Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn(Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Published by HarperTeen on June 10th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars
Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except...
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Having read Kate Karyus Quinn’s debut, Another Little Piece, last year and remembering how that utterly scared the crap out of me made me incredibly excited for her next novel which sounded just as good. However, I was in for disappointment because although haunting and creepy in its own way, it lacked the punch to fully immerse me in the story.

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Behind the Screen – Ashley from Nose Graze

behindthescreen

Behind the Screen is a sporadic feature where bloggers and/or designers are interviewed to find out more about their design process or how they worked with their designers to get their desired design. 

Back in March, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashley from Nose Graze and although late, here is the interview!

(Note: As the interview was conducted earlier this year, the current design mentioned that Ashley used is different to the one she now has.)

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Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Review: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovernSay What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Published by HarperTeen on June 3rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-half-stars
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern's insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The moment I read the synopsis, I knew I wanted to read this. Say What You Will brings together two teens who battle their disabilities and find friendship within each other and even love. It’s a beautifully written story and such a powerful novel that I think everyone needs to read.

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With Great Love, Comes Great Expectations

DiscussionTime3

Discussion Time! is a feature on my blog where I discuss various topics that can wary from the book world, blogosphere or something completely random! Today’s topic is With Great Love, Comes Great Expectations. 

Hi everyone! *waves* Just a little update from me since I’m sort of back? The school semester is over and I’m just waiting for the results of my internship/project posting to see what I’m doing for my final semester. In the meantime before that begins in mid-September, I’ve been busy with university applications and working on a project (which I’m not allowed to talk about right now) but I will say on a completely different topic that I have a redesign in the works since June which will slowly but surely get done. So I’m back but also not really because the rest of the year is still pretty hectic for me but I’m hopefully going to be posting at least once a week? *fingers crossed*

In the meantime, if you missed it, I made a wallpaper of The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder for a guest post at The Paper Sea.


Most of us bloggers are familiar with the expectations of being a blogger and I once blogged about blogging the way I want to and reminded fellow other bloggers that we shouldn’t conform to what is the ‘standard’ and that we can blog however the way we want.

It wasn’t until the school semester started when I started blogging on and off when I realised that this doesn’t only extend to blogging but reading too. My reading decreased exponentially during July because I had a multitude of assignments to work on that bogged me down every night. I started staying up late to work on them, something which I had never done before. I had always been meticulous and ahead of my deadlines so I always got to give myself time to read before I went to sleep but it was impossible to do so this semester.

I felt incredibly guilty not being able to read and it’s within those moments when I realised I wasn’t alone and I constantly saw guilt everywhere. I see on Twitter at times bloggers who tweet about not having read in a day or two and how it could make people see them as a ‘bad reader’ when they had the time to read but chose not to. Or how guilty they feel for DNFing. We have this connotation in our minds that loving something means having to love it constantly and accede to these expectations of being a lover of that thing. As if loving this hobby or interest comes with a set of rules and regulations you have to abide by.

That constant love? It doesn’t always exist. Loving something doesn’t mean you have to love is constantly. Loving books doesn’t mean I need to read one every day. Loving books doesn’t mean I have to love every single book. Loving books doesn’t mean I need to read every single book out there. Everyone can take a break and love something on their own terms because how we interpret this love is different as well.

It extends to any type of hobby or interest or even relationships! I mean I love cheese, gummy bears, designing, Marvel and Chris Evans. But loving them doesn’t mean I have to constantly eat cheese and gummy bears because I’m allowed to be sick of them for a period of time and then come back to them. Loving to design doesn’t mean I’m going to be a 24/7 machine, churning out designs by the minute or I won’t be groaning sometimes because it’s so hard or not working out. Just because I love Marvel doesn’t mean I’m going to be hyped up to watch any of the movies at any given time. Finally, just because I’m a huge fan of Chris Evans doesn’t mean I’m going to love every single one of his looks or movies but does that make me any less of a fan? Nope. (Although in this case, I kinda do like every single one of his looks.)

So the next time you feel guilty about not doing something specific because you love that particular hobby/thing/person etc. Love on your own terms. That guilt you’re feeling? It’s all coming from you and who cares if people will judge you or think you’re not a ‘true lover’, you know you are and that’s all that really matters.

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Top 10 Animated TV Shows I’ll Always Love

TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish where every week you display your top 10 books as according to that week’s topic!

