February 27, 2015

Book Review: Fine-Tuning Hanna by Tiina Walsh

Fine-Tuning Hanna
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Get a copy here!

So, Tiina Walsh is kind enough to give me the e-copy of this book since I didn’t win the paperback one through Goodreads First Reads.Prettily cute cover, unique title, and intriguing blurb were three main things that made me interested in reading Fine-Tuning Hanna. Oh and also the little words etched in the upper side of the book cover seemed promising a good romance book. That’s why I felt more than welcome to read this book and give my review here.
“Would saying the magic words ‘I love you’ in time have stopped it all going so wrong?”
When Hanna Suvanto first arrived in Dublin, Ireland through a two-year work exchange program as a piano-tuner with an Irishman, she couldn’t help but comparing the said country with her own, Finland. So many differences between these two countries were listed from language, its people’s personality, until the smallest thing like how buses work in each country. Despite the very well-known cold personality Finnish usually had, Hanna was actually a sociable and willing-to-learn kind of woman. She tried her best to socialize with the whole different culture of Irish people even though sometimes it didn’t go really well like what she expected it to be. No problem, though. Because she loved working here in Ireland and she had the best friend a girl could ever have, Micheál. 

Seeing how people easily judged her from her outer cold demeanor, she never thought of looking at any Irishman romantically moreover dating one of them. When Micheál dragged her to a personal development seminar, she saw the first thing that totally blew her mind ever since she came to Ireland a bit over a year ago, Sebastian O’Reilly. 
Sebastian O’Reilly was an Irish successful personal development speaker. He went from place to place, country from country to deliver the positive message about developing one’s self through interactive seminar. He was just the picture of perfect man any girl could ever dream of having. But everything that perfect from the outside was not always perfect from the inside. Sebastian could never get over the fact that he was just a lonely grown-up man with a father that resented him in every aspect of his life. And then he met Hanna, a beautiful, independent, and determined Finnish woman. He didn’t think twice and asked her phone number on the first meeting. He’d never been so sure about things in his life until now. 
After the first date, Hanna and Sebastian couldn’t deny any attractions going on between them both. Knowing Hanna had a very limited time staying in Ireland, Sebastian did everything he could to give her unforgettable six months she ever had in life. Things were great and everything ran so ever smoothly together. But when an unexpected thing happened and coerced her to return back to Finland so suddenly, they both were faced with the unclear direction of their future relationship. That’s when they realized none of them ever said those three magic words to each other. And when one’s trust was ruined completely and insecurities kept coming and darkened their circumstances, it’s all up to Hanna and Sebastian whether or not to take their further steps to a fuzzy relationship. Or was it even worth to risk everything they had at the moment? Even leaving their beloved country?

I had a fun time writing this down. It was one thing about writing a brief synopsis of the story before jotting down what I felt about the book itself. I sometimes found myself loving the book after writing the synopsis even though I felt indifferent after reading it. Or often I found myself loving the book even more than when I fell in love with the book during reading. And Fine-Tuning Hanna belonged to the latter here.
I was not quite familiar with the author’s writing style so sometimes I was surprised by certain scenes I found in this book. I never thought of finding a very detailed description of the countries here. And I surely didn’t think of getting rather descriptive side-stories about the other characters on the book. This was new.
While people said that they don’t quite familiar with Ireland and Finland, I’ve known these countries pretty well since I was in high school. Dublin is actually one of my favorite countries in the world. It started with my loving the band The Script. And I just really love Irish accent so much. I knew Finland because I was a big fan of F1 when I was still in high school. I never missed a race that was shown on television. My favorite of course, that cutie ‘Iceman’ Kimi Räikkönen and he’s from Espoo, Finland. And you know how crazy teenagers when they idolize someone to the extent that they’re so willing to learn everything about him, and that included their country and all the things related to it. That’s why I was excited to find this would be a cross country romance book between Ireland and Finland!
(And yes, I pretty much aware that my loving a country always started with hotties. I know this very well, thank you.).
Seems like I wander off of the topic…
Okay. When I found that the author loved to give many details into everything on the book, I loved that she put a lot of trivia about the countries. The things she wrote about piano-tuning and personal development were great. Tiina Walsh really knows what she’s writing about.
The book is fast-paced which is fine with me. The instant love between Hanna and Sebastian is not impossible. It actually is really possible for two people to fall for each other hard after only one date. Lots of proofs of that in real life. Ms. Walsh chooses a unique plot about cross-country romance. She shows us that cross-country romance is not any different than those of same country as long as the couple’s savvies for each other are on the table. It was just like any other relationships that trust issue and insecurity is always the hurdle for two people to get on the same track.
“Our beliefs also have to be fine-tuned in such a fashion, to allow them to play in perfect harmony with each other”

