Monday, July 21, 2014

YA Review: Shade by Marilyn Peake (Interview + Slambook)

Published by: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on April 4th 2014
Genres:  Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 286
Source: Received a paperback from the author in exchange for an honest review

Book blurb:
Thanks to her offbeat mother, Shade’s full name is Galactic Shade Griffin. Having a name like that while being the new girl in school is pretty much catnip for bullies. The summer before Shade’s junior year of high school, her mother breaks up with yet another boyfriend and moves them once again to a new town.

This time, they move into a dilapidated old house where Shade has an entire attic bedroom to herself—at least until she discovers it’s haunted by the ghost of a teenaged boy named Brandon Yates. When Shade’s best friend goes missing, her life becomes even more complicated. With the help of Brandon who’s struggling with his own issues in the world beyond, Shade faces the question of whether or not she has what it takes to become a true hero.

SHADE is a Young Adult novel: Mystery with Paranormal elements.

(c) Goodreads

The book was simply a work of art, and I'm not even kidding. I was easily allured by the book because of its pretty pretty cover. And it was as gorgeous as its content. The scenes were carefully and intricately created into one beautiful story. And there weren't any romance needed! More books like this please! I am not a romance hater though. I absolutely love them! I just don't think it's necessary to have them in every book.

Aside from this book not having romantic scenes, I really adored the main characters, which I think is Shade. And Brandon. They stood out in this whole book! I was easily attached with them because the convey real feelings and personality. I've read a lot of books that has this almost-perfect character caught in between problems, and I just think they're too fictional. Shade and Brandon are like the "replicas" of every teenager. They got problems of their own, they are bullied to the point that they do rebellious things. I'm not saying that ALL teenagers are cutting themselves to death though. But I'm pretty sure that you are aware of the news?

There are bunch of good things that I can say about this book so I better list them down:
1.) The story was a combination of different genres. You won't even think it was possible to  mix them in one book.
2.) I'd like to say that the book was weird, but weird doesn't sound good. I guess what I wanted to say was ...... Ughh. It was weird in the best way. I mean it was full of things. A girl with stars in her eyes, a mother who changed her name into a plant used for drugs, and a ghost that plays Angry Birds. Like what?
3.) Reading this book is like reading my own story. As I started reading this, I actually started to think that Shade's problems are my problems. I was too stressed out when I finished this book. And I sighed with relief too. Isn't that how a book should be? It was suppose to make you feel something. Marilyn Peake crafted this book in a way that we, the readers, can understand how her main character feels. 

4.) And the best was, the story is real. This might not be based from one specific true story, but I guess the issue that revolved around this book happens everyday. At first I was intrigued by the dedication on the first page that says, "For all the girls who are lost throughout the world: may you soon be found. And may you soon find inner peace." But then after reading this I understood what she means. And I was sad about the cruel things that are still happening today.

I hope I didn't make it sound like this book is all cruel stuff. Because it was absolutely great. I was just drawn in the specific topic that was involved in this book. I am not sure if it's right to tell you what issue I was talking about because it can either be a spoiler, or a reason for you to think that this book is boring. But I assure you, it is not! It is lovely. Read it. Read it now.

For you to completely understand, I interviewed the author herself, Marilyn Peake. She is a very nice woman to begin with, and she's definitely a great author!

1.) (This is a very common one but ...) What or who inspired you to create this wonderful book?

Thank you so much for referring to SHADE as a wonderful book!  That makes me very happy and I’m deeply honored.  There were a number of inspirations for this book.  Once I knew I wanted to write a YA book, the first ideas that came to me were for a teenaged girl to be the main character and for her to move into an old house with a ghost who would help her in some way.  I’m a total news junkie.  I follow many news sources on Twitter, read news stories online and watch cable TV news.  Once I knew who Shade, the teenaged main character in my YA novel, would be, I outlined the entire book.  I quickly came up with the idea of Shade’s strong personality and her troubled relationship with her drug-and-alcohol-addicted mother.  As the story grew, news stories that troubled me became part of the world in which Shade found herself.  She became a hero, rescuing fellow high school students from some truly horrific situations.

