Stacking the Shelves #30

I’ve been really busy for months that I often forget to post my book hauls here. The last one I did was back in February so this is going to be a massive one.

LOCAL BOOKS HAULED:

Dare To Love by C.P. Santi
Keep The Faith by Ana Tejano
Playing Autumn by Mina V. Esguerra
Sounds Like Summer by Six Delos Reyes
If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan
Summer Crush by Six Delos Reyes, Tara Frejas, and Jay E. Tria

ARCS HAULED:

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Like Water by Rebecca Podos
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
The One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus
Antisocial by Jillian Blake
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Welcome Home by Eric Smith
What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

FROM GIVEAWAYS:

Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer
The Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy
A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl

BOOKS BOUGHT:

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Split Second by Kasie West

I have also received some signed bookmarks from Kara Thomas and Jay Kristoff (Thanks Kate! <3)

Now that I’m finally finishing college (just waiting for graduation this month!!) I can finally have more time to read so I do hope I could squeeze these in before I go on a job hunt haha!

As usual, big thanks to HarperCollins International, Abrams Books, Penguin Random House International, Simon Pulse, Bloomsbury, #romanceclass authors, Katie and Marianna, JM of Book Freak Revelations, Kate of The Bookaholic Blurbs and Jay Kristoff, Kara Thomas, Nicole Castroman, and Rebecca Podos!

Which books did you get this week? Have you read any of these books? Let me know!

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

girl against the universe

Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Publication Date: May 17th 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange of a review. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

This book is good luck. It got me out of my reading slump. It picked me up when I was really feeling down and I’m really grateful for this book and for the author, who’s a dear friend.

Last weekend, I got bad dose of depression. It was hard for me to be productive during those days. All I kept on thinking was, “I need to get up and do my thesis manuscript” but I got stuck in bed, feeling hopeless about everything. Then, I decided to take a break and read. I picked up several books but none of them appealed to me that time… and then, I finally opened Girl Against the Universe, just because I thought the universe was against me.

“Sometimes the Universe just takes what it wants.”

The first chapter got me really hooked and I loved it from the start. Paula’s writing style is fluent and gripping at the same time, one of the main reasons why I got hooked into the book. I previously enjoyed Stokes’s Liars, Inc. that’s why I was really looking forward to reading this book. Glad to say it didn’t disappoint.

Maguire, the main character, thinks she’s bad luck. A lot of bad things happened around her ever since her dad, brother, and uncle got killed from a car accident. Every bad thing that happened, she always get out unscathed, which led her to believe that she brings bad luck to people. She shut herself out from the world, while also trying to help herself by seeing a therapist, until she met Jordy.

“Relationships are messy,” Jade says. “But when two people like each other, they work it out.”

Jordy is an aspiring tennis star, who’s also got his own problems. He’s always been pressured by his family to focus on tennis and his academics. So when he met Maguire, he’s determined to take a breather, help Maguire in tennis and prove to her that she’s not bad luck as she thought she was.

The book is actually better than what I expected. Sports might be a typical part of a YA novel set in high school, but there are only a few that nails it perfectly and this book is one of them. It might actually be the first book I’ve read which features tennis and it’s pretty refreshing to read.

“How can something feel so crucial in the moment and then seem completely trivial after the fact?”

The characters are easy to get into. Maguire’s thoughts are very interesting to read and it was easy to follow her. She’s definitely relatable, also considering my mind’s state at the time I was reading the book. It actually helped me figure out my own thoughts as well. Maguire is very smart, vulnerable yet strong. Her inner conflicts are easy to understand considering her background. Her determination and courage are just some of her most admirable traits. I also love reading about Jordy. He’s very very very sweet and easy to love. I think he possesses traits which can lead to people labelling him as the cliche male lead, but really, I think we all need a cliche in our lives sometimes. Actually, the only cliche thing I could see from him is that he’s the sporty rich guy that hooks up with girls (which turns out to be a stinky rumor by the way), running in for the pro leagues. Jordy turns out to be this multi-faceted character that I learned to love and I really appreciated his character. Another thing I appreciate is the chemistry between Maguire and Jordy. I do believe I squealed “JOOOOOOOOORDDDDYYY” many times throughout the book, everytime Jordy was being super adorable.

The other characters in the story are perfect fits and they create a balance in the story. I do believe that no character has been left behind in the story. Penn, Jordy’s younger sister, is also a tennis player and I do love her character so much. She’s that cool younger sister who can be sarcastic and adorable at the same time. Same goes for Jade, Maguire’s best friend and fellow tennis player.

“The world is full of holes and uneven seams, wrinkled places that you can’t make smooth, no matter how hard you try.”

The tackling of issues such as death and mental health is really impressive. I think that this book stands far out from Paula Stokes’s other novels. She was able to write a book that perfectly depicts a teenager who’s trying to help herself overcome something big and traumatic. I also loved how healthy and positive the friendships and family relationships were depicted in the story. Maguire’s stepdad, Tom, really surprised me. This is actually the first time I’ve read a book wherein the main character and the step-parent has a good relationship. It might have started a bit shallow, but I loved seeing it grow. They actually got me teary-eyed. Maguire also has an excellent relationship with her mom and her step-siblings.