-Sebastian O’Reilly-
(Isn’t this so cute? >.<)
Sebastian’s character reminds me on a true gentleman. He didn’t hesitate of swallowing his pride for the woman he loves. His constant understanding for Hanna is endearing. He is the man who thinks thoroughly first before taking an act. I really loved it whenever Ms. Walsh put the characters to have a self-reflection upon their prior actions before confronting the others. Sebastian’s realization upon his father’s demeanor just made me love him more. And I love Hanna’s personality. She’s one fierce and brave woman. I am actually a bit envious of how she’s not afraid of showing what she truly feels inside.
Despite the appearance of lots of personal development speeches and fine-tuning piano business which most of us not familiar with, Fine-Tuning Hanna is actually a light and enjoyable read. The problem issued here was considerably soft-core. It was pretty funny too. Sometimes I found Hanna was a bit comical when she’s all giddy about Sebastian.
Generally the whole story is good. It’s just that I was hoping the side-story of the other characters wasn’t written in details because this was a book about Hanna and Sebastian. It might be best to not getting into all details about the other couple. Well, maybe it was because I couldn’t relate well with the other characters. I think it might be better to put a glimpse of their story and give them their own spin-stories in separate books, maybe.
Oh, and the ending was simple yet so cute (well, this sounds like a spoiler…)! Thanks to Ms. Tiina Walsh for introducing this Sebastian-Hanna couple to me :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

Book Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

Or to my FOREVER TOP READS, I guess!

I am new to Cynthia Hand’s books circle. A lot of people said that she’s known with her amazing YA-paranormal series as debut, but as I am always like a YA-fiction girl than a YA-fantasy girl, sure I didn’t know about this. So, this is my first time reading her book and I’m so so glad I found this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G one (thanks to my attempt of joining Epicreads two weeks ago)!

I started reading this book without any expectation. I read the blurb and I was like, “oh, another book of grieving over loss of sibling through suicide”. I read a lot of books about coping of someone’s loss before (e.g. Love Letters to the Dead. Uniquely heartbreaking). I also read bunches of books with suicide as the main issue before as well (e.g. All the Bright Places. Cruelly heart-ripping). And I loved them all, really. But this is the first book that portrayed how a family dealt with loss of a family member through a terrible way, suicide. How they ―beside of dealing with their loss of beloved son/brother― also had to deal with people’s snide whispers and dirty glances. Cynthia Hand was inspired to write this book by her own experience of losing a brother years ago. I really highly appreciate her decision to write a book with this suicide issue (that must be still somehow sensitive for her, personally) and shared the insight from the mourning family’s angle so details to everyone. This book seriously deserves attention from every single person in this whole wide world if they want to be a part of more-aware-of-our-surroundings society.

Alexis Riggs’ world has been slowly but steadily filled up with guilt and what-ifs once she received that direful phone call on her night date with Steven. That night, December 20, her younger-by-two-years brother, Tyler died of suicide on their garage. That night changed every single aspect of her and her family’s life. That night worsened their already broken family. Less than 24 hours ago, he was still sitting with her and their mom having breakfast together as usual. Then less than 24 hours later, he was already lying soulless on a steel table. 

As much as it broke her heart, it broke her mother’s heart much worse. She cried every day as if she never ran out of tears. Tears streaming down face now became her daily view at home. 

At school, the nerd Alexis became popular with title the-girl-whose-brother-died. Pity looks were everywhere. Judging glances were on every corner. Alexis slowly drew herself out of her friend circle. And as she chose to break-up with her always-understanding boyfriend, she practically had no one to turn to.

And then mysterious things kept happening to her. As if they were the way Ty telling Alexis to do all those unfinished business. She found that they were things that she surely wouldn’t want to do. She kept denying everything; everything including the reason why Ty did what he did.
As Alexis tried so hard to keep her life on the right track, she discovered a lot of things along the way: they were no such ‘old’ friends in life, not everyone has similar judgments upon something, that guilt and blames would forever haunting us to the extent that they would take over our innocent and love, that hate should never be a ‘forever’ part in our life, that denying reality was such a tiring job, that there was a reason for everything in this world. When she finally could see all of that, it was now time to receive peaceful from acceptance and find someone to be the other recipient as well.

I instantly fell in love with Ms. Hand’s writing style. I was amazed how she could deliver such a deep and meaningful message via casual, often times damn-funny, and light sentences like that in every page. The humor slipped here and there was so refreshing. I couldn’t help laughing at several humors, especially those math-related. God, I had no idea that math could be so fun and romantic as well!
“You look like Euler’s equation”, he murmured as he looked me up and down.

Nerd translation: Euler’s equation is said to be the most perfect ever written. Simple but elegant. Beautiful.
See? Isn’t that funny and romantic as hell? And there were still a lot of math-related quotable words more in the book!
Every character was so well-built. My most favorite was Alexis herself. I love how she always tried hard to appear strong in front of her mom, how she manage to be so mature despite her frustration over the circumstance she was in. I really really love her every moment with Tyler. God, they had such lovely childhood. I caught myself smiling a lot (like really smile with this whole sincere vibes radiating from my face and a little ache as well) reading their closeness together. It wasn’t until her journal dated March 31 that I began crying. At first it was just this two tears fell down from the corner of my eyes then on chapter 36 I began crying a river, and on chapter 37 until the last page I sobbed uncontrollably. Once I finished, I put down my reader and stared silently at my ceiling with thousands thought crossing my mind.