2.) The book tackles this issue (which I'm not sure if it will be okay to tell the readers) that happens everywhere. And I can't stop wondering why you decided to add it in this book. Was it to inform the readers? Or was there a deeper reason?

I’m not sure which issue you’re referring to, but I’m assuming you’re referring to the most troubling situation in the novel, the situation from which Shade rescues her best friend Annie and other girls in her high school.  I added this to the book because it’s a story appearing on such a regular basis on the news, it’s heartbreaking.  It’s a worldwide problem affecting a large number of people, many of them young children and teenagers.  This had been on my mind for a long time and I’m guessing that’s why it became a part of Shade’s journey toward becoming a true hero.

3.) How long did it take you to conceptualize 'Shade'?

That’s a really good question.  Ideas for stories usually percolate in my mind and after I write them, I forget how long it actually took for the story to go from the first spark in my mind to a more cohesive, detailed plan for the story.  I’m guessing it probably took a few weeks for me to go from knowing I wanted to write a YA book about a heroic girl whose full name would be Galactic Shade Griffin, nicknamed Shade by her own self, to having a more cohesive idea of the personal difficulties she’d need to overcome and the troubling situations she would need to solve.

4.) Who is this character in the book that took quite a long time for you to think about?

Shade’s mom.  It took a while for me to figure out who she was, how she could be so incredibly negligent and selfish without being a totally evil person.

5.) There are a lot of things that we can get from your book but, what do you personally want your readers to learn in it?

I want readers to understand and feel for Shade and others who are in trouble, and to realize why we shouldn't judge others without knowing their life circumstances.  Shade had suffered a great deal in her life not only because she had serious family problems, but also because others made fun of her and rejected her.  She turned out to be an incredibly special person, despite all the people who had written her off as a loser.

Last book you've read:  LARKSPUR: A NECROMANCER’S ROMANCE by V. M. Jaskiernia, followed by rereading the first, second, and third books in the WOOL series by Hugh Howey.

A book you can't forget about:  THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver.

Song that you listen to while reading:  I read in silence, although I write to music that doesn’t have words.  I listen to music from a lot of computer games when I write.

Author that inspires you:  Hugh Howey

A thing you just can't live without:  Coffee

A quote that inspires you:  From Maya Angelou: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Favorite food:  Chocolate

Favorite book:  There are so many!  One of my most favorite books is THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver.

Favorite song:  There are so many of these, too!  One of my favorite songs is STAY by Rihanna.

Favorite TV Show:  UTOPIA



Marilyn Peake's Advice on Aspiring Writers:

To just keep on writing, to never give up, if writing is what you really want to do.

Message to Readers:

Thank you for this wonderful experience Marilyn! And of course for trusting me with 'Shade.' We had a long journey together. I sure hope it won't end!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Add to Goodreads | Purchase on Amazon 
Published by: Simon and Schuster on April 15th 2014
Genres:  Young Adult, Contemporary-Romance
Pages:  288
Format: eBook

Book Blurb:

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.

I didn't expect myself to love this book so much and hate it at the same time!

I am not really used with reading a book for a day, so I was kinda surprised that I did it with this one. I just can't put it down! I am really proud that I read this. I never intended on doing so, because the book is pretty mainstream. And it's not that I have problems with popular books, but sometimes I just lose all the excitement when I hear everyone talking about it. I was actually waiting for it to lose its spotlight on the whole social network. Unfortunate for me, it never did. So what pushed me to read this book?

It was being optioned for a movie! And I hate not having to read a book before it comes out as a movie. 

There are times when I almost throw it away because I hate Lara Jean's ideas. And she was quite immature. But of course I don't do that, it's harassment. There are also times that I go crazy, constantly squealing and smiling. Either way, the book is still driving me nuts. It was so amazing yet so intriguing. You don't know whose with who. Or who likes who. Even until the end, which, is such a cliffhanger! That was actually the only reason why I hated it. There are tons of Book Freaks like I am who told me that the ending is soooooo intriguing yet I pushed through with this book. I thought they were just overreacting. But it was actually true! Oh if only I could read the book without that particular ending. I just ...ughhh. I can't even explain how I feel about it. Lucky for me, or us who read it, there will be a second book! Or so I thought.