Overall, this book is really enjoyable to read. It contains complex characters, healthy family relationships, strong friendships and most importantly, it presents hope. Hope that will make us think that everything is going to be okay even if it seems like the universe is against us. I definitely recommend this book!

inah

 

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors for 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

I did the same post almost a year ago. I remember having so much trouble picking my top ten. Hahaha! You can check them out here. For now, I’ll share my top ten for this year!

  1. Becky Albertalli – I loved her debut Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda! Becky is one of my favorite author friends and I love her more than I love coconut oreos!

2. Victoria Schwab – I was seriously blown away by A Darker Shade of Magic! It was the first book I read from her and now I’m looking forward to reading more from her!

3. Paula Stokes – Liars, Inc. was the first book I read from her and one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’ve been constantly looking for The Art of Lainey ever since!

4. Nicola Yoon – Her debut Everything, Everything was one of the best books I’ve read! Her writing style was so spot on I couldn’t even believe that was a debut! Haha!

5. Robin Benway – Emmy and Oliver is one of my ever favorites. I love the way Robin writes and her characters are so realistic.

6. Theresa Kay – Theresa is such an underrated author I SERIOUSLY NEED MORE PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT HER AND HER BOOKS! I loved Broken Skies and I’m enjoying Fractured Suns.

7-8. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – ILLUMINAE WAS SO  MINDBLOWING HOW??!!??!?!?!?!!?!?!1

9. Jennifer Niven – Jennifer is one of the sweetest authors I know and I love her even though she made me cry because of All the Bright Places.

10. Kasie West – HELLO CUTE SWOONWORTHY FLUFFY STORY. I’ve only read The Distance Between Us and I’m definitely going to read her other books! My friends have been pushing me to read her and when I finally did, I did not regret a single second of it.

So there! Here’s my top ten, who’s yours?

inahsign

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes (ARC)

liars inc

Title: Liars, Inc.
Author: Paula Stokes
Publication Date: March 24th 2015 by HarperTeen
Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon // B&N // Book Depository // Goodreads

Synopsis

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Inah’s Thoughts

During the last few weeks, I’ve been so attached to legal/crime dramas that were recently on air, such as How To Get Away With Murder, Suits and The Fall. Even with my favorite TV Show, Supernatural, with the main characters impersonating federal agents sometimes to help their case. I was very much fascinated with these kinds of shows, now that I’m older, which means my preferences grew more mature. I am very much glad to say that if you’re a fan of those TV shows, you’re most definitely going to love this book.

I haven’t read a lot of crime/suspense/thriller novel, much alone a YA one so this certainly blew my mind! This is actually the first one I’ve read from Paula Stokes and she really delivered. I loved the way she writes, from the dynamic characters to the compelling plot. It most certainly left me hanging with every chapter so I literally devoured this book because I kept on wanting more. Fortunately, this book delivered so well.

“Everybody lies. You might as well get paid.”

I am not going to tell much about the plot because I’m afraid I might ruin the experience for you. I would give you one thing though, it all started with one lie and everything went south.

The characters were written in a way that would somehow give the readers doubts about them. Yup, I even have doubts about Max, the main character, at one point of the story. It drove me crazy in a good way which definitely kept me reading.

The plot was driving, intense, insane, wicked and exciting. I’ve never felt such rush of excitement from the books I have read this year until I’ve read this one. The experience I got from reading this book was unforgettable. I’ve got quite WTF moments (in a really really good way) and I’m pretty sure you lot will too, when you get to read this so I’ll tell you one thing:

GET A COPY OF THIS BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND START READING.

Jem’s Thoughts

Reading this book feels like a sort of a comeback to me because I’d been on a reading hiatus, I’d been kind of off lately because I DIDN’T GET TO GO TO Ed Sheeran’s concert, amongst other things.

Well, I am trying really hard not to mention any spoilers because who in their right minds would spoil suspense thriller/murder mystery books? :)) In this light, I would just be giving an overview of what to expect.

First, be ready to be reeled in by a very likeable protagonist, Max. He is caring, and very loyal, and practical, and sweet, and most of all forgiving. He loves deeply, and I just love the way he loves. I believe that Parvati and his family is lucky to be part of his life.

Second, get ready for his friends, Parvati and Preston, both are rich, with a slightly twisted perspective of life. Both are a little bit shady, if I may say so.

“When you care about someone so much that you’ll do anything – even stupid or destructive things – to protect them.”

“That sounds more like mental illness than love.”

Third, get ready for the unexpected twists and turns that may tempt you to go to the end and read what happened, but please don’t, you won’t enjoy it as much. :))

Fourth, THE ENDING OMG

This book started good then it just became better and better and better so you had to read faster and faster until the last page of the book. There is this urgency to know what happened or what’s next or did someone die? That’s the thing about suspense thrillers, it demands to be read.. and fast. Speaking of the ending, wow, just wow, it was amazing! I’m a sucker for great endings!

This book is a perfect mixture of light and dark, and confusing, and compelling, with a lil’ bit’ sprinkle of sweet. It was a great read, and I loved it.

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