There is this one sentence that I keep thinking in my mind:
…nothing can remind you of your own fragile place in the universe so powerfully as someone your own age dying suddenly,…
(Alexis Riggs)
I thought back to two years ago the evening I received the text saying one of my classmate in university passed away. We were on the same lab group during third year and among the group he was the only one I could rely on during lab work. He was smart, clever, and so persevering. Beside school, he also taught math private course for high school during days. And that’s why we often worked until pass midnight to get our assignments done. He was also really kind and never got mad at anything. He has this smile that always reached his eyes. The moment I received the text, I stared silently at my ceiling with thousands thought running in my head. I remembered how I kept trying to make myself believe that he’s passed away. That he, such a bright person, had to leave this world at such young age. That he never got a chance to graduate and got a bachelor degree in Engineering. That he never got a chance to get a job at real company. That he never got a chance to experience what I could experience until this very moment. It was a really sad feeling. His girlfriend, our junior, for weeks had this expression of avoiding people’s stares for a chance getting pity looks. It broke my heart a little witnessing it in real life.

The sentence above made me remember all these and I found myself grieving all over again but at the same time I felt thankful for the chance I keep getting until now to experience life. Ms. Hand successfully reminded me to keep being thankful for having life. And through this book, she taught us how to peacefully live with a loss feeling, how to never forget to tell our beloved ones our feeling in every chance, and how to treat the mourning family/person in a better way than what people usually do in common.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is not just a book about dealing with the loss of a family member, it is also a book about family. How parents should be more careful with how their kids would react over something big they plan to do. It was just so disappointed that the parent in this book didn’t do that…

This book will change its readers’ life in a good way. And with its beautiful cover and awesome title, I could not be agree more that this book deserves five brightest stars (or even thousands more, definitely)!
Thank you Cynthia Hand for this beautiful baby :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

Book Review: Hero by Samantha Young

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

“A man like me isn’t capable of being your f__king white knight.”
“I never asked for that. 
…you’re no f*cking white knight, but you’re what I want.” 

I’ve desperately waited for this book to be released ever since December last year. And when it came out I unfortunately was in the middle of readathon of other authors’ books so I’ve been on the edge for quite a while to get my hands on this book. It wasn’t until the beginning of this week that I’m free from my February reading list. I had a really high expectation to this new standalone from Samantha Young. I mean, I’ve read everything on Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street series and they’re lovely. Her writing style is perfect and she always manages to fulfill my hunger of great contemporary romance.
Well, this book is great, as always Samantha effortlessly hooked me with her over-the-top writing style and I finished this book in one sitting. This book has a similar vibe as Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series. You know, a love story between a blindingly handsome and rich bachelor haunted by dark past with a gorgeous confident one of a kind girl. I love Crossfire series and unsurprisingly I love Hero too. But sadly Hero didn’t impress me like I thought it would. I mean, I enjoyed it and even loved parts of it but it wasn’t the book that lingered in my head long after I finished it. It was good I loved it but it wasn’t excellent I fell in love with it.
This was actually the second book that I’ve been waiting impatiently to be released on this year that didn’t completely repay my giddiness (the first one was Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Redemption. Read my review of Beautiful Redemption here if you wanna know why).

Alexa Holland’s life was completely ruined by a man who she thought would be her forever hero. Her mother died when they were not in a speaking term, her father was someone that she would never want to meet anymore, no one came forward and claimed her as family, and her boss hated her for breathing. She was utterly alone. Yet she was in the verge of losing her only job after an awful encounter with a successful attractive every woman’s dream guy, Caine Carraway at work. And what worst, she might not get other jobs in this field anywhere forever. Caine wasn’t a stranger to her. They shared the same flawed history and were chained together in a complicated way. Caine hated her, it was clear and however understandable. But she was not the one in fault, and surely no one could judge her just by the bloods that ran in her veins. Alexa only wanted Caine to see that. Or maybe it was what the actual plan. But the moment they met, she knew it was more than that. And maybe that was what Caine wanted as well. Unable to deny the attractions that strongly pulled them into each other’s arms, they kept being haunted by their dark history and some ugly secrets that was hidden neatly behind the wall. 
Caine didn’t want Alexa to put her hope high on him. 

Alexa wanted Caine to break the wall and let her pull him through. 
Caine didn’t want to be her hero. 
Alexa wasn’t looking for a hero in him. 
When things got rough, would they be able to see past the dark veils and see each other for just who they were? And accept each other for just who they were?

