Saturday, 20 August 2016

Review: Be With Me by J. Lynn

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 5:28 pm 5 lovely confession(s)

Be with Me | J. Lynn
Publication Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary
Owned, Kindle edition, 365 pages

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year - she's in love wit her big brother's best friend, but he hasn't spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It's time for Plan B - college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he's not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend's incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn't have time for a relationship. But it doesn't help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they're thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can't keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they're willing to risk to be together, and what they're willing to lose if they're not.

My Review: ★★★★☆

"That's the thing about death that makes it useful. Death was always a reminder to the living to live - to live in the present and to look forward to the future."

Ever since I read Wait for You (Cam and Avery were my favorite OTP) and it instantly became one of my favorite reads last year, I've been eager to continue the series about the story of Jase and Tess. As expected, this book was another guilty pleasure, it especially helped when you were in a reading slump, because everything just effortlessly clicked the moment you started the first line of the story, and you would have been swept away, traveled along with them.

Just like the first book, this one was angst and emotionally driven, but with so many predictable twists and turns. Yes, you heard me right, predictable. The story line was somewhat cliche, almost all characters involved had their own emotional baggage, and when their secrets slowly unfolded, the entire book was overall dramatic - fulled with eventful scenes and heartbreaking revelations that sometimes you had to halt the reading because you could hardly breathe.

One of the aspects I absolutely adored in this book was the occasional appearances of Cam and Avery, they always uplifted the scenes to be even more lovey dovey, and further strengthened my obsessive belief that Cam was the perfect boyfriend material. Although Jase was less competitive with Cam constantly claiming the spotlight, he had his own charisma - protective, considerate and cupcake-ish sweet, which had frequently sent his chemistry with Tess off the charts. However, his hot and cold persona, the tendency to keep Tessa at arm's length even after kissing her slightly annoyed me, but he gradually compensated throughout the book, and everything was once again irresistibly swoon-worthy.  

Tess, on the other hand, was admirably brave and tough. A series of unfortunate screwed her over, but all of these had only made her stronger - like a life fighter. Her resilience and tenacity might be a little bit unrealistic, yet it did not affect my positive opinion on her any less.

Despite being overloaded with conflicts, the book was undeniably a captivating page turner. Even though the plot was predictable, the never-ending intensity often made my heart skip a beat and I had miserably failed to put the book down. I guess that is the true beauty of J. Lynn's writing, and I'm definitely going to dwell in her other books soon!

Perfect for this book:

Well, I'm not sure what this is gonna be
But with my eyes closed all I see
Is the skyline, through the window
The moon above you and the streets below

Hold my breath as you're moving in
Taste your lips and feel your skin
When the time comes, baby don't run, just kiss me slowly

With love, 
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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Playlist: Road Trip Upbeats

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 10:13 pm 6 lovely confession(s)

This playlist is rather spontaneous, it's like a random thought that strikes upon my mind when I was planning my upcoming birthday trip in September while the afternoon sun shines bright  - why not create a playlist of songs that we could blast all along the road trip? And you know, sharing is caring, so here it is.

1. Come On | A Great Big World

I wanna be a thought inside your mind
I wanna see the starlight through your eyes
What it's like?

This is the type of a song that will linger on your mind simply because of its catchy rhythm. Try to play this song in the afternoon while you're driving and staring at the cloudless blue sky, this song will definitely uplift your mood and make you sing along with it.

2. Faded | Alan Walker feat. Iselin Solheim

You were the shadow to my light
Did you feel us? Another star, you fade away

My relationship with this song is totally a love at first hearing. Iselin's voice is so delicate and celestial, and it never ceases to amaze me that how has her angelic voice perfectly matches with Alan Walker's electronic dance music.

3. Old Guitar | BUNT.

Sing me like an old love song
Baby take me everywhere you run
It's been too long, too long
Since I felt young

My boyfriend and I have instantly fallen in love with this song when we were aimlessly browsing at H&M last time, we even googled the lyrics because we had no idea who is the singer and our self-consciousness restrained us from asking around. Now, let me tell you, our passion for this country house music has never been faded ever since. 

4. Bitchin' Summer | Avril Lavigne

It's gonna be a bitchin' summer
We'll be livin' fast, kickin' ass together
Like high school lovebirds
Gonna have a blast make it last forever

Avril Lavigne is my favorite singer since her release of first album "Let Go" so it'll be an absolute crime if I didn't feature this song in the playlist. It has youthful lyrics that hypes you up for the summer and sends you into those nostalgic moments in high school.

5. Roses | The Chainsmokers feat. ROZES

Well, I'll be your daydream, I'll be your favorite things
We could be beautiful

This song is awfully addictive, I must say - actually many of their songs are - especially when you put on headphones and let the beats blast through your ears, I guarantee that you'll irresistibly hit the replay button over and over again. I guess that's why The Chainsmokers has risen up so surprisingly fast and most of their songs peaked at US & UK charts. 