I haven’t done a TTT since Feb (oops! I blame school D:) but this week’s was something I definitely had lots to talk about. I had originally wanted to do a Top 10 TV Shows That Defined Me – Now & Then but I realised most of the Then shows were cartoons so I figured why not just talk about my Top 10 Animated TV Shows I’ll Always Love? :D

1. Digimon Season 1 & 2

takari clap

I cannot tell you how much I loved this show as a kid and these were definitely the best two seasons. TK and Kari were probably the first fandom couple I shipped even as a kid (they’re the ones clapping in the gif, GAH TAKARI <3), I will go down with this ship. I WILL. Their whole dynamic and the Angel Digimon, I just have a lot of feels about them, it is definitely not just coincidence to me. Not forgetting, Tai who I adored too (anyone who wants to be bitter with me about Matt & Sora, please join the circle). Plus Tai and Kari with their brother-sister relationship? KILLED ME. My favourite arc was hands down the 8th Digidestined with Kari, Gatomon and Wizardmon (we don’t talk about Wizardmon because that’s just going to make everyone cry).

There were just so much going on with the friendships and family and story arcs, it was amazing. That first arc in Season 1 where they’re all in the Digiworld and going through their own journey to get their crests? So much going on. Also never forgetting Izzy’s iconic line, “PRODIGIOUS!” Then they grew up for Season 2 and EVEN MORE with some new characters (*sideeyes Davis*) and new Digimon transformations and it was just so good.

2. Teen Titans

teen titans awe

This was an A+ cartoon, I will never be over the fact that Starfire didn’t get her own season arc (I mean even Terra did, talking about Terra is also heartbreaking though). It was so humourous although with serious moments, lovable characters and it marked the beginning of my love for superheroes. My shipping was all over the place here but Robin/Starfire forever owns my heart. The arcs were really good, I definitely loved The Apprentice arcs where Slade recruited Robin and then Terra. Slade was always that villain you just wanted to be rid of already but he was so mysterious that you also just wanted to know a bit more about him. I know there’s the spin-off but it’s more comedy-centric so it’s a lot different from the original but the movie is definitely worth watching ;)

3. Avatar: The Last Airbender

toph rules

This show was amazing. I didn’t watch it at the time it was airing but it improves vastly in terms of development and character as it progressed on. It’s visually stunning and has a fabulous world with a set of characters you just can’t seem to hate (once you reach the end). Seriously don’t dismiss this because it’s a ‘children’s show’, it can be really complex. I have so much love for each and every character (even some of the villains too because they are so dimensional) and just talking about it makes me want to rewatch it all over again and try to withstand Zuko’s “I WILL CAPTURE THE AVATAR” (jk, I love Zuko. Season 3 Zuko is the best). There is just so much in this show on so many levels that I think if I had to name a favourite cartoon show from this list, this would be it.

I am watching Legend of Korra right now and I don’t love it as much as A:TLA but seeing mentions of the old gang and getting cameos is just the best!

4. Gundam Seed & Gundam Seed Destiny

asucaga hug

Hands down one of my favourite animes ever, I mean the dynamic between Kira and Athrun who were childhood friends but are enemies on the battle field? Then the romance? (CAGALLI AND ATHRUNNNN, see the gif above, going down with this ship, Gundam Seed Destiny was good too but I don’t like the open ending for the both of them). It can get really gritty but no doubt a great anime, I have a huge soft spot for the sequel, Gundam Seed Destiny though. The characters just appealed more to me because some of the characters appeared again, I couldn’t care much for some of the newer characters such as Shinn, too much angst and anger for my taste.

5. As Told by Ginger

ginger doing work

Someone once told me the grass is much greener, on the other side~ Let’s be honest, you just sang that in your head ;D I just love how Ginger was pretty much a normal and relatable girl who didn’t really want to be popular, she was comfortable at home and with her friends. She went through tough times. She had crushes, falls in love and the such. I loved the relationship Ginger had with her mum and even with her friends, through the ups and downs. The high school arc though was messed up though, the whole Darren and Ginger drama? It hurts to think about.

6. Young Justice

artemis kickass

I’m pretty upset this got cancelled because it had so much potential and my bb girl, Artemis who is the best ever (see gif). I don’t think it was ever given the due justice it deserved (haha pun). I definitely preferred the first Season, it just felt better when it was a smaller dynamic between the group. Season 2 felt messy with the overcomplicating of the plot and such, plus it made me cry and feel completely cheated and I refuse to accept the ending. But it’s a great show, I think DC is definitely on point with their TV shows.