All characters in this book were very well-built. The writing was smooth and damn was it hot as hell. This might be the steamiest book of all Samantha Young’s, I guess. I love Caine along with all his baggage. I mean, his insecurity, his doubt and all the cold and mean personality he constantly showed to Alexa. I adore him, period. And Alexa is really one of a kind. I truly amazed by her confident and unwavering determination. Her smart-ass personality is what attracts me the most. And God, how I love their banters sooo much!
I just have one complain about this book, though. The push and pull between them seemed never ending. He hurt her, he felt bad, she was just oh-so-weak she accepted him back, he hurt her again, felt bad again, she became weak all over again, and they made up… again. The first and second time I was fine, but it went on and on and I was this close to roll my eyes at the never-ending cycle (which actually ended anyway). I understand why Caine kept doing that. I was actually a bit disappointed by Alexa for being so weak. She’s such a confident girl, how could she become all melting-ice-cube in front of Caine like that? (It was LOVE, okay? Love could turn you into melting-ice-cube, apparently.) The climax was a bit cliché but it was alright. And anyway I’m glad I couldn’t predict ‘the secret’ so it was pretty shocking when I found out.
Despite my disagreement of certain thing on the book, Hero is actually an enjoyable read. I enjoyed their banters. I also enjoyed the humors from Maisy’s evil demeanor (she’s Alexa’s friend’s baby girl). It reminded me of how brilliant Samantha when it came to write about kids and their undeniably cute behaviors. The chemistry between Alexa and Caine was so strong. And the romance was sweet I had to keep wiping the grinning off of my face.
So, I settled with four steamy stars for Hero ;)

February 16, 2015

Book Review: Maybe Not (Maybe, #1.5) by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Not (Maybe, #1.5)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

After reading Maybe Someday which didn’t meet my expectation I had before reading the book, Maybe Not was pretty much a light and enjoyable read. Colleen’s previous novella of Hopeless series, Finding Cinderella, was successfully won my heart and changed my opinion toward novella generally. I was hoping Maybe Not would give the same vibe.

Maybe Not is a spin story starring Warren and Bridgette whom we already met during Maybe Someday. Unlike the previous book, Maybe Not has quite a lot of steamy scenes between the main characters but not to the point of hardcore. But what I like the most was the banters between Warren and Bridgette. God, this couple is so unbelievably weird! Bridgette is so damn mean and Warren is charmingly okay with that. Love how Colleen showed the other side of Bridgette through the scene of her playing with Warren’s nephew. It was so cute!

Maybe Not might not make my heart swelling and blooming like Finding Cinderella, but I really enjoyed reading it. Especially, if you love funny reads, you'll surely love this one :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

Book Review: Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1) by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)
My rating: 3.6 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

So as I planned before, I’d filled up my February reading list with ALL of Colleen’s books and this week I successfully finished them all in less than 2 weeks. I fell in love with Slammed series, and then fell in love with Hopeless series ―thanks to Losing Hope. I expected myself to fall in love with Maybe Someday too. I’ve been eyeing this book for weeks. I was hooked by the cover and the title. I also contemplated to skip Slammed and Hopeless in order to read Maybe Someday first as the opening read but ended up sticking with the order (year of released it was). And when I finished reading three days ago, I was expecting I’d write a glowing five-stars review of this book but…
I seriously don’t know what to say about this book.

Okay, I’m not going to write a brief synopsis as usual ‘cause I would probably give too many spoilers. Let’s say Maybe Someday is a unique love story with undeniably attractive hearts-snatcher hero and majority plot is love triangle with a background of music. Really, the story is unique and original. I love the opening scene and the way our two main characters met for the first time. I also love every single song lyrics in this book. They’re all so beautiful and were different than those I’ve seen in other books. But Maybe Someday somehow made me realize that I’m really not a fan of any romance story which has love-triangle issues within. As much as it tries to appear ‘innocent’ in any book with good plot. I just… I don’t know, I just can’t believe that people could love two people at the same time even if in the end they admit they mistaken one of it as a love but still… they said those three words to two different people at the same time (not technically the ‘same’ time but… well, you know what I mean)!

I love the hero, Ridge so much. I do, really I do. It’s just unfortunate of him to be put on that situation. I love the way he played music. I love the way he loved music. I love what he chose to react to everything and everyone around him. I love his silly pranks. I love the way he wrote songs with Sydney. I love HIS SONGS. And I sure love his loyalty to his girlfriend, Maggie. But Colleen Hoover cruelly wrote his every moment with Sydney very very beautifully. GAH. Was it possible that I just fell in love with their moment together but not with them as a couple? Because it’s pretty much what I felt about them.

It’s ironic that I don’t like Sydney as much as I like Maggie. I understand that the power of attraction could be so strong and mercilessly made people weak in their right minds, but I also wished that Sydney would consider ‘talking’ with her mind first before letting her heart took a step forward. Also considering the situation she was in before meeting Ridge, it should be a good lesson to be a careful with love. No, I don’t hate Sydney. I just a bit annoyed with her never ending internal debate of should I/should I not be in love with Ridge. Just like with Ridge, I also felt sorry for her to be put in this situation.

