recommend me? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Books, Contemporary, Novel, Review, Romance

:: author:: Jenny Han :: published: 2014 :: my rating: 3/5 :: genre: novel :: romance novel :: contemporary :: goodreads

Hello my lovely friends!

Just another shameless plug: my twitter account @_kimmiegg is up and running! I’d love to catch up on your daily lives, and am looking forward to meeting you guys through twitter.

This book has been on my TBR list for a while, due to the plethora of amazing reviews about this book. Furthermore, after learning that it was a book based on a Korean-American family, I immediately included it in my eBook haul. I know many of you have read this book, but I can’t wait to share my thoughts on why this book doesn’t deserve the five stars I wanted to give it with you 🙂

(Since many of you have read this book, I have included a few could-be-spoilers. None divulge main plot twists or details. Read on at your own risk.)


Synopsis from goodreads:15749186

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.


My Review:

The aspect about this book that I loved was how relateable and realistic Lara Jean (the main character) was. Her struggle with finding love, and maneuvering through relationships, though often immature, were still always in character. I appreciated how Jenny Han included dialogue that was not only there to fill up space, but to provide insight into each personality and really develop each character into something real.

However, there were aspects of this book that made me question the hype.

  1. There didn’t seem to be any TRUE romance throughout the book. Especially because the relationship that permeated throughout the book was simply one that was supposed to be fake. I felt as if the various relationships presented in this book served to show Lara’s development. Although the majority of this book was devoted to her interaction with boys, I felt as if no real spark was found between any of them.
  2. I disliked how each sister seemed to have a romantic interest in their older sister’s significant other. Sure, it’s better to like your sister’s boyfriend, but not to crush after him… And mutually, if you’re dating someone, please don’t crush on her younger sister.. That’s just so, wrong…

The Characters

Each character is the typical archetype of a middle class family dealing with some sort of problem. In this case, it’s the death of a mother. Starting with the typical overworked father who loves his daughters and is always trying to find ways to give them the love and attention they deserve while trying to figure them out. I loved the attention and effort this father put into raising his family of three girls. Then there’s Margot, the oldest, most mature responsible and organized sister. She is the one who has kept the family together and running smoothly, and it is her departure that throws this book into motion. Kitty is the youngest of the group, and naturally plays one of the most vital (and predictable) parts in this story. Lastly, we have Lara Jean. The protagonist of this story.

Lara Jean is a sheltered, romantic teen trying to make it through the most important years of high school. Not only is she facing the hardships of exceeding her sister’s footsteps, but she has an issue with not ever truly expressing her feelings for others, but rather, choosing to lock them away in a box. In a way, I appreciated this side of Lara, as I found myself being able to relate to her inability to open up and share how she felt with others.

Then of course, we need to add in a troubled friend who always sticks up for the main character. Chris is the typical “this is not a phase mom” character who  helps Lara through her difficult times. To thicken the plot, we add Genevieve, the beautiful, flawless mean girl who adds drama to the story. And her perfect boyfriend, Peter, who enters Lara Jean’s life with a lot of emotional baggage.

The Plot

Although the characters were not very unique and this story was lacking in that department, the plot was very unique. There were times I really had to wonder what was going to happen next, and what choice Lara Jean was going to make. I was also constantly curious as to how each character would react to the actions of others. Because the characters are quite archetypal, I thought I would be able to predict how each of them reacted… Surprisingly, my conjectures were proved false.

Although these small aspects of the plot really made the book, I failed to find much romance. As stated before, I felt as if this book explored more of Lara’s development through failed relationships. When before, Lara measured her ability and worth against her sister Margot, we see her beginning to break free of that. I believe that was the best part of the book, and what made it so readable/relateable.

Ending Thoughts

This book was a light, fun read that I did finish in one sitting. It was hard to put down, and although there were parts that I wish had been dealt with better, I found myself really enjoying this quirky fun romance. *SPOILER*  I was disgusted by how Lara so easily cheated on her sisters boyfriend. Especially after she learned that they had had sex. *SPOILER* All in all, I wish that she had taken more control over her own life, although from my own personal experiences, I can relate to how difficult that could be.

This book was definitely a fun read, but I can’t give it the five star rating that I want to give it for the above reasons. Although I can’t say that I agreed and loved the book 100%, I will be reading the sequel as I have to know how Lara ends up!


Quotes

“I do this to feign confidence, because the more I fake it, the more it’s supposed to feel true.”

So, this is me all the time, and it really works! Sort of like the smiling theory that if you force yourself to smile, you’ll become happier.

“It’s scary when it’s real. When it’s not just thinking about a person, but, like having  a real live person in front of you, with , like, expectations. And wants.”

Love is a hard concept to grasp, and I think that often we read or watch stuff about it and think we know what love is. That we have a tangible definition only to find that explanation falling apart when we actually fall in love.

“A hundred years ago eighteen-year-old guys were out there fighting wars with bayonets and holding a man’s life n their hands! They lived a lot of life by the time they were our age. What do kids our age know about love and life”

This was said by Peter, and I just had to agree. Context is such a vital part in creating expectations.


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Have you read any books by Jenny Han? What do you think about the book? Have you ever written any love letters yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

101 followers, ramblings, and an update

Books, Milestone, Monday Update

Hello my lovely friends!

