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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks By E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks By E. Lockhart
Published 6 Nov 2014 By Hot Key Books

Goodreads

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Frankie Landau-Banks has grown up a lot over the summer. She’s no longer daddy’s little girl – and almost immediately after starting the new semester at her highly prestigious school, she bags goofy-but-gorgeous Matthew Livingston as her boyfriend. They get along great but then Frankie discovers that Matthew is a member of a boys-only secret society that specialise in ‘hilarious’ pranks. Which hardly seems fair… especially when Frankie knows she’s smarter than any of its members. And to prove this, she’s going to teach them a lesson.

Impersonating lead member Alpha by using a fake email account is surprisingly easy, and soon Frankie is setting the boys up with all sorts of ridiculous schemes and sending them on wild goose chase after wild goose chase. Alpha’s not prepared to lose face and admit it’s not him sending the emails – but the fun can’t last forever, and soon Frankie will have to choose between what she think she wants, and the reputation she deserves.

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E. Lockhart is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors to date. This is my second E. Lockhart and I am still as impressed as I was the first time.

There’s something about Lockhart’s writing that is so beautiful and engaging. It was so difficult to put The Disreputable History down; every time I tried, all I could think about was wonder what Frankie was up to next.

The Disreputable History is brilliant: its a good blend of mystery, humour and romance. Admittedly, the cute romance at the beginning and the continued progression of said romance threw me off a little bit. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the romance and following Frankie’s growth from nobody to somebody, I worried that the book would focus less on the secret societies and more on the relationship.

But E. Lockhart does no wrong. As the book continues, it becomes evident how important this relationship is, and how much both the relationship and the secret society has affected Frankie. Frankie became someone who wanted to prove she was better than what’s expected of her; Frankie refused to stick with the status quo.

Frankie’s gung-ho can-do attitude was inspiring. She’s definitely a strong female lead who can think for herself and does not succumb to peer pressure. Certainly, Frankie has her flaws. She began her journey wanting to impress others and maintain her new found prominence, but soon realised that her time at the top was ticking — and its better to prove others wrong.

As a whole, there is nothing within the book that is “less important” than the rest: each incident and account proved to play an important role. The different stories and events intertwined to create a brilliantly mysterious and witty piece. Frankie is a fresh new voice — one that dares to challenge the patriarchy of society, and for that, her efforts deserve to be applauded.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a refreshing piece and one that I would re-read and remember for a long time to come.

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Girl Online By Zoe Sugg

Girl Online By Zoe Sugg
Girl Online #1
Published 24 Nov 2014 By Penguin

Goodreads

SummaryI had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has – I can’t believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! – and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes…

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.

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Where do I begin with Girl Online?

I love Zoe (or Zoella, as she’s known on Youtube) and I love Young Adult. But there’s something about Girl Online that irked me. It wasn’t that the book was ghostwritten and it wasn’t that she’s a youtuber-turned-author. As skeptical as I was, I wanted to like it, I wanted to read it and form my own opinion. But finishing Girl Online was a struggle.

Even days after finishing it, I can’t put a finger as to why I didn’t enjoy it as much. Girl Online was an okay read; it has its funny moments and in parts, it resonated with me but it came off as too juvenile for my taste. Penny behaves like someone who is much younger than 15 and its funny when Noah’s little sister comes off as more “adult” than she is. Girl Online is probably (and definitely) catered to the younger audiences (my library catalogues this as one for 10-year-olds and above). That, is my problem, not the book. So for that, I can’t fault it.

Girl Online reflects much of Zoe’s real life and though it is fictional, you do get to see bit and pieces of her life through Penny. One of the few things that both Zoe and Penny have in common are their blogs, them living in Brighton and of course fairy lights. Penny also suffers from panic attacks, something that Zoe herself has struggled with for many years.