And Maggie might be the only character that I like here. Well, maybe if Sydney and Ridge were put in a whole different circumstance, I am so sure that they’ll be my top favorite book couple… *sigh* well this is life, we cannot just always get what we want… *please ignore my drifting-mind*
Maybe Colleen tried to show us that after all we don’t choose who we fall in love with but I just am so DISPLEASED with this love-triangle plot.
… well, then again this is why Colleen is my favorite author.
As much as I disagreed with this book, Colleen managed to write a heart-wrenching ending scene which I loved so much. And that pretty much eased my disappointment toward the whole book. And it also reminded me again how much I loved Ridge and all heros whose ‘circumstances’ (not referred to the situation he was put in) are kind of similar as Ridge.
So, people, meet Ridge Lawson, my newest book-boyfriend (yeah boo me, everybody, just boo me all you want…).

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

February 14, 2015

Book Review: Finding Cinderella (Hopeless # 2.5) by Colleen Hoover

Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!
“I constantly have to bite my tongue when I’m around you because all I’ve been wanting to do lately is tell you how much I love you”
-Daniel Wesley-

Oh God, seriously I never found a novella with a very complex and intriguing plot before. Finding Cinderella is a novella yet the story is not like what novellas mostly have. With 90 pages, it successfully grabbed my heart, made it bloom and squeezed it then pump it again before put it back up on its place. I never fancy reading a romance novella before because I think no romance stories could be delivered via such short plot within less than 100 pages. But Colleen Hoover, everybody, yes that favorite author of mine, she always knows what to do to make me fall in love deeper and deeper with her (lemme smooch you up messily like a baby panda.....)

Daniel Wesley never knew that his habit to hide during fifth period at school’s maintenance closet would lead him to meet a Cinderella. Well, not literally Cinderella actually. He made up the endearment for a mysterious girl who he ‘accidentally met’ on the maintenance closet during fifth period. The said girl unknowingly entered the dark closet and fell on him. And she cried. Seconds passed by then turned into minutes until an unexpected kiss in the dark happened between them. She left after that leaving Daniel with a hope for her to come back again. A week later on the same dark place, they met for the second time. After a brief awkward conversation without any intentions of finding out whom each other actually was, Daniel and ‘Cinderella’ had a deal to play pretend as a long in love couple in 45 minutes. She left again after that, for good this time. And Daniel once again was left committing every single thing about her to his memory. 

A year later Daniel met Six ―Sky’s best friend who just came back from exchange program in Italy. After one simple dinner date, Daniel couldn’t be any more convinced that Six was nothing like every girl he’s ever been with. Six was bold. Six was so blunt. Six didn’t do everything that Daniel knew as girls’ shits. And Six fist-bumped him, that’s the coolest thing a girl ever done to him. Less than 24 hours, Daniel and Six had turned from strangers to exclusive lovers. Whatever it was between them; it was so intense, it was unusual, it was so damn fast, it scared them both. But they really couldn’t deny the attraction each other radiated. When they thought things couldn’t be more intense and any scarier, they were faced with shocking truths repetitively in one night. Could they still hold each other’s hands and keep going in this intense relationship afterward?

I always liked Six ever since she appeared for the first time on Hopeless. Her protectiveness toward Sky was something of her that grabbed my attention. And then Daniel was the one who made my feeling while reading Losing Hope lighter and happier. His funny personality and his specialty in making (rather disgusting) endearments were what made him adorable in his own way. He’s so likeable, loveable even, so adorable!

The plot is simple but still… the shocking feels are intense. The other characters were interesting as well. Loved reading little moments of Sky and Holder here! Oh, and I love Wesley family so much! Such a cool family… no wonder the son was so loveable <3 I laughed a lot reading this novella. Like really A LOT. And when the climax came up… bam!

I almost had a mini heart-attack and had to bury my face on my pillow for five good minutes to muffle my scream. That was wow! I loved it that Colleen didn’t think of over-sweetening the ending… always take the realistic path. BUT IT MAKES ME CRAVING MORE DOSES OF DANIEL AND SIX SO BADLY!!! Oh, how I hope they gonna have their own book someday… *directing a mass of puppy eyes toward Colleen* *please ignore my inner-romance-crave*

I’m starting to love reading romance novella now knowing that a novella could give me such a roller-coaster feeling too. Thanks so much for Colleen Hoover :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

Book Review: Losing Hope (Hopeless #2) by Colleen Hoover

Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!
Colleen Hoover is utterly amazing! This book OMG, this book!!

I super love her for writing Losing Hope! Seriously. Well, I told you about how I feel about the first book of this series on my previous review of Hopeless. I really wanted to love that book but sadly due to the issue that was brought up on the book, Hopeless didn’t become my favorite. But Colleen! God, Colleen is my forever favorite author and I know she would never let me down and DAMNIT she proved it again this time!!!