7. Kim Possible

kim possible

Ah Kim Possible, she’s popular, got the cool gadgets, kicks the bad guys’ asses and still manages to have the life of a normal teenage girl. It’s hard to forget the friendship that Kim and Ron had and then bam, the ensuing romance. I loved it so much!

8. American Dragon: Jake Long

adjl

I have a huge soft spot for this show, I always had a soft spot for shows where they featured Asian elements or characters. I remember raging over the age of the characters who were only 14 and already in love haha but I really loved the story. I admit I wasn’t happy with the change in animation style for Season 2 and some story arcs which I won’t touch on but this will always be a show I’m going to love for years to come.

9. K-ON!

yui

Oh boy this anime is adorable. It’s a little ridiculous because some characters are slightly overly-exaggerated but it’s cute and features so much good food. The friendship is evident here and there’s even the accompanying music because they are technically a band. It’s just a light-hearted anime that I know I can turn to if I ever just want to go back to watching and see familiar faces again.

10. Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu

tessa

I was trying to think of a final animated show I love and would rewatch instantly and Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu came to mind. I watch some anime dubbed in English and others with subtitles and for Full Metal Panic! it was the latter. Full Metal Panic! Fumoffu is a companion series to the main series and it’s a lot more comedic whereas the main one is a lot more grittier and mature in theme. The humour can get a little stupid but I’ve got a soft spot for the main two characters here.

Honourable Mentions: Xiaolin Showdown & Courage the Cowardly Dog.

What are some of the animated shows you’ll always love?

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You Don’t Speak For Me – The Ban on Books

Recently, the local news has been abuzz about the National Library Board removing three books – And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption by Jean Davis Robinson and Elaine M. Aoki and Who’s In My Family?: All About Our Families by Robie H. Harris from the shelves following complaints and concerns that these books were not ‘pro-family’. It was actually sparked by a Facebook group called “We Are Against Pinkdot in Singapore” (Pink Dot is a pro-LGBT annual event held in Singapore) when one of their members wrote to NLB requesting these books to be removed and the NLB obliged, saying that it is in their interest to align with ‘pro-family’ values that they remove them.

Despite petitions sparked by others to keep the book in local libraries, the NLB responded that they would not reshelve these books and they would be pulped. I’ve been very unhappy about this since the moment I heard about it. I don’t believe in removing materials just because one group is unhappy with their presence.

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How’s 2014 for Me So Far?

Originally I was going to do a recap of June (though let’s be real, nothing much happened) but then I saw Alexa did a Mid Year Update and I loved the idea of reflecting on what had happened in the first half of the year and wanted to give you guys an update on what’s been going on for me.

PERSONAL:

  • I’m in my final year of polytechnic! Eek, the idea of graduating in less than a year does freak me out because I don’t feel ready for university. It’s tough being in a different class from my other friends since I’m in a different track from them and it’s always difficult getting used to a new class but I’ve gotten used to it and school isn’t that bad (apart from the overwhelming flood of assignments that is).
  • I got to attend my first book/writer conference! I definitely hope this isn’t the last time either but it was a very cool experience!
  • I took the SATs and got my results. I admit I was a little disappointed, I had hoped to do better. University apps has gotten me quite stressed and panicky. There is no certainty where I am going at all, of course I have a goal and dream in mind but there are many other factors to consider as well. It’s worrisome but I’m holding onto the relief that I will get this settled eventually and this time next year, it will all be history.
  • I started doing Blogilates in February (and consistently did it until May and June because school oops :x) and I think it really has been life-changing. I’ve definitely felt a change in my flexibility and stamina and it did help me lose a bit of weight too.
  • I’m happy and content. I was feeling this way last year but only in terms of blogging. But now I feel happy in both online and in real life, I’m content and although there are ups and downs, they don’t feel so earth-shattering anymore, it is a lot easier to pick myself up and look forward to the next day (and the thing is actually looking forward to the next day and not dreading it). I’m grateful to the friends I have who make me feel so happy <3 Thank you so much, words cannot express how grateful to have all of you in my life.

BLOGGING:

  • I celebrated my first blogoversary! It seems like ages ago but just means another 6 months until 2 years eh? ;)
  • I got a new design (the one you see right now)! I’m pretty darn proud of this because I feel like this is the one design that feels professional enough to me.
  • I… haven’t been the most updated blogger around. I do feel bad at times but this way of blogging is definitely less stressful. I apologise to readers out there who expected specific posts from me or regular updates but with schoolwork and such, it just becomes even more apparent how much work actually goes into blogging and it feels impossible to keep up with blogging and commenting on a regular basis. But thank you to those who have still stuck by with me <3
  • I have plans for the future. Decisions were made in a spur of the moment but the more I thought about them, the more logical they seemed to me. Changes will be coming though please don’t expect them to be soon! These are changes that will come in the long run and I’m excited and nervous about them. I just wish I had more time to work on them, August shall be that time!