The book is filled with sentences that aren’t necessary and doesn’t push the story arc forward. Its filled with silly little thoughts and descriptions that made the book seen more juvenile and childish. And don’t get me started on the insta-love. Penny falls in love with Noah in a span of 48 hours or less. Its ridiculous how crazy-in-love they are when they barely knew each other. Penny recognises this and so does her best friend Elliot, but Penny chooses to ignore this fact. She chooses to ignore the fact that she doesn’t even know his last name or background other than he’s presumably a rockstar and his grandmother is a fantastic caterer. Instead she’s off making plans to make this relationship work long distance.

Girl Online is somewhat predictable. I could guess Noah’s secret from the way he was being so shady about things, though I have to admit that the last couple of chapters were more interesting than the rest. That was the real highlight of the book — the drama — and its a shame that it ended too quick and began too late.

Again, I am not the target audience of this book. Its incredibly fluffy and better suited for those much younger than me. This book isn’t incredible; it is flawed and could have been better. It isn’t a “how-to-deal-with-your-anxiety” book either. It shifted to “girl-falling-in-love” with anxiety on the sidelines.

I tried, and as much as I love her, its not something I would necessarily recommend. Maybe for the younger folks, perhaps. Okay to read, but probably not a must on your bookshelves.

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Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend By Katie Finn

Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend By Katie Finn
Broken Hearts & Revenge #1
Published15 May 2014 By Macmillan

Goodreads

SummaryHot sun. Blue waves. New romances. Old secrets.

Gemma had her summer all planned out, but it takes a sharp turn when she gets dumped and finds herself back in the Hamptons after a five-year absence.

Being there puts her at risk of bumping into Hallie, her former best friends (that is, before Gemma ruined her life). But people don’t hold grudges forever. Do they?

Gemma intends on making amends, but a small case of mistaken identity causes the people she knew years ago—including Hallie and her dreamy brother, Josh—to believe she’s someone else. As though the summer wasn’t complicated enough already.

Filled with summer sun, boys, and friendships gone sour, Katie Finn’s first novel in the Broken Hearts and Revenge series sizzles and delights.

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Broken Hearts left me wanting more but was predictably frustrating.

Broken Hearts started off great: it had a good premise, a sympathetic and relatable main character and it has its adorable and funny moments. And while Broken Hearts is enjoyable, it was also predictable. By the second incident between Gemma and Hallie, it was kind of obvious what was going on but Gemma is frustratingly dense and oblivious to Hallie’s schemes. I find it hard to believe that Gemma genuinely thought she could get away with merely a haircut before trying to befriend Hallie again. I’m not sure if it was the author’s intention, but the way that some of Hallie’s reactions were written helped with the predictability and you could tell that she’s up to something.

But Katie Finn knows how to end a story.

Despite knowing what was going to happen, I still thought that the ending was powerful. Hallie’s schemes were brought to the surface, Gemma’s pretence comes to a halt and it gears you up for the next instalment that will certainly be filled with drama and revenge plots.

Gemma does make a good main character. I feel that she’s sympathetic enough for people to like her because she just wants to be a better person, despite going about it the wrong way. I do feel some emotional attachment to Gemma and undoubtedly want to see her succeed in befriending Hallie again.

I’m also curious to see how and if Josh and Gemma’s relationship will take course post-revelation because I loved their interactions with each other. Too adorable.

Though predictable, Broken Hearts would make for a great beach read. They say that sequels make or break a series and I’m hoping for Katie Finn’s sake that the next book will be much better than this.

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The Secret Diamond Sisters By Michelle Madow

The Secret Diamond Sisters By Michelle Madow
Published 25 Feb 2014 By Harlequin Teen

Goodreads

Summary: Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

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So. Much. Fun.

And how gorgeous is this cover?!

I know — this book has gotten a lot of flack online for many reasons, and while I do think some of them are valid, I have to say that personally, I had a lot of fun reading it. The Secret Diamond Sisters reminds me a lot of Gossip Girl and if you’re not a fan of the “typical shallow rich girl” stereotype, this book is probably not for you. The Secret Diamond Sisters is shallow, juvenile and certainly one of the lighter reads, but its exactly these types of books that I find so difficult to put down because they’re just so darn addictive.