A lot of author nowadays decided to rewrite their books into the whole new book with different POV of the main characters. But only little of them could hit it like Colleen. What Colleen did was she brought us into an angle where we could perceive the story in completely different way to deepen our understanding of the whole issues inside. She did more than just rewrite them with different POV! I could not be more thankful that Colleen decided to write Losing Hope. It feels like she knew that there are people (like me) who really wants to love Holder and Sky but can’t do that because of the discomfort we feel caused by the certain issue inside the book so she presented this book to show us the different way to understand it all.

From Holder’s POV I felt more at ease while reading the whole story. I used to think that Holder showed a lot of non-sense acts to Sky during Hopeless and I’m glad it wasn’t like that at all now that everything was explained here. The scenes were all so freshened up. I caught myself laughing a lot while reading this –thanks to Daniel! And Holder and Sky’s moments here were way way sweeter knowing what Holder thought of her all those times. I totally fell in love with Dean Holder here. He’s real gentleman and even though he’s been through a lot of worst things in his life, he could always manage to find his own way to fix the scar while keeping his faith and giving his never-ending patience to those whom he loves in life despite the scar they’d left him with in the first place. In fact, his love grew even deeper and he loved them more fiercely.
“In order to miss someone, that means you were privileged enough to have them in your life to begin with.”

-Dean Holder- 
I love every single letter he wrote to Les here… even though most of the times it looked harsh but it was just his way of accepting Les’s decision. I swear I cried like a newborn baby when I read Les’ letter. It was just so heartbreaking yet relieving in the same time. And then again when I read Holder’s last letter to Les… God, his love for Les was all over the place. His every word was so damn beautiful.
“F*ck all the firsts, Sky.

The only thing that matters to me with you are the forevers.”

-Dean Holder-
His constant understanding toward Sky was over the top. I found myself fell deeper and deeper to him pages to pages. I kept wondering why I couldn’t see this side of him in 
. Well again, it’s all about the angle. Losing Hope has an angle where I could understand the whole story way much better than those of Hopeless. I am really glad I told myself to read this book anyway despite what I felt during Hopeless.
So, to those who find themselves not liking Hopeless 
please please please 
hear me out: I DO RECOMMEND YOU TO READ LOSING HOPE THIS INSTANT. You’ll definitely love Holder and Sky and their story here. In fact, you’ll regret it if you already read Hopeless but you don’t read this book, trust me.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

February 12, 2015

Book Review: Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

This is the second series of Colleen Hoover’s that I read this month.
I’ve read three of Slammed series last week and really really loved them. I’ve had the same high expectation on this series to begin with. But sadly this book didn’t grab my attention as hard as what Slammed did. I do find the story is good and heartbreaking, really. But I just don’t love this book like I loved Slammed. And I have my own reason for this.

Linden Sky Davis thought herself wasn’t like any other normal teenagers. When girls her age liked having intimate moments with boys, Sky couldn’t feel anything but numb whenever she’s making out. Maybe she did it with the wrong boys, but she’s been making out with several of them and the feeling was still the same. When the last boy she made out with decided to take a step beyond the line, Sky put a halt on wasting time with all those stupid boys. 
Sky’s been attending home school on the past thirteen years before her best friend slash neighbor Six, confronted her to join public school this semester. Sky was pretty nervous, added it with Six leaving abroad for 6 months, and the already-spreading rumors about her record making out with lots of boys, Sky knew the first day of school would be a total hell. Until she met Dean Holder. The first guy who strangely made her ‘feels something’ just by his stare. But he also happened to be the most evitable guy at their school. 

Just like her, Holder was also surrounded by floating rumors: the violence act he’d done at some guy at school which resulted with him being arrested last year, his disappearance for a year afterwards, the negative rumor about her sister’s suicide, some saying him was also suicidal. All of that should be enough reason for Sky to back off. But the more she knew him, the more he seemed less like what was being rumored about him. And Holder seemed had no intentions to stay away from Sky despite what rumor said about her. 

When Sky for the first time could experience the feeling of ‘something’ –thanks to Holder, and when Holder for the first time could feel ‘hope’ in his life –thanks to Sky, something from the past brought them down to the darkest part of their life. Something that Sky never imagined could ever happen. Something that Holder thought would never been discovered. Knowing their path had been tied with some black scarf once, could they fix whatever damages they got and moved on? Or would they just stay being hopeless and give up?

Colleen’s writing style is amazing. Even when I didn’t find my joy while reading this, her writing style was an enough reason for me to keep going. The characters, Sky and Holder were good, too. Sky’s behavior might be a bit confusing at first. I just had no idea why would she make out with all those walking testosterone if she couldn’t feel anything from the actions. If it was because her past, I don’t think that’s the right step to make. I mean, shouldn’t she have some panic attack or something like that? But when Sky met Holder, I began to like her slowly bit by bit. Holder might not be my favorite hero of Colleen’s but his determined act made me attracted to him. Every slow step he took toward Sky proved just how gentleman Holder was. Sadly, something inside the story made me couldn’t love this book completely.