FANDOM:

  • I admit I have never been one to be terribly clingy to a fandom for ages. I’ve always been able to be detached or it faded away after a short period of time but once Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, my love for the actors (Chris Evans & Sebastian Stan in particular) has known no boundaries (although I have always been inclined towards Chris, it was just never THIS BIG). I’m not going to bore you guys with the details but I’m pretty astounded how I’ve lasted this long and what an effect being so immersed in fandom has had on me. As much as blogging was an anchor to me last year when I was going through some stuff, fandom has been an anchor for me right now.
  • On the TV show front it hasn’t been the best. I quit some shows (eg. Once Upon a Time) and some shows ended (eg. HIMYM) and I started one (which is a pathetic number) – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which is awesome btw please go watch it). Time has been painfully restrictive but I am hoping to get some time soon maybe when the semester ends to go on a TV show marathon.

ALL THINGS NICE:

  • I have had the absolute honour and pleasure of making and having such awesome friends. I am ever so grateful to everyone who interacts and talks to me be it on Twitter or commenting and so on. I am the worst at interacting and being social so please excuse me, I am crap at Twitter! But every time you interact with me, it really just makes my day <3
  • I do have to give a special shout-out to my C-ubed ladies – Cee & Chiara because honestly, best thing to happen to me this entire year. (This has been your ego boost of the day Cee ;D) Don’t know where I would be without these two. Thank you for tolerating my nonsense every single day, my shit memory and for indulging me with stuff <3 I would say more but I think this has been enough sap for one post heh.

BOOKS:

  • My original intention of reading 200 books was not possible as I kept slipping behind the challenge. I soon switched to 150 and then to 100. I’m ahead of the challenge right now which pleases me though saddened I’m probably not going to read more books than I did last year. I think I just have to accept I’m a lot busier now.
  • I have definitely been buying less books (practically none) this year. The library is a life-saver. It has sort of curbed the book buying urge because I can get any book from the library. I will always want to buy books but now I’m just going to be a whole lot more selective and not buy a ton of books like I did last year :x

So that’s 2014 for me so far! I know the second half of 2014 is going to be even more crazier but let’s do this!

How have you been? What has been the most memorable moment of the year so far?

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Review: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

Review: Guy in Real Life by Steve BrezenoffGuy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 27th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
four-stars
From the acclaimed author of Brooklyn, Burning comes Guy in Real Life, an achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don't.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren't in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I knew I wanted to read Guy in Real Life the moment I saw the cover, it screamed NERD and VIDEO GAMES and was calling out to me. Although it didn’t turn out to be super amazing, I still loved it and found it to be cute and adorable.

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Words to Remember #3 – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

wordstoremember

Words to Remember is a wallpaper feature, completely overhauled from my previous feature – Quotables featuring quotes from books made into wallpapers for your personal use! 

Back in April, after watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I went into a very interesting phase (which has not ended yet and I don’t foresee an end to it lol) which was definitely evidenced by the presence of a certain Mr. Evans + flower crown on my Twitter profile. I actually had an idea to make a CA2-centric wallpaper but hadn’t been fully satisfied with it and sat on it for about 2 months until today I decided to refine it and finally post it!

I know technically it isn’t from a book but shhh, it’s a wallpaper feature so let’s just roll with that ;D It might be a little spoilerish? Maybe? Not sure. I won’t divulge in plot details and who said what. Anyways, the concept just came to me while I was listening to End of the Line (prepare tissues to those who watched the movie before you listen to it again) and I’m rather glad with how it came out. I adore this movie so much and the dynamics and relationships so I really wanted to capture the essence of it in the wallpaper with the differing sides and do it justice.

ca2wallpaperpreview

1280 x 800 | iPhone | iPhone 5

So just as always, if you have a suggestion for a wallpaper feel free to leave me a quote from a book!

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Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Review: We Were Liars by E. LockhartWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book DepositoryGoodreads
three-half-stars
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Highly raved about by several bloggers, I did expect big things from We Were Liars and it was an enjoyable and quick read with good writing but it never fully pulled me in and blew me away like I had expected.

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