6. Safe & Sound | Capital Cities 

I could show you love
In a tidal wave of mystery
You'll still be standing next to me

If you have listened to this song, does the trumpet send chills down your spine whenever you're playing it? Because I do experience the chills every single time. Even though the song has been released few years ago, it never gets old. 

7. A Sky Full of Stars | Coldplay

'Cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of stars
I'm gonna give you my heart

I always feel that this song is irrevocably a perfect companion for drivings and road trips at night, perhaps it's the title that creates the traveling, star gazing ambiance. Many people were missing Coldplay's alternative rock style when this song was released, but for me, their new attempt on the music deserves a round of applause, it's colorful and speaks the beauty of electronic dance.

8. Birds | Coldplay

Around here you never want to sleep all night
So start falling in love, start the riot and come rage with me
We don't need words and we'll be birds

I love how does this song lyrically deliver the message of infinity and boundless, of arms swaying freely like a bird - which constantly reminds me of road trips, because that's the purpose of traveling - to be yourself and feel alive.

9. Something In The Way You Move | Ellie Goulding

When our eyes meet, I can only see the end
And tonight the rain pours again

Ellie Goulding is my new love because of her synthpop album "Delirium". All of the songs are highly pop-oriented, which complements her distinctive vocal and unleashes a very appealing and ecstatic listen. This is one of the songs that offers the most buoyant rhythm, energetic enough to play along the journey.

10. Up | Olly Murs feat. Demi Lovato

I never meant to break your heart
Now I won't let this plane go down

Demi Lovato's powerful vocal combines with pop folk music that sends off positive vibes. Well, sign me up. Some songs will make you unconsciously smile while you sing along, this is one of those. I'm just really in love with the hopeful and bubbly atmosphere that this song fabricates.

11. Gone, Gone, Gone | Phillips Phillips

Give me reasons to believe
That you would do the same for me

This song is a breath of fresh air. It's arguably melodic and the lyrical content are memorable with strong determination about believing in love. The lively music often easily brightens up my day, which tempted me to make it as one of the ideal songs for road trips.

What songs will be on your playlist for road trips? Are any of these songs your favorite too?

With love,
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Saturday, 6 August 2016

Unboxing: Bookish Bundle July Royalty Box

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 7:47 pm 17 lovely confession(s)

I know we've stepped into August now, but this Bookish Bundle July Royalty Box is too gorgeous not to share, I'll be tremendously guilty if I'd let this one passed.

Bookish Bundle is a magical bookish subscription box, proudly presented to you by mybibliomaniacs from Malaysia! They launched the first box in April with the theme "April Fool", and in July, they came back with the very much anticipated "Royalty Box" - exclusively created for the Kings and Queens.

As soon as I opened the box, a lovely scent immediately diffused into the air and I was utterly surprised. This month's contents included:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia poster. Looking at the four adorable figures printed on the art paper, I was a little bit overwhelmed by the nostalgia, I still remember the old times whenever the movies were released and I was so tempted to watch them.
  • A bookish glory handmade soap by Savon Republic. The sole contributor of the sweet smell from the entire box. Its pleasant scent lifted up my mood and I loved that it even lingered on every single item in the Royalty box. Also, I was incredibly in awe with the delicate details of the soup because those deckled pages were obvious to be seen!
  • Two pastel bookmarks by Kingdom of Books. These bookmarks were super photogenic and they featured 16 hand drawn books related to royalty - A Game of Thrones, The Heir, The Orphan Queen and Red Queen, to name a few.
  • A tote bag with "I sit on a throne of books" printed on it to carry our magical tomes. This royal statement was super adorable and suited the theme perfectly. My irrational obsession with tote bags was fully satisfied! 
  • The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye. Welcome home to mama! I literally squealed when the book was revealed in the box because I have heard so many great reviews about this new release! Now there would be no excuse for me to not putting this book onto my forever-growing TBR pile. I've put the synopsis of this book at below.

Synopsis: Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ask into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters - the only two in Russia - and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown's Game, an ancient duel of magical skill - the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar's most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter - even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown's Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with - beautiful, whip smart, imaginative - and he can't stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai's best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown's Game is not one to lose.

To be honest, the plot above somewhat reminds me of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - the competition, royalty, both male leads romantically falling for the same heroin (and one of them is a prince!), however it doesn't diminish my excitement over finally having this baby on my throne of books.

I am positive that I will continue to show my support to Bookish Bundle. It surely is not easy to manage a subscription box, plus I personally feel that their effort is rather admirable. Do you ever subscribe to any bookish box? Which one has been your favorite all this while?

With love,
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 8:44 pm 8 lovely confession(s)

Me Before You | Jojo Moyes
Publication Date: December 31st 2012
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books / Viking
Genre: Romance, Adult, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Owned, Hardcover, 369 pages

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither f them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

My Review: 

"All I can say is that you make me... you make me into someone I couldn't even imagine. You make me happy, even when you're awful. I would rather be with you - even the you that you seem to think is diminished - than with anyone else in the world."