As much as I tried to enjoy the story with all the likeable characters, I’m just not okay with certain issue that was brought up in this story. No, it’s not the suicidal act (I read several books with suicidal issue as the main focus and okay with that) and it’s definitely not the stalking act (this is what I read from the negative reviews about this book, they said something about the main character was creepy stalker but seriously it was not like that at all). This had something to do with their past. Some people might be okay having this issue on their reads, but I personally felt disturbed about that issue. It’s really the worst inhuman thing a human could ever do. Well, yes, I once heard about this on the local news and I am truly aware that that kind of thing did happen somewhere around us but I just don’t feel comfortable talking about it moreover having it on the book that I read. And sadly due to my uncomfy feeling toward the issue, I couldn’t thoroughly enjoy the romance in the book :(
But don’t let this stop you from reading Hopeless. After contemplating myself whether or not I should read the next book on the series: Losing Hope (it’s Hopeless story from Holder’s POV but we all know Colleen always do more than that in reverse POV book), I finally decided to read it anyway. Surprisingly so far I liked it and didn’t feel disturbed yet... hopefully I could completely enjoy the next book!

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

Book Review: This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover

This Girl (Slammed, #3)
This Girl by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!
“You want to know my sweet?”
“You. Always you.”

-Will Cooper-

This Girl is the third and the last book on Slammed series. So sad that my encounter with Layken and Will had to stop here but I’m truly happy for them both. My lovely couple!

In this last installment, we got to see everything happened on book 1, Slammed, from our hero’s point of view, Will Cooper. Yay! 

Well, I read a lot of books that was a reverse POV of its predecessor. But what made This Girl stand out is how Colleen delivered the reverse POV here. She’s not just writing the book all over again from Will’s POV so the reader would be a crying mess again, but she actually put every part in between the happy scenes so at least I was just crying a bathtub instead of crying a river… how did she do it? Read the book, alright! ;)
And we got an epilogue here for Layken and Will! Ah… it’s really beautiful ending… and the last poem in the end titled ‘My Final Piece’… LOVED IT! 
Really thank you Colleen Hoover for writing this beautiful series.

I really had an amazing reading list this month! :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

February 9, 2015

Book Review: Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover

Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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“Sometimes two people have to fall apart, to realize how much they need to fall back together”

God, oh God, my emotion for Layken and Will here is ALL OVER the place. I finished this book in one sitting past midnight and seriously cried non-stop from chapter sixth to the last page. I was so so happy that there are two more books for this couple but I just don’t expect there will be conflict between them (duh, of course, there will be, if there’s no conflict sure there’s no story to tell…). But then the long suffering really worth it, the ending was epic! 

Now that Layken and Will finally found their way to be together, this couple was faced with another bitter reality on their life. Last few years had been a long storm going. Layken with Kel ended up having the same life as those they’ve been seeing of Will’s and Caulder’s. And now four of them were sailing on the same boat, they’re more than ready to fight the possible storm and rough waves coming on their way in the future. But when the little rock from the past hit their boat, Layken and Will never thought that it would affect their future plan… and moreover, left Layken to second-guessing everything between them. In the end, they were reminded that in a relationship it was not always just fighting the storm together, but it was also about holding each other hand while fighting the storm together.

Well, this might be the shortest synopsis I ever wrote. I tried my best not to spoil much because in case someone who hasn’t read Slammed come across this review, then they won’t find out much about what happened in Slammed.
So, I finished this book in one sitting as well (just like Slammed!) and I am really proud about this fact because I think I’m getting better in increasing my reading speed because of this series. In this book, Colleen tested Layken and Will’s love once again through so many hurdles. One thing from Will’s past finally made its way between them. I liked that the conflict was not entirely focusing on that something; it was more like internal conflict between them. Here, Will’s love was proved to be stronger than it seemed. Just made me fall deeper for him… and that journal Will wrote every day… oh God, is there any other guy who’s as romantic as Will Cooper? I loved every piece, but here is my favorite:
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The heart of a man

Is no heart at all

If his heart isn’t loved by a woman.

The heart of a woman
Is no heart at all
If her heart isn’t loving a man.
But the heart of a man and a woman in love
Can be worse than not having a heart
Because at least if you have no heart at all
It can’t die when it breaks apart.
-Will Cooper-
I feel like hugging him in my arms when I read this…

What I liked best from this book is the appearance of other characters that very interesting. Beside Kel and Caulder (who hooked me up with their funny personality ever since book 1), there was their friend, Kiersten, who’s so witty just like Eddie, Layken’s best friend. Just look what this little girl said to Gavin about life:
“Sometimes things happen in life that you didn’t plan for. All you can do now is suck it up and start mapping out a new plan. ”
Isn’t it just so butterflying awesome?! :)
And a little advice from Will’s grandma is the best advice every guy could ever ask for:
“A guy can tell a girl he’s in love with her until he’s blue in the face.