I’m so excited to announce that I have reached my first milestone of 100 followers! (101 to be exact…)

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This blog that I started on a whim, has quickly turned into a favorite hobby of mine, and has helped me to appreciate and love books even more. I’m so glad to have been able to connect with all of you and to discover more facets to this corner of the internet. The two months I’ve been blogging have truly been a memorable time in my life and I’ve learned and experienced so much, (even with a month long hiatus in there somewhere)  Thank you for your support and love, and I can’t wait to expand and grow even more.

As most of you know, I will be heading off to college in five days. FIVE DAYS! Although I’m very excited, I’m also immensely nervous for the big change this entails. Through all of this, I’m excited to be bringing along with me, my love for books and blogging.


Do you  have any advice for college freshman? What are some books I should cram in before leaving? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

eBook Haul

Books

Hello my lovely friends!

I recently went on a HUGE eBook haul after receiving my new laptop and getting the kindle app on it. Here are a couple of books I had been wanting to read, that I was finally able to buy. Especially with school looming, I wanted to read as many short novels as possible, before all this free time is snatched away from me agian.


To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

15749186To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

 


P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

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Laura Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

 


Whispers In Autumn by Trisha Leigh

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In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.


White Lies by Jeremy Bates

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YOU NEVER KNOW WHERE A LIE MIGHT LEAD…

While driving to a charming village tucked away deep in the Cascade Mountains of eastern Washington, where she is to begin a new job teaching high school English, Katrina Burton picks up a young hitchhiker who turns out to be a drunken creep. Fearful for her safety, she lies about her destination in order to get him out of the car. But when she later discovers that he is a teacher at the same school, she finds herself feeding that initial lie with more lies.

Then Katrina meets Jack Reeves. Handsome, charismatic and strong, he is exactly what she needs to extricate her from the expanding network of lies. She falls fast and hard for him. But when Jack lands himself in the middle of a grisly murder, she must decide whether to turn him in–or tell yet another lie.


Reckless Magic by Rachel Higginson

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16 year old Eden Matthews has been in and out of private schools for the last two years. She can’t seem to stop herself from closing them down. Kingsley is her last chance to finish high school and the last private school willing to accept her.

She is focused on just getting through graduation until she realizes Kingsley is not like the other private schools she’s been to. The students may be different, but so is she. And after meeting Kiran Kendrick, the boy who won’t leave her alone and seems to be the source of all her problems, she is suddenly in a world that feels more make-believe than reality.

To top it off, she is being hunted by men who want to kill Kiran and her best friend Lilly is taken away to a foreign prison. Eden finds herself right in the middle of an ancient war, threatening everything she loves. She alone has to find a way to save her best friend and the boy who has captivated her heart.

Reckless Magic is an intricate story about mystery, adventure, magic and forbidden love. Eden Matthews is an unlikely heroine determined to save the world and be with her one, true love before it’s too late.


Thin blade (Sovereign of the Seven Isles)

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When second son Alexander Valentine loses his brother to an assassin’s arrow, he discovers that his family protects an ancient secret and reluctantly finds himself at the center of the final battle of a war that was supposed to have ended 2,000 years ago.

Pursued by the dark minions of an ancient enemy, Alexander flees to the mountain city of Glen Morillian where he discovers that he is the heir to the throne of Ruatha, one of the Seven Isles, but before he can claim the throne he must recover the ancient Thinblade. Seven were forged by the first Sovereign of the Seven Isles and bound to the bloodline of each of the seven Island Kings in exchange for their loyalty to the Old Law. Each sword is as long as a man’s arm, as wide as a man’s thumb and so thin it can’t be seen when viewed from the edge.

Thinblade is the story of Alexander’s quest to find the ancient sword, claim the throne of Ruatha, and raise an army to stand against the enemy that has awoken to claim dominion over all of the Seven Isles.


Faelorehn by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

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I never heard him come after me and even as I climbed the slope and stumbled onto our shaded back lawn, I didn’t look back. It was like the day the gnomes chased me all over again, but this time I was not escaping some horrible little creatures, I was fleeing from an incredibly good-looking guy who could very well understand me completely. I was either saving myself from that serial killer I always imagined lived down in the swamp, or I had finally gone over the deep end . . .

Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.

Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought.


A New Life by David J. Antocci

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After saving a drowning man during a savage storm, Abby wakes up in a tropical paradise in a fight for her life. She has no idea how she got there, and notices changes in herself that she cannot explain. Haunted by unsettling dreams of her past, she sets out to escape, joined by Eric, who finds himself in the same predicament. Standing in their way is a madman, and his band of willing followers, with a mind set on murdering their unwelcome visitors. An eccentric hermit who has been living there for years offers them refuge, but they must deny his generosity. Escape is their only option. Yet, they discover this deceptive paradise is harder to leave than they had ever imagined. One mystery leads to another, until their escape throws them into even greater danger as Abby’s frightening past finally catches up with her. Her escape is only the beginning.


The Gauguin Connection
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Murdered artists. Masterful forgeries.

Art crime at its worst.

A straightforward murder investigation quickly turns into a quagmire of stolen Eurocorps weapons, a money-laundering charity, forged art and high-ranking EU officials abusing their power.

As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing – not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills – prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life.

It started as a favour to help her boss’ acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.


Blood Orchids by Toby Neal

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Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.

Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei’s intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.

Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she’s being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei’s quest for answers—and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer—but he knows where to find her first.


UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

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Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; until she saves her crush’s life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it’s next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end

 


Do you prefer physical copies or eBooks? And do any of you know how to format these blockquotes so the font isn’t so big? I’ve really been struggling to make that happen. Let me know in the comments below 🙂