The Secret Diamond Sisters are a predictable bunch. There’s the rebellious older sister Peyton, the responsible middle sister Courtney and the naive youngest sister Savannah. They’ve always lived under the care of their alcoholic mother and grandmother, until one day their mom spirals out of control and needs to check herself into rehab. In comes Adrian Diamond, Vegas’ wealthiest hotel owner revealing himself as their long lost father.

Was this book perfect? No. It was predictable and in some parts, a little bit uncomfortable — especially the conscious and highly questionable decisions that Savannah makes (including allowing guys feel her up!). Savannah is incredibly naive, and for that reason it keeps me on my toes, worrying over her every step. If there was an unbearable sister, it would be Peyton. Try as she might to be rebellious, she eventually gives in (even if a little bit) and for the most part, she’s just being annoying because she could, not because there’s a reason for her to. My favourite character to follow is certainly Courtney. She has a good head on her shoulders and she’s reasonable. I really like how she tries to adapt to her new surroundings while trying her best to stick to her moral guns.

It seems that a lot of people have also pointed out how overly lax the drinking-carding system is and how everyone got drunk all the time, but it doesn’t exactly bother me. I think to some extent there is a sense of realism, when it comes to underage drinking and clubbing at a young age and perhaps its a little bit overdone, but considering that these kids are filthy rich, I’m assuming they can get away with it.

I did enjoy The Secret Diamond Sisters. It is the first book in the series and it gave a nice overview of how the sisters are, how the kids in Vegas are and allowed me to travel to Vegas while stuck in my bedroom. The Secret Diamond Sisters is more character-driven; there’s not too much of a story arc, other then them trying to figure out their way around their new lives and the people that they meet along the way along with romances. Lots and lots of romance.

I’m looking forward to read the second book in the series and hopefully we get a little bit more of a story arc and that its a little bit more plot-driven. I definitely want to know more about Courtney’s childhood and how Adrian’s business plays a part in all of this. I’m hoping the author will delve more into the dangerous aspects of his business.

The Secret Diamond Sisters is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re into exploring Vegas in Gossip Girl style, this book will be right up your alley.

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The Break-Up Artist By Philip Siegel

The Break-Up Artist By Philip Siegel
Published 29 Apr 2014 by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads

SummarySome sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.

Some work at the mall.

Becca Williamson breaks up couples.

Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca’s older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple’s relationship into smithereens. And with relationship zombies overrunning her school and treating single girls as if they’re second-class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even Becca’s best friend, Val, has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and raw football team’s star player, Steve. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars…not to mention sneaking back into Huxley’s good graces. All while fending off the inappropriate feelings she may or may not be having for Val’s new boyfriend.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.

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I had a lot of high hopes for The Break Up Artist. The premise was interesting and fresh. I mean, a girl breaks up couples for money. Interesting right? But there were a lot of problems within The Break Up Artist that I found hard to ignore.

The portrayal of girls were shallow.

It bothered me that all anybody spoke about was about boyfriends and how important it was to have one. The girls in this high school seemed hell bent on being in a relationship. It’s so strange that they’re able to publicly engage in PDA in the school halls and in class. I’ve never experienced this myself, so perhaps it’s just me but I. Sure there has to be some kind of boundaries. It was even weirder to see how a teacher was all “no problem, just sit down” about it when Huxley came into class carried by her boyfriend.

I know the synopsis has to deal wih breaking up couples, but that can’t be all that they talk about. It can’t be the only thing that’s happening. In dance class they’re gossiping about who’s dating who, even when discussing Romeo & Juliet it became a heated discussion about how Becca is single and therefore will never in a million years understand what true love is.