The characters are actually soooo relatable. Even Peter! Mainly because they are teens like us, and oh did I mention? I am also writing letters with the same purpose. Lara Jean and I are twins! Except, I don't put addresses. I realized it isn't safe, especially after what happened to Lara Jean. I also loved Peter's character. Such a badass but has a sweet side.  A very sweet one. I can actually compare him to the love of my life, Killian "Hook" Jones. From'Once Upon A Time'. Do you know that TV Series? Oh goodness. He's soo mean but has a soft side when it comes to Emma. *I'm squealing while typing this right now*. I"ll stop talking now because some of you might not understand. 

Moving on, I can say that Jenny Han"s writing style was very effective. Especially in this book, maybe because I tried reading "The Summer I Turned Pretty" but didn't enjoy the first few parts so I stopped. And it didn't happen in this book. And Han made me frustrated, intrigued and mad the whole time! I wonder how she pulled this book together. (Didn't make any research so I didn't know how). 

Additional stuff here .....

Jenny Han went to the Philippines last June 20th. You, yes I am talking to those who went to the signing, are very lucky because you saw her. *cries*


Jenny Han (Han like Han Solo, not Han like hand) 
was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) and she went on to graduate school at the New School in New York City, where she received her MFA in Writing for Children. She lives in Brooklyn.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review: My Forever by Kira Adams

Genres:  Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages:  255
Source:  Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Book Blurb:

Grief and loss can make a person act out in all the worst kinds of ways. Madalynne Johnson has always been a bit of a handful, but with the loss of her brother, separation of her parents, and her boyfriends unexpected news of joining the army she has gone into a full on tailspin. 

Parker Grant experienced loss firsthand when his brother took his own life. Darkness closed in. Madalynne saved him; showed him the light. And even though he isn’t sure what the future holds--he wants Madalynne and this time he won’t give up without a fight.

Over-all Comment:

I thought that the whole story was plainly cool. There were scenes that I couldn't get out of my head maybe because it was a great one or a not-so-good one. I have said this tons of times but I will say it again, I think I will regret not having to read this book. Yes, you will see that I might be giving out plenty of side comments but a book always has this 'unique' part in them that you will totally regret not being able to read.

Elaborate? Okay here you go....

The storyline itself was not on the 'oh my gosh it's so amazing' side but it was thrilling to read. The only problem that I noticed the entire time was that  it's more on the cliché side. It started With Madalynne being head over heels in love with Parker, thinking that he doesn't love her back but eventually he does. Then things got out of hand, and stuff. The ending was a major cliché too, but you should definitely find out what it is for yourself. There are those mind twisting moments wherein you never know what he/she will do, but most of the time the story was predictable. And cliché. Sorry, I was just affected by the CLICHÉ moments. But Kira please, don't stop writing. The whole storyline, plot, and stuff was great. Maybe you should be just a little little more creative and everything's cool. Like maybe you can be the next Jenny Han or Stephanie Perkins. Hahaha.

Now when it comes to the characters, it was awesome. Especially Maddy's. I get a bit irritated with her sudden change of moods but at the same time, I actually thought she was cool. And a great decision-maker (let's not forget about that). I can totally relate with her, except of course with the sexy moments. But she was definitely that indecisive teenager at first that becomes matured towards the end. And I'm screaming like 'Been there, done that". 

It was fun getting to have all of the character's POV in one book. Like there are Jacqueline and Lee, who are both minor characters that was involved with Parker and Maddy. They were each given their on POV, though it was in the ending part, I think. At least I knew how they both feel. Because what happened to them, was so expected too. So predictable. But it actually came to my mind once that maybe what I thought will happen, won't happen. Because it is __________. You're right guys, predictable. No, no, no, I wasn't going to say cliché on that one. 

I still recommend you to read this. Just like what I always say towards the end of the review. So far, I am very proud to say that most of the review requests I got were nice. And great. And fascinating. And so on. And it's not so cheesy tooo. (one of my friends is very particular with that one).

Krista Pakseresht has always been a dreamer. From the first time she opened her eyes. Creating worlds through words is one thing she is truly talented at. She specializes in Young adult/New adult romance, horror, action, fantasy, and non-fiction.