Words don’t mean anything to a woman when her head’s full of doubt.

You have to show her.”
Oh, I just loved every one in this book!
During the first 5 chapters, the story ran smoothly and I laughed all the time while reading it. Seeing how Layken and Will played the role parents to Kel and Caulder was so damn interesting. And then the conflict came along… with a heartbreaking climax… Colleen just made me put Layken and Will on my ever after favorite book couples!
This series is seriously amazing! Hell, I think this is the best YA romance book for young couple out there. Like I said, this story is so realistic and would be a great reference about what to do for those who think they are about to have such true love in young age (or just everyone who think they are about to have true love in their life). I loved this series so freaking much. I just can’t wait to read what Colleen is going to present on book 3... 

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.

February 8, 2015

Book Review: Rising Tide, Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy #1) by Claudette Melanson

Rising Tide: Dark Innocence (The Maura DeLuca Trilogy, #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a digital version of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.*

Get a copy here!


So, I did write a review about this book before but I re-read it again today after the author sent me the kindle gift of this book and thinking (because I think I left out several points on my former review) that I might just rewrite my review :)

Rising Tide, Dark Innocence is the first book of YA-Paranormal Maura DeLuca Trilogy. As the first installment on the series, I must say that this book is pretty impressive. Truthfully, I already put a halt to any vampire-related books since the last time (and the first time as well) I read that genre. It’s not that I dislike them; it’s just that I sometimes prefer non-fantasy books than fantasy ones. But I found myself picking up this book from my e-reader shelf that day only to discover how enjoyable this book was. And I didn’t hesitate to re-read it again this time.

16 year-old Maura thought that she might be entitled as the pariah of this life forever. Having a real unique feature –especially on skin department- and weird habit of violently feeling nausea from the heat of bright sun, she didn’t have any friends, both at school and at home. Well, not that she minded it anyway. But still, being a teenager living with only her mother made her more un-sociable in some ways. It’s not that her mother forbid her to go out with friends or something, it was just that she might be a bit of overprotective type of parent. Again, not that she minded it all. Her father left them three months before she came into this world, leaving Maura and her mother with a quilt of sadness that covered her ever since day one Maura was born. 
Maura was a good girl. Being emotionally not close with her mother didn’t make her love her any less. She knew better than confront her mother about her father’s leaving though only God knew how curious she was every day. She was okay with that, anyway. She was fine with her life now and when her mother told her they’d move across the country, she was fine with that, too. But then there was always something happened in last minute in our life. Calm understanding Maura somehow didn’t feel fine with their moving soon.
It was Ronnie Stine. The senior who Maura met through rather embarrassing hit-and-soaking-milk-all-over-shirt accident on school cafeteria. Ever since that day, Ron seemed happen to be everywhere she was. He was tall, handsome, a bit strange, and surprisingly caring toward her. Well, it was only less than a day he knew her but Ron seemed to know whatever Maura needed every time. Mind-reader, once she thought, but that’s one stupid guess. 

In her last few days in the city, Maura grew closer with Ron; something that never once she thought could ever happened in her non-existence romance life. It bothered her a bit why she could not just meet Ron after she moved out of the city. But apparently it was not the only thing that bothered her lately.
Weird things kept happening to Maura. Like, really weird that she thought she might be seriously sick or something. What was even weirder that her mother seemed indifferent about her panicky. And Ron was mysteriously so accepting toward this new found behavior of hers. Just what in the world was happening to her now? Could she find out the truth behind this entire strange situation? Could she leave Ron behind, the only one who fully understood her more than what her mother did? Could it be that moving out was really a good thing for her? Maura had no idea at all.

Claudette is a new author for me but I found that her writing style is quite a catch. It might not be poetic or something like that but the hilarious sense was there. I always prefer writing styles that tend to be funny than just poetic. I loved how she made Maura’s character to be a rather calm outside, silly inside, good person too, and easy to like. It’s rare, knowing that she is going to be inhuman soon and I just found it so intriguing how Maura would manage her inhumanity. And there was Ron who’s so mysteriously gorgeous. I really have no idea where Ms Claudette would lead Ron’s character into but I think I sense something here.

The story basically has a light climax. The conflict was still building up here but I sense something bigger will happen on the next installment. There are just so many things remained mysterious here: the story about Maura’s dad, Ron’s pure acceptance of her strange behaviors, Maura and Ron’s future ahead, how she’d handle the shocking fact about herself. This first book, I have to admit, is successfully gaining reader’s curiosity to maximum level. This is a light read and funny as hell. I loved Maura’s internal debate and how clumsy she was every time Ron was around. This thing between Ron and Maura was pretty sweet and I am hoping really (sincerely) that nothing will get in their way.
So, I’m settling with 4 stars for Rising Tide, Dark Innocence as the start! Hopefully things will all be revealed on the next book! :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.