Some books were meant for leisure reading; some books made you think, this beauty was undeniably one of those. I couldn't help myself but to feel the unspeakable emptiness clutching my heart tightly after closing the book, to ponder about life, family, love and existence. It was the kind of book that would haunt you, even few days, maybe weeks, or months after you've finished it. There was something shattered in me, crumbled into tiny pieces and flown away along with the ending.

I was a little bit worried because the story started out slow in the beginning, but boy, I was utterly wrong. It turned out to be so much more than a romance as the plot were crafted whimsically and their back stories were gradually revealed, which deepened the characters, especially Lou. Everything was built for something bigger, I was in awe when the truth hit me so hard.

Lou was an ordinary girl who barely lived a life. She was contented with everything being normal, until she met Will. Will had a broken soul after the motorcycle accident and resented to live, but he was once a man who worked hard to be above average. Perhaps you would start to predict the cliche from here, but their relationship was actually beyond romance - it was platonic, pure and selfless; and both of them had blossomed to become a better person with the companion of each other.

"You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."

I especially adored the moment when Lou's past was unfolded. In fact, it was one of the most beautiful parts I reckoned in this masterpiece, and it changed my view on Lou entirely in a positive way. She became someone who lived off the page, I felt more connected to her than ever.

"Some mistakes... Just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen."

The final chapter and epilogue of this book had both completely caught me off guard as well. I anticipated the ending, and dreaded it, while I read along, but apparently I had never expected it to be written like this, and now I couldn't think of any better way to wrap it up. It was truthfully one of the best, tearfully heartbreaking closures I had ever encountered.

If you have watched the movie adaptation and enjoyed it, I hope you would read this book too because you would absolutely love it, and if you'd unfortunately couldn't fall in love with the movie as much as you'd expected to, I hope you would at least think about reading the book, maybe you would be pleasantly surprised. This art creation was lyrically sad and full of life, it was one of those that would charm and richen your reading journey because it was more than a chick lit - it was about living - to actually living your life.

"You are scored on my heart, Clark. You were from the first day you walked in, with your ridiculous clothes and your complete inability to ever hide a single thing you felt."

Now I'm more than happy to have this book imprinted a scar and scored on my heart.

Perfect for this book:

We finally fall apart and we break each other's hearts
If we wanna live young, love, we better start today

It's gotta get easier, oh easier somehow
Cause I'm falling, I'm falling
Oh easier and easier somehow
Oh I'm calling, I'm calling
And it isn't over unless it is over
I don't wanna wait for that
It's gotta get easier and easier somehow
But not today
Not today

With love,
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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 3:02 pm 10 lovely confession(s)
Publication Date: September 19th 2012
Publisher: Scholastic 
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Owned, Paperback, 454 pages

Even if Blue hadn't been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble.

But this is the year that everything will change for Blue.

This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist.

This is the year she will fall in love.

My review: ★★★★☆

"She recognized the strange happiness that came from loving something without knowing why you did, that strange happiness that was sometimes so big that it felt like sadness." 

Reading this book required a good lot of patience. This masterpiece was mysterious, so magically mysterious that it had burnt a fair amount of my reading time to slowly devour the descriptive details. It was like a match - the plot constantly intrigued you, and you'd let curiosity to lure you in, hence you stayed and it unfolded layer by layer as you read, but still not enough to be fully grasped and thus hardly got you excited; it was still perplexing when you turned to the last page.

But the book was undoubtedly, beautifully written. The sentences were delicate with omniscient style that it felt like you were not merely reading. In fact, it occasionally sent me chills because it read like someone was narrating the ghostly atmosphere to me, and the scene was vividly depicted on my mind.

All of the characters in this imaginative story were very dynamic and distinctive from each other. Blue was unique and unlike the other heroins we had normally seen, eccentric but strong-minded. And there was a group of tight-knitted Raven boys - Adam, a boy who'd always yearned for more and strived to be better; Ronan, a troubled teenager who hid untold regrets and secrets with constant anger; Noah, who spoke the least and held the thinnest sense of existence but apparently knew more than the others; and also, Gansey, like a pack leader of four with some vulnerably soft spots who restlessly obsessed with the supernatural.

Speaking of which, I adored seeing the desperate side of Gansey. Perhaps it was the whimsical writing style that could speak through the words, I found his need to do something meaningful with life, the fear of oblivion was rather relatable. And oh, his banters with Blue were oftentimes entertaining and hilarious too!

"I guess I make things that need energy stronger. I'm like a walking battery.""You're the table everyone wants at Starbucks," Gansey mused as he began to walk again. Blue blinked. "What?"Over his shoulder, Gansey said, "Next to the wall plug."  

All in all, I was utterly enthralled by the beauty of this book. Despite being confused at times, I loved the way Maggie Stiefvater played with words to allow readers to effortlessly see the beauty in ordinary things.

"In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year."

Perfect for this book: 

Are you going to age with grace?
Are you going to age without mistakes?
Are you going to age with grace
or only to wake and hide your face?

When oblivion is calling out your name
You always take it further than I ever can

With love,
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♥ La Sourire