It made me angry. It made me angry that these girls were so desperate for a man in their arms to validate their life. That when Becca talks about one night stands, Ezra is shocked because she isn’t “talking like a girl”. It bothered me, and because of that I enjoyed it less and less.

The main character is vindictive and incredibly shady.

Becca started out as someone who doesn’t believe in love. She’s strong and believes she doesn’t need a boyfriend to validate her life. I thought she was going to be one of those strong female leads, but alas I was wrong. Of course, given the premise this was bound to happen, but it annoyed me that Becca, who rejected the idea of Romeo & Juliet being in love would fall so easily to exactly the same words and phrases she hated. Becca became a homewrecker, and on top of that she suddenly fell for a guy spewing off words from a movie. Say it isn’t so!

Becca’s “job” as a Break Up Artist was incredibly interesting, up till she became vindictive and hateful. Becca accepted the offer to break up Huxley and Steve not only for the money, but it became clear that she wanted to topple Huxley. She pretended to befriend Huxley, broke down her walls, only to use their pseudo-friendship to break up her relationship.

On top of that, Becca betrayed her best friend in pursuit of love, or something like love. Becca, who uses doubt and infidelity as her ammo to break couples up, ends up doing the same thing but believes that it’s probably true love. I don’t know, it seems so weird to me that Becca would change so easily with Ezra.

But, premise is still interesting.

For what it’s worth, The Break Up Artist is still pretty interesting. It’s a fast contemporary read but probably more targeted for a younger audience than myself.

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2015 Reading Bingo

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Happy New Year, Pretty Bookmarkers!

(I tried to give you all a name.)

OKAY, so my 2014 reading resolutions were mostly a bust. I did whatever I wanted and for the most part, I was too busy trying to finish up my last year of University to really try and keep up. I abandoned my blog for a little bit and updated whenever I could.

BUT. Things have changed now and I do have more time than I used to, so I figured I’m going to make the effort of blogging at least once or twice a week. I’ll make certain I’m going to maintain this blog a little better. For new followers, hello! And for the old followers, howdy to ya too! Thanks for sticking around despite the scarce updates. Whoops.

I’ve already read a whooping 6 books this new year and I stumbled upon Jean‘s video not too long ago about her book resolutions which she adapted into this bingo sheet. I thought it was pretty neat so I decided to adapt the bingo sheet idea and tweak it a little so that it would fit me and my reading goals. (I’ve seen these bingo sheets last year as well, and I don’t really know where the idea originated from so if anyone knows, please let me know!)

I’ll try and update you my progress at the end of every month and share with you the books I’ve read. To encourage me to read more I’ve decided to implement a rule that allows me to cross off one box per book.

Are you guys participating in any book challenges or set any reading goals for yourself this year?

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Through The Woods By Emily Carroll

Through The Woods By Emily Carroll
Published 15 July 2014 By Margaret K. McElderry Books

Goodreads

Summary‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

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Holy effin crap. Through The Woods has got to be one of the creepiest graphic novels I have ever read.

I don’t read much horror because I’m a scaredy cat but I’ve seen Through The Woods everywhere that I just needed to get my hands on it. And boy, was it thrilling!

Through The Woods is creepy. The level of creepiness probably differs but hey, as a scaredy cat, this is definity high on the creepy scale. The stories itself aren’t that different or special from your typical “monsters in the dark” type of stories but combined with a brilliant and dark graphic and colour elements, it makes for a brilliant story. The graphics in this book is fantastic. Throughout the book it keeps mostly to the reds, blacks and whites, maintaining a darker colour scheme that leaves you feeling terrified.

There are five different stories, an introduction and a conclusion piece but the colouring and pictures really tied the different stories together making a seamless transition from story to story. The creepier stories were definitely saved for last. I have to say The Nesting Place is my favourite of the five. It was super creepy and there was one part where I flipped the page and the image shocked me I almost screamed.

Intense, creepy but also quick paced, Through The Woods is a great horror graphic novel. Definitely